Trying A News Aggregator


I thought I'd finally give some news aggregator software a try. After trying a few I settled on Aggie, at least for a while.

What's a news aggregator? Basically it's this software that goes out and reads websites for you and then tells you if they changed. Instead of you visiting 10 to 50 websites a day only to find that they have added nothing new you can run this software and it will give you a list of each site that has added somthing new and it gives you the first couple of sentences or so of each article and a link so you can read the whole thing if the blurb caught your interest.

Unforunately, currently it seems like almost every news aggregator has some feature missing. For example most news aggregators use this standard called RSS. RSS is a way for a website to list it's newest articles so that a program like a news aggregator can easily figure it all out. Without RSS a news aggregator would think a website changed every time a banner ad changed or a comment count etc. But, that's exactly one of the features missing on many news aggregators. Because some sites don't have or support RSS yet most news aggregators can't handle those sites. For example most blogs running on blogger basic (vs blogger pro) do not support RSS.

Another problem is with thousands of sites out there many put out broken RSS. Most news aggregators can't handle that. I suppose there's really not much to be done about that. If the site's RSS file is broken the computer can't easily make sense of it.

I wonder though, will this news aggregator be a good thing or bad? The plus is I don't waste any time going to a site at which nothing has changed. For example many of my friends update their blog once a week or once a month. Particularly my family have blogs that it seems currently unlikely they will update often so instead of checking each day I can just forget about them and the news aggregator will tell me when they have updated something.

But, on the other hand, now I have just one button I can click and it can check 10 to 50 sites for me almost instantly and give me constant distractions. 😖 Hopefully I can resist the temptation to click the button to check them all except once or twice a day or so. 😃

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