Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Make Delete Default

I’ve been thinking about trying a new RSS aggregator lately. It’s not that I have any problem with Bloglines, in fact I like it quite a bit, but they haven’t really upgraded the service at all in a while and I’m always down for some innovation. I’ve been hearing some good things about Rojo so I popped over and imported my subscribed feeds. The first thing I checked was to see what the default behavior was when you clicked a feed. You see, the feature that I like best about Bloglines is that after I click off a feed those new articles are automatically deleted. In other words, the default behavior is to delete everything after you read it with the option to save if you’d like.

Every other aggregator I’ve checked out works the opposite way. Most give you the option to “mark all entries as read.” However, for someone like me, who has 300-and-some-odd feeds, I want things deleted automatically, if I need to find something again I can always search for it. This seems like it should be the default and I’m always surprised when it’s not. I’ve also checked out Newsgator Online, which works the exact same way.

Now I’m not sure about everyone else, but this to me is a killer feature for Bloglines. With the amount of information out there, and the possibility of information overload constantly lurking in the shadows, why would people want to have an aggregator automatically save everything they’ve already read from visit to visit? The fact that you can’t just click on a feed and make all the new articles/entries go away is one of my favorite things. If I ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of reading I have on my plate, I can just clear everything way and start over.

So, there it is. Rojo et. al can create the most kick-ass aggregator in the world, but if it doesn’t automatically clear my read entries (or at least give me the option to make that the default behavior), then I’m not interested. I expect there are some others out there who feel the same.

August 29, 2005