Image representing Bloglines as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

On Friday, when I logged into bloglines, I saw the following announcement:

As you may have heard, we are sorry to share that Bloglines will officially shut down on October 1, 2010.
More detail can be found on the Ask.com blog – http://blog.ask.com.

It came as a big surprise. I followed their very-clear instructions, and exported my RSS feeds into Google Reader; an RSS reader that I had previously dismissed because, while I could read the feeds on multiple computers, I didn’t like the interface very much.

I’ve been a fan of Bloglines for several years. It allows me to keep up-to-date with my favorite blogs, web comics, and news sites — regardless of what computer I use. I played around with other RSS feeders before I discovered bloglines, but none of them seemed to allow me to access my RSS feeds from multiple computers. It was a feature (even a few years ago) that I thought was important. In the early days of RSS feeds, the readers were mostly differentiated by display and styling; they all mostly worked the same under the hood.

Then I went back and looked at FeedDemon. It’s an RSS reader I’d originally been interested in, and kept meaning to go back and try again; and just never did. FeedDemon runs on my home computer. At all the other computers, I use Google Reader. Trying it over the weekend, I’ve found the combination works well for me. Some feeds (mostly livejournal pages) that bloglines always has problems referencing, are now coming across just fine. After sorting through a backlog of posts (from feeds that bloglines wouldn’t or couldn’t update, to feeds that updated fine–but that I had to scroll past items I’d read earlier in the day on bloglines), I finally cleared my list and started fresh on Saturday.

FeedDemon has a familiar interface, looking more like an email program than an RSS feeder. It allows you to customize its appearance, but the default view is clean and clear – with an unchanging menu at the top and a few buttons just below the menu bar. There are a lot of RSS feed readers out there, some for your email program, some for your browser. FeedDemon is a windows client application that relies on an internet connection to download your unread items and, upon approval, to synchronize with your Google Reader account. Synchronization is suggested for anyone using FeedDemon on multiple computers, or wishing to use the web to access their RSS feeds from time to time.

FeedDemon uses a Windows Explorer like tree of folders and feeds to help you organize your RSS feeds. You can make any number of folders and sub folders; but you can also tag your feeds so that they can appear in a variety of different orders, and create watches to look for key topics, words or phrases.  There are so many choices in how to filter, view, sort, tag and modify feeds, that I’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities.

Bloglines Beta (in contrast) allowed two levels of sorting (a web page consisting of the feeds of your choice and the ability to sort feeds into folders and subfolders). They also had several ways to display your feeds (one pane – expanded; two panes – one listing the items, the other displaying the selected item; or one pane – collapsed, expanding only the item you selected). All three of which appear to be available in FeedDemon.

FeedDemon lets you add new feeds several ways; the easiest is to use the built-in browser to visit the home of the feed you want then click on the orange RSS logo ( ). You can use Google Reader to create a google feed (which watches the site and announces when the site is updated), or use FeedDemon’s add a subscription option. The Subscription option opens an easy-to-use wizard that allows FeedDemon to try to auto-discover feeds available at the site.

Currently I use a combination of GoogleReader and FeedDemon’s subscription buttons, depending on how I’m viewing my feeds. After a few days of using the product, I can see why it’s regularly listed among the top 10 Windows RSS Feed Readers by reviewers. FeedDemon is advertisement-supported. If the ads bother you, you can purchase the program for 16.34 CAD using the FeedDemon 3.0 web store (powered by eSellerate).

I think I’ve found my new RSS feeder; and if your feeds have been left homeless because of Bloglines impending close–I suggest you try FeedDemon.

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