The Search for a New RSS Reader


The search continues.  It’s interesting to see the folks that are still finding out today that their beloved Google Reader is no longer an option.  If you go to the Google Reader site, they do offer some alternatives.

In fact, they direct you to http://alternativeto.net/software/google-reader/ where you will find a goodly list.

Another source for alternative products can be found at: http://www.alternative.to/Google_Reader,29653017#alternatives

How are those for alternatives?

But, the best source is to turn to the public and get their input on what works.  A blog post from Anil Dash titled “The Golden Age of RSS” was very interesting.  In the middle of the post, you’ll find a list of over 100 web based RSS alternatives suggested by the crowd!  From a simple start, people just kept adding ideas!

But read his comments.  I like his point – we don’t need another RSS reader.  He talks about the need for a blog reader instead.  I agree.  Like I said in yesterday’s post about Noowit, I appreciate a reader that finds new stuff for me based on a concept.  And yet, I do want to continue with the principles behind RSS reading.  I want to be loyal to those bloggers who have inspired me over the years and I want to visit them when they post new content.

The saga continues.  What does the future hold for us in the realm of online reading?

 

How Much Paranoia…


…should a person have when configuring a web browser?

I had a good back and forth with @pbeens about this today.  A fresh installation of any web browser comes with certain settings.  With a good browser, you can add extensions to do various things to try to maintain your privacy.  But how much is too much?

I tried to reach a website today – it was a school website and one of the pages just refused to load with my decked out Google Chrome browser.  I fired up Mozilla Firefox and was able to see the desired page with no problem.  So, it was noodle scratching time.  I went through the process of disabling extensions until I got it to work.

So, I started to think.  Just how far do I need to go to try and keep my privacy and stop the web from tracking where I go.  (Although, I’ll admit, it’s pretty boring since I tend to hit educational and news sites).

I took a look through my extension to Google Chrome and have the following installed.

AdBlock Plus – Used to block advertisements that are pushed my way.  It’s not that I’m adverse to advertising; it’s just that with a slow internet connection, this does help to speed up the browsing process.

Collusion for Chrome – I’m big into visualizations and Collusion illustrates the webbing and connections that are happening as you browse.  I find it fascinating.

Do Not Track Me – Plain and simple, it’s designed to stop web sites from tracking where I go.

Ghostery – Blocks and displays a popup to let you know when there’s an element on a web page trying to track you.

KB SSL Enforcer – Forces the website that you’re visiting to use https:// for browser encryption when it’s possible.  (This was the extension that had caused my “problem” earlier.

That’s about it.  I should also point out that I use

WOT – This displays a crowd sourced traffic light on links to give you a sense as to whether clicking on them will take you to a safe sight or one that those working the web have concerns about.

So, I’ll end with the question that I started with.  Is this too much paranoia?  I think there can be a danger when you have too many extensions doing too many similar things.  What do you think?  Any recommendations for what can be removed or replaced with something better?

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Customize your own Google Chrome


 

Warning – slightly geeky post this morning.

But, if you’re a Google Chrome user, I’ll bet you try it at least once!

How many times have you looked for a Google Chrome theme that says “Hey, this is me…” and failed?  You’ll end up going back to the defaults or compromising on something close.

Well, no longer!  Head over to the Google Chrome Store and download “My Chrome Theme“.

It only takes a few seconds … once installed, go ahead and launch the application.

You’re there!

Follow the three steps and you’ve created your own theme.

Step 1 – If you’d like an image on the opening background, upload it from your computer or use your Webcam to take your perfect image.  Read the fine print at the bottom before doing so…your content will be uploaded.  The first time I ran this, I used an image that had already been posted on this blog – the image with Kerry, myself, and David Pogue digging my car out after the big snow storm at the RCAC Symposium a few years ago.  It’s one of my favourites but, for me, a background image really isn’t usable since I use the Incredible StartPage anyway which overwrites the image.

Step 2 – Choose some colours!  Active tab, background tab, background tab bar, background area.  Or, the infamous Google “I’m Feeling Lucky”.

If you know me, you’ll know that there aren’t enough shades of green to keep me happy.  I thought that pinky/orange was a nice contrast.

Step 3 – Install your theme.

If you’re so inclined, share the themes with others.  Just keep in mind the caveat about the images.

Wasn’t that easy?

You now have that perfect theme for yourself.  Or, if you’re using Google Chrome with your class, you could pop an image of the school and populate Chrome with your school colours. Or….