RSS feeds on the go: Newsgator Go!

After a lengthly beta process, Newsgator has released their PocketPC client, which they’re calling Newsgator Go!

I’ve played around with a few of the betas, right up to a release candidate sent out in early September. I doubt I’ll spend the $30 on it.

Why not?

Well, first of all, I have nothing against the developer, Kevin Crawley. He is a very nice guy and has been extremely responsive on the Newsgator forums and in the few emails I exchanged with him at the beginning. And for what it is, it’s not half bad. It’s certainly a huge improvement over the initial version I trashed months ago.

The problem is that it goes against the way I like to read feeds. I have a lot of feeds in my Newsgator subscription. More feeds than any human being can keep up with on a daily basis. I don’t even try. I treat my feed list as a smaller, personalized-just-for-me version of the Internet itself. I subscribe to most any feed that even remotely interests me in the topics that I like. Sometimes, I even get ahead and catch up a bit. Most of the time I don’t. Right now, Newsgator Online tells me that I have 3,487 unread articles. Wow, that’s a good day. I’ve seen it as high as 14,000 before. This isn’t email where I have a desire to read every word addressed to me (that isn’t spam or selling me something, of course). I have a folder in FeedDemon that I call *Must Read (the * is so it will appear at the top of the list of folders). This a very small list of those feeds that I really do want to keep up with on a daily basis. There’s maybe 50-60 feeds in there. A manageable amount, considering the fact that not every blog posts daily.

When I say to myself, “Self, I’d like to sit down and browse some feeds,” I want all 700 or so feeds available for my skimming pleasure. Doesn’t mean I want to read them all, won’t even try. But I never know what category I’m in the mood to read about when I’m in the mood to see what’s going on in my personal, pre-selected blogosphere so I want all my options open. Or maybe I want to read what is going on in one particular category and clean out any unread feeds in that category. I do throw out dead feeds from time to time, or feeds that have lost my interest.

So why not Newsgator Go? The way it works is that it syncs the whole enchilada with the mothership (Newsgator) when you click a “sync” button. With as many feeds as I have, over an EDGE connection on my PDA, that can take a loooonnnnng time. And there’s a bit of delay that I see a spinning beach ball and I can’t even start reading anything yet. Then it goes through, starting at the top. By the time I’ve fully updated my feeds the urge to read them has passed. I don’t feel a need to “catch up” by reading already-synced content. I want the new stuff.

I still find myself reading feeds on-the-go through Newsgator’s scaled-down-for-mobile-browsers HTML version. Plain vanilla, no clipping, no reading jump links in Squeezer, no offline reading, but it’s there in its entirety, fast and up-to-date when I want it.

My feedreader is like a personalized version of the Sunday New York Times. Most folks don’t feel a requirement read every single page in that paper each week, do they? You read some sections line-by-line, some pages you skim, some you skip over altogether. Come Monday morning, most of the newspaper, even the unread parts, are in the pile for recycling. Fresh start for next Sunday.

Is it worth paying $30 so I can just sync my little “*Must Reads” folder? Likely not.

It would be nice if Newsgator Go! allowed me to sync a folder on demand. I want to read about what’s going on in my favorite blogs in my ‘green widgets’ folder, then let me just update that folder (or pick a feed and just update that) and get my instant gratification. I’d also love to be able to customize the font. I have very good eyesight, I prefer my fonts a little smaller on the screen so I can get more at one time without scrolling. Maybe in future versions, and then I’ll re-evaluate.

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