My name’s Ben, and I’m addicted.

I blame Benson. I have known about RSS for a long long time, but never done much (ie anything) about it because I never really connected the dots.
Then one day, January 19th 2011 to be precise, he stopped by my cube for something other than to show me how he uses RSS, but in our usual manor, Benson and I cover a lot of ground real quick.
Anyway, on this fine January day, we got to RSS and the penny dropped.
Ever since then I have been addicted.
How addicted…? Well, since that fateful day, I have read 66,245 articles on the web….
That’s 804 days ago, or, roughly, 82.39 articles a day.
Duno about you, but to me, that’s a lot of reading.

What am I on about?

Ok, lets just say you want to keep up with this fine blog, and my sisters.
How do you do that?
Well, before Jan 19th 2011, I would visit those sites as often as I got a chance, or when I thought about it.
It was, for me, pretty hit and miss.
Sometimes the whole site would load up and there would be nothing new.
Other times, there would be a big backlog.
Pretty hit and miss.
And that’s just two sites.
In actual fact, there are 109 web sites I like to keep up with.
That’s not a lot of hitting and a whole lot of missing.
Not a lot of fun.

Enter Benson, well, RSS actually.
RSS means Real Simple Syndication (or more accuracy Rich Site Summary).
It means that you can use an RSS program to automatically check for updates every few minutes and when there is something new it will get a summery of that new bit on that web site and add it to your daily (or weekly) reading list. (Dad, its the web service that does the checking, not your internet connection. You just log onto the web service (ie, their web site) when you get on the net each day).
Once Benson joined the dots, it was magic.
I quickly built up my list from all my bookmarks and became so much more efficient (and addicted).
Each day I would have roughly 82 short summery’s of all the new things on the web that only I am interested in.
If I wanted to read more than the short summery, just click on the summery, and you would be taken to the full article at the web site of interest.

It also made short work of little things like when people comment on this blog, or add new photos to my photo page, or add new comments to any photos (ever).
I no longer had to keep an eagle eye on any of my web site.
For the past few years, the moment any of you lot did any of those things, it just popped up on my feed and I saw the comment, the photo, everything.
Quick, simple and painless.

My names Ben and Im addicted.

I was using Google Reader. It was linked to my Google email account, it was free, it was fast, it had a fantastic Android application.
And it sync’ed over all my web browsers, so I could read some at work, some at home, and some on my phone, and it kept track of everything I had read.
It was taking up a solid hour of my day.
Often in bursts, sometimes in one hit (it was my lunchtime relax).
Sounds like a lot, and it was.

But. It was also solid gold for me. I was able to keep my finger on the pulse of my internet.
Hacks, tweaks, code samples, new products, reviews on and on it went, it was all just stuff that I chose to subscribe to. Nothing more. Nothing less.

A few weeks back, Google chose to take away Reader.
The web went up in arms.
People even petitioned the White House to get the President to force Google to change their minds.
It really does stink.
Their excuse was that the millions of people that use Reader were not enough to warrant keeping it going.
What-ever. Google does what ever they want, we their users, are never going to change their mind.

So, whats an addicted Ben to do?
I looked around. Loads of people were going to Feedly. I tired it for a week.
Their web app was clunky and full of bloat, and their Android app (a big deal for me) was awful beyond useful.
I took another look around.
Old Reader was backlogged to the point it was a non starter for me.
I took another look around.
Settled on Fever.

Love it.
My only gripe with Google reader was the same news popping up on a few of my feeds.
Apple sneezes and you get 20+ articles about it. What color the hanky was, what the chemical analysis of the snot tells us and so on.
Well, Fever handles that with ease.
So now I am down to reading the same number of feeds, but it only takes around 20 minutes a day.
Its fantastic. I no longer feel tied to my RSS and I still have my finger on the pulse of my personal corner of the interwebs.

My names Ben and Im still addicted, but have a tiny bit more of my life back.
(I just thought you all should know).