Why I love Google Reader

A week or two ago, Google Reader was completely redesigned. At the time, I was using NewsFire, a very solid newsreader for OS X. However, there were many minor quirks that got to me.

The new Google Reader resolved those quirks. I cannot get enough of it now. What do I love about the new version?

  • Works a lot like how Bloglines works, except it seems faster and is designed much better.
  • Subscribing to feeds is so easy. Just type in the name of the site. Type it in perfectly and Google Reader will just autosubscribe to it. If there is any doubt, it will give you a few choices and let you pick which one to subscribe to.
  • With one click you can star an item to look at later. Invaluable when you are doing just a quick scan over your unread items and want to go back to an item later on.
  • With one click you can share an item. I can then share these to anyone who wants to check out what I have been reading. I can also subscribe to share feeds from other people. So if you were using Google Reader, I can see what you share!
  • I can easily tag and organize my feeds.
  • It has keyboard shortcuts that work real well.

My only complaints?

  • Can’t add a feed to a folder when you first subscribe to it. You have to go to Manage Subscriptions and organize it after the fact. Annoying, but it is a workaround that works.
  • Can’t sort by oldest items first. Since many of my feeds require me to keep up on older posts first, this isn’t good. However, a workaround is to scroll down all the way on the all items list until you hit the bottom, then work your way up the list.

I highly recommend Google Reader for anyone that is trying to keep track of web sites they read. Try it out today.

2nd Generation iPod nano

Two days ago, I purchased an iPod nano (2nd Generation). I bought the 8GB black model. With the exception of the point that I didn’t really have the money (thank you BestBuy Rewards Card), I justified my decision this way:

  • My 4GB iPod Mini is probably worth $50-75 used. It is still under warranty until July 2007 and has never had an issue. A college roommate is interested in buying it.
  • I had a $10 gift certificate at BestBuy.
  • Combine those two, I will be able to knock roughly $60-85 off the $249 I paid for the nano. So instead of $249, I could end up paying $164 for an 8GB color iPod Nano.
  • I really wanted to get the Nike+iPod kit so I can keep track of my running progress. Running is something I really want to get into (I ran a 5K in August) and this seems like the perfect thing for me. I could see myself getting into some running challenges with friends.
  • The best thing is I wanted a music player that was extremely thin, light, and with a color screen. The iPod nano has all of this covered.
  • 8 GB of space gives me a lot more flexibility with my music collection. I have several smart playlists syncing with it, keeping fresh music on the iPod without me even thinking twice. It also allows me to experiment with photo syncing.

My review of the 8GB iPod nano? Fantastic device. I can’t believe how light it is (my cell phone is heavier). I am almost afraid of putting it in my pocket and running it through the washer machine by accident.

The nano sounds fantastic, works flawlessly, and has some really nice features that I could see myself using. I thought the ability to put photos on it would be a gimmick, but I have set it up to sync with iPhoto and automatically download my latest roll of pictures. So I can show someone at work a place I went to the other day, without worrying about uploading the pictures to the web beforehand.

Also this iPod is extremely rugged. I won’t have to worry about it scratching or getting banged up. In theory, a flash player will last much longer as well.

I plan on writing up a review on the Nike+iPod kit when I buy it. I will probably get it in a few weeks.

I haven't forgotten

It has been a little while since I last wrote on my blog. 15 days to be exact. I don’t know what exactly has been holding me up. It is almost like a form of writer’s block, something I had a massive case of during my freshman year at college. Back then it robbed my ability to write stories and poems, completely.

In fact, I haven’t really written either since. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around a subject long enough to get a flow of words moving. Back in high school, I filled notebooks with whatever came to mind. I have been reduced to posting once every 15 days on blog.

My blog up to this point has been a collection of random thoughts, interesting stuff I found online, and my techie side. Early in my blogging life, politics were a big focus of mine, but I drifted away from that for some reason.

So what do I write about? Especially when I can’t shake this new episode writers block?

I am still deciding, which is probably the worst thing a person with writer’s block can do. Maybe I will change the direction of this site to something that can spark some creativity inside me, although you would think I already covered that angle in the past. Or maybe this blog will just rot like thousands of other blogs.

I will sleep on it.