Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bloglines and Booker problems

Is anyone else having long-running problems with Bloglines Beta? RSS feeds from, among many others, the Guardian Book page and blog, Nigel Beale's Nota Bene, RSB's comments and The Chagall Position - which had posted at the weekend an insightful post on the Handke-Effekt - are failing to come through. Not only that, its forum is clogged with spam and it's deleted the very-useful subscriber figures. What's going on?

But hold on, please don't suggest Google Reader. I can't stand Google Reader. Google Reader is over-designed, unintuitive and impossible to use. Has Medialens' web designer been poached? As one scrolls through posts, it leaps forward for no good reason and one loses any sense of place. A perfect design for super-user information junkies perhaps but not readers.

Unfortunately no feed aggregator can weed out blogs that feel the need to tell the world: "And the winner is ... The White Tiger." A blogger's mantra should be Add Value. For example: Booklit responds to the depressing news with a winning demolition of this year's judging panel, The Literary Saloon is dismayed and even the generous, open-minded John Self was moved to say this year's winner is
"a forgettable debut for which the most striking question is not, How on earth did it get onto the Booker longlist, but How did it get published in the first place?".
Time to retreat to one's Book Igloo (via).


  1. I'm having all kinds of Bloglines problems, too... it seems to be Typepad blogs that are not being updated. Irritating!

  2. I would be very interested to see a virtual panel of lit-bloggers aping the booker process next year with the same longlist and seeing what the results entail.

  3. Typepad blogs - well, Spurious at least - are updating for me Richard.

    And gadi: great idea. So long as we can also get photographed in soft-focus and given space in the Independent to talk illogical, self-serving bollocks.

  4. yeah, I realized I commented too hastily.... there doesn't seem to be any pattern in which blogs don't update for me; several have been Typepad, but you're right Spurious has been fine, as has The Reading Experience, etc.

  5. Anonymous8:13 pm

    Sorry, but I love Google Reader! I switched from Bloglines to GR a couple of years ago and like it a lot. I don't find it over-designed, it does the job very well on a basic level, but has various add-ons if you like them (eg the "shared items" which can be captured by FriendFeed, Facebook etc).

    If the Bloglines issue is related to Typepad (where I have my blog) this could be a problem that Typepad can resolve. Typepad has a very good helpdesk system, and whenever I've had RSS issues, they have resolved them very effectively. I recommend asking them if they are aware of any Bloglines-related problems, which may be due to the beta Typepad currently being tested.

  6. Maxine, I was being overly critical of GR out of disappointment. I wish it was as indispensable as Gmail. If it could solve the scrolling issue on expanded view then it wouldn't be so frustrating. Maybe I'm oversensitive to design issues.

    There seems to be no logic to the Bloglines problem; I've never known it to happen before. I think it's clear now that it's not typepad-related. But how can we find out for sure?



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