Gush: RSS reader, instant messenger in sleek package

I downloaded Gush several months back and then forgot about it. Back then, I never thought I’d need a desktop RSS reader. After all, my current Cybercafe Experiment is to have all the data I need online–to make the network my computer, as Sun puts it.

I only remembered downloading the software when I came across a blog post announcing that you can now use Gush with Google Talk. I tried Gush a few weeks back and have been hooked since then (screenshots below).

Gush is a combination multi-protocol instant messenger (AIM, Yahoo, Jabber and Google Talk) and RSS reader. It comes in a very sleek package and it’s such a functional eye candy that I found myself using it more often than I do my online RSS aggregators.

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One button to feed them all

Most blogs have multiple RSS subscription buttons for various newsfeed readers. With the number of existing RSS aggregator services and with the introduction of more readers, you can expect your sidebar to get a bit crowded.

SoloSub simplifies this with a single button that will lead your readers to a landing page containing subscription links to the different RSS aggregator services. It’s a great service—something Feedburner should have thought of for its users.

Pinoy politics in RSS feeds

With the number of blogs discussing Philippine politics, how does one monitor postings without getting tied up in blog-hopping for hours? With an RSS reader, of course. I recommend Google Reader even if it suffers short (less than a minute) downtimes once every few days. Bloglines, the reader I used before I transferred to Google Reader, is also a good online RSS reader. I still use Bloglines as backup, though. You can share feeds between different RSS readers by exporting and importing your subscriptions.

If you already have an account, add the feeds listed below. In Google Reader, I label them as pinoypolitics. This isnt an exhaustive list, if you spot feeds that should be listed here, just leave the address in the comments section.

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Forget Windows Live, get a Goowy account

While looking at various other online services to update my “The network is my computer” post, I found a link to Goowy, a word play on GUI or graphical user interface. The free service is simply astounding and it makes Live.com look like the work of amateurs.

Goowy is a free online portal that simulates a desktop with a two-gigabyte @goowy.com email account, calendar, contacts database, an RSS reader and even games. The service, however, is still slow compared to Netvibes and Protopage but its interface is the most desktop-like among the services I have tried so far. (Screenshots after the link)

And when Goowy starts offering its planned virtual file storage and instant messaging, it will become the Google of online personal portals (unless Google buys it first.)

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Netvibes still better than Live.com ‘by a long shot’

How could I have forgotter Netvibes? No wonder Live.com looked familiar, I’ve already signed up with a similar but far better service with Netvibes and completely forgot about it. When I logged in a few minutes ago, the page served my GMail messages, the RSS feeds I configured when I signed up and the sole webnote I entered “check out netvibes feature.” I only remembered I had a Netvibes account after reading this blog post at ZDNet (via this link). Richard MacManus said in his post: “Netvibes looks and feels slick and professional. The only problem is, I don’t know how they’re going to fare once Microsoft and Google get their personalized homepages up to scratch!

The network is my computer

Early this year I experimented with having all my essential work related data online. I wanted things I needed for my section, my copy desk job and columns centralized on free online accounts and accessible anywhere.

I wanted to be able to work on things anywhere – office, home or an Internet cafe – if I wanted or needed to. I used several free services in my attempt to make the Internet my computer. I am listing the services below in the hope that if you know of a better one, you’d leave a note so that I can transfer to it.

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Trying out another web 2.0 personal portal

Im trying out Netvibes.com, a personal homepage solution driven by Ajax, the current darling of the web. Netvibes allows you to create a personalized home page containing news feeds (RSS, Atom). Since GMail serves RSS feeds of you e-mail, Netvibes can also display a listing of your messages (by subjects). Its not really in the league of full-fledged feed readers like Google Reader or Bloglines but it offers a different (and beautiful) presentation of feeds and it might be useful for people who only monitor less than 15 feeds otherwise the page would get too crowded and you’d have to scroll down repeatedly.

No more downtimes for Google Reader

I’ve never encounted downtimes and overloaded server errors from Google Reader in the past day and a half. There are still times, though, that service is so slow and the display of feeds take more than 30 seconds. Google Reader, for me, has reached a level of dependability that I haven’t opened my Bloglines account for a day and a half. Bloglines, meanwhile, has decided to add keyboard shortcuts to its interface-no doubt a reaction to the offering of Google Reader. But, as I said in an earlier post, I will transfer to Google Reader once it addresses problems on downtimes and slow server response. If the current level of service continues, it’s Google Reader for me from now on.

Google Reader is great but I’m sticking with Bloglines, for now

If you talk of features, there is no doubt Google Reader is superior to Bloglines. Not only does Google Reader have a better interface (done with Ajax) it also allows you the choice of either going through all the feeds you’ve subscribed to or browsing feeds by topic or by website. Bloglines, on the other hand, only allows you to view feeds one website at a time.

Google Reader allows you to label site feeds and individual items. You can also put a star on items that catch your interest, a system similar to the one being implemented in Gmail.

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Google Reader: When it’s working, it’s the best news feed reader around. In the past few days since its launch, however, the service is either too slow or unavailable.

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Google RSS reader out

Google Reader is out and a cursory check of the service indicates Bloglines may be facing stiff competition. I use Bloglines a lot. When I arrive at the office, it’s the second site I open after checking my GMail. Google Reader, however, appears to be a better personal newsfeed portal. It uses Ajax and that says much. I’m transferring all my news and blog feeds to Google Reader. For a tour of its services, click here.