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RSS Feed for this site

RSS Feed for this site

With the move by Google to discontinue Google Reader (the “GReadier Debacle”), I am moving any mission critical, non-paid services away from Google.

As part of that, the Feedburner feed for this site is no longer going to be the default feed, and at some point it is likely to be discontinued.

Although it will continue to operate for existing users until that time, can I suggest you unsubscribe and resubscribe to the RSS feed for Des Paroz On-The-Go, which is at www.desparoz.com/feed/.

Google announces closure of Reader service

Google announces closure of Reader service

In the week that I discussed moving back to Google for some of my usage, including RSS feeds, Google has announced that it is killing Google Reader.

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

I like the way Google snuck this announcement in as the fifth bullet point on a post about spring cleaning aimed primarily at developers.

As Brett Terpstra said in a post on App.net:

“Usage of Google Reader has declined” = tons of people using it for sync, but we can’t put ads in that

Google Reader was free to we users, meaning we were the product, not the customer. Brett is spot on – if the majority of users access through apps where Google can’t control advertising, then the service isn’t viable.

It’s one reason why I initially moved to Shaun Inman’s Fever – having a self hosted, paid platform meant that I was the customer, and that the provider would not be in a position to simply shut up shop and go away.

I moved back to Google Reader solely because apps like Reeder and Mr Reader don’t support other RSS reader platforms, like Fever 1. I wanted more than a browser interface, particularly on iPad.

So, we’ve got a bit over 3 months for the developers of Reeder and Mr Reader to support other RSS platforms. I hope that Fever is first among them. I will move back as soon as there is a good iPad app – which I fully expect will happen in that time.

I also wonder whether the App.net social media platform will have a foundation upon which developers can build an alternative RSS service.


  1. I realise that Reeder 3.0 for iPhone does support Fever. I moved back to Google Reader because I need iPad and OSX support for it as well. Browser based access was ok, but not powerful enough for my usage. 

My return to Google

My return to Google

In June of last year (2012) I posted about how I was concerned about how Google was becoming “creepy”. At that time, I decided that I didn’t want any one company to have all my data. This would prevent Google (or anyone other company) having a complete picture of me, and also it would mean I wouldn’t be too exposed if any one company was to go away.

I was also concerned that as a user of Google’s services, I was more of a product than a customer. This may be the case for the free versions of those services, but as a paid Google Apps user, I may have over-thought this a little!

To achieve my move away from Google, I moved my email, calendar and address book to iCloud, and I moved my RSS feeds to a self hosted Fever installation. I also started playing around with alternative search engines, including DuckDuckGo and Bing. I thought’d it be interesting to check in with how that process has gone.

Let’s start with search. I found DuckDuckGo and Bing to both be excellent – I was particularly surprised by Bing, which I didn’t think would hold much chop. At this time, Bing is my default search engine on my iPhone, while Google plays that role on my iPad. It’s not possible to make DuckDuckGo the default search engine in iOS, but I do use the app, and have made it the default on my MacBook. All are good, but in general I do tend to find that Google continues to excel in giving accurate, fast and relevant search results. I’d say 70%-plus of my search goes to Google.

As for RSS, I continued to happily use Fever for sometime, but the lack of choices for quality apps, particularly on iPad and OSX continued to grind. Navigating the web interface on iPad was bearable, but clunky. Reeder for iPhone was and is an excellent choice, but interestingly Reeder for iPad and OSX has yet to be updated to include Fever support. In the meantime, other apps were released to support Google Reader, but none have Fever support.

Notably, MrReader became more and more recommended by many power users, and my curiosity grew. In particular, it’s support for URL schemes made it compelling. So around New Years, I made the call to switch back. It was nothing to do with the excellent Fever platform, but with the lack of quality front end app support. I may well switch back if app support for Fever takes off. 1

The most recent switch back has been to move all my email, contacts and calendar back to my paid Google Apps account. There were three things that gradually became show-stoppers for me with respect to Apple’s iCloud:

  1. The lack of ability to host your own domain with iCloud. I don’t want a me.com or icloud.com email address when I have my own domain. I want my contacts and calendar fully integrated with my email, so they all travelled together.
  2. iCloud calendar sharing outside iCloud is difficult, at best. I want to share calendars with colleagues easily. Google App’s systems are generally more open.
  3. Security. I am of the opinion that any online site which I use for storage of personal, sensitive, business-in-confidence or confidential information needs to have more than simple password security. A minimum of 2-factor security is my requirement, especially since the security attack on Evernote.

I know that there are other options for hosting my online world, but with a paid Google Apps account with 2-factor security enabled, I believe this is the best option for me, going forward.

As for my documents, these are for the most part in Dropbox. I have a small number of files in iCloud’s Documents in the Cloud service. These are a small number of iWork and specialised documents for which I really appreciate the fast and seamless syncing. But since most of my writing is in plain text using several different apps for iOS, OSX and the web, these best live in Dropbox. I am not considering using Google Drive for these.

Any choice of services utilised is a fine balancing act, considering a range of factors, including security, open-ness and functionality. At this point in time, Google offers the best options in the email, calendar, contacts and RSS for me. I also consider Google the primary option for most search requirements.


  1. Update on 2013-03-14: Google announced the closure of Google Reader, effective 1 July 2013. I will definitely be moving back to Fever between now and then, probably as soon as either Reeder or Mr Reader supports Fever on iPad. 

Reeder for iPhone Supports Fever

Reeder for iPhone Supports Fever

I am addicted to RSS feeds. Well, addicted may overdo it a tad, but RSS is certainly the way I prefer to keep an eye on various websites, and thus to get my daily dose of technology, scuba and martial arts news.
For a long time I was a committed Google Reader user, which served well the back end management of my list of RSS feeds, and the syncing of then. For the front end, I loved the Reeder app for iPhone, iPad and Mac OSX.

Reeder is a simple but powerful app that syncs with Google Reader, providing a pleasant UI and easy interaction with services like Instapaper, Twitter, Readability, Pocket, Evernote and others. I much prefer to browse my RSS feeds in Reeder than in Google.

But, Google has been getting increasingly creepy for me (among many others), and have actually crossed the “creepy line”. I’ve decided to spread my data out among various providers (including Google, Apple and others), and one thing I did was to move my RSS feeds off Google Reader and onto Fever, a self hosted RSS engine. I’ve been loving it, and enjoying the fact that my data is now under my own control. Google now has less of a complete picture of me.

Fever works beautifully and because its web based it syncs seamlessly across devices. It has built connectivity to some of the services like Instapaper. The only thing I’ve been missing is the dedicated apps for iPhone and iPad, as I generally prefer apps over browser on these devices.

Granted there is the Ashes app for iPad. I found that it worked clunkily for a few days and now just crashes every time (literally every time) I try to do something radical, such as read my feeds. Waste of time and money!

I was pretty excited today to see the launch of Reeder 3.0 for iPhone, which supports reading Fever, Readability and Google Reader feeds. So far its working beautifully, bringing back the joy of a dedicated iPhone App for my RSS feeds. The seamless linking to Instapaper, Email, Evernote, etc is a joy, and I find that I can browse feeds much faster in this app than on a browser interface.

I’m looking forward to an iPad version too, but in the interim I will be happy to use the iPhone version at 2x on my iPad.

If you’re into RSS and use an iPhone, get Reeder. And if you want Google to have an incomplete picture of you, consider moving your feeds onto Fever.