RSS Reader Recommendations

I’m one of those people who still cling to their RSS Reader as a way to aggregate and read interesting things and news. Even though half the feeds in my blog folder are dead, I keep them around in the hope they one day spring to life again as we all get tired of the social media walled gardens, and start publishing on our own sites again. I’m sure it’s part habit, part convenience, part nostalgia.

At the moment I’m using The Old Reader, and using Stylus to fix the horrible, horrible default reading experience. TOR has worked fine for me up to now, but I was already near the subscription limits of the free tier, and I have a whole lot of new feeds to import that would basically double the number of sites I follow.

I know I could just use Feedly, as the free tier supports unlimited sources. That’s my fallback, but I left Feedly for The Old Reader several months ago, as I was becoming increasingly annoyed by some of their attempts to push Feedly Pro and team-based features. I just want to read my news, not create collections or share with teams, or whatever else they’ve come up with since. My RSS reader is not a shared experience.

So I’m probably going to have to start paying for a web-based reader, I want to make sure I’m using the best one I can. TOR is ok, but paying for something I have to use an addon to “fix” seems a bit silly.

If you’re using a paid-tier reader, which one are you using? My basic list of requirements are:

  • 3rd Party Apps can use it as a synchronisation source, so I can read on my iPhone or iPad.
  • Support for 200+ feed sources
  • A nice reading experience in the web client

Let me know in the comments what your preferred reader is!



Aberdeen AWPR Bypass to host “Worst Cycling Event Ever”

The new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road (AWPR) is to host a “Go North East Road Festival” before it is opened to traffic in September. The event will offer cyclists an opportunity to “wobble or weave” on the road to promote active travel. However, people will not be allowed to bring their own bikes “for everyone’s safety” and cyclists will be banned from the road forever once the event is over.

Who honestly thought this would be a good idea? To “promote cycling,” people will have to leave their own bikes at home and take a shuttle bus. When the AWPR opens in September, cyclists will be banned from it.

It’s really not a good look for the entire region…



Finishing

This post, by Steve Smith, speaks to me and my constant struggles to finish projects:

…starting a project is thrilling. The unknown is exciting. The opportunity to solve new problems in new ways is inspiring. But nothing compares to the joy of finishing. Starting is easy. Finishing is hard.

Steve is talking about software, using his hobby of woodworking as an example. For me, it’s all about the hobby. Finishing a miniature painting project that is taking more than a couple of days is hard. Maintaining the motivation and enthusiasm needed to get through all those finishing steps is hard. Heck, even getting through the first few steps of picking out all the base coats is hard. Throw in my personal rule of not playing with unpainted miniatures, and it’s easy to figure out why I’ve not played a game of Warhammer 40,000 since before 8th Edition launched.

Strangely enough, the building stage… that’s easy, although it’s the part I usually complain about. Perhaps I should learn to let go and play with “the grey tide”?

Don’t be silly. I’ll just have to keep pushing through and finish.



Whizbang the Wonderful

I’ve started playing Hearthstone again, and it’s entirely down to one card in the latest expansion: Whizbang the Wonderful. As someone who has sat out the last several expansions, having a single card allow me to “catch up” and try decks I otherwise don’t have the cards for is, well, wonderful! So much so I spent my saved dust to craft a golden copy. Good job, Blizzard!



August 17th is Twitter #DeactiDay

Enough users are fed-up with Twitter and the cess-pool it’s becoming, that they have declared Friday 17th August to be #DeactiDay. The hope is a short, sharp, shock of mass account deactivations will make those in charge sit up and listen. I’ve no hope left that it will, but it’s worth a shot.

I’ll admit that I’m torn. Some aspects of Twitter are still worth checking out. The wargaming/hobby community and the connections I’ve made have been wonderful. It’s clinging to these positive interactions which have made Twitter my most used social media site.

But outside of these bright spots, the service has been slowly sinking into a toxic morass. It’s just not fun any more, and the leadership seems to be morally vacuous.

I’ve noticed myself becoming more and more wary of using Twitter. It’s one reason I just spent the weekend retooling this site so I can reclaim a space to post my thoughts free from a looming sense that I’m helping prop up something which is doing more harm than good.

Last week I deleted my entire tweet history (apart from ~275 which can’t seem to be accessed). In part, this was because I couldn’t tell you everything that was in the nearly 10 year-old bundle of half-thoughts. With the increased weaponisation of long-forgotten tweets, as shown in the James Gunn and Sarah Jeong incidents, keeping nearly 29,000 tweets around felt like an unnecessary risk. Others have already done the same, or left the site altogether.

This coming Friday I will deactivate my account and take at least a 30 day break from Twitter. If the message is heard and acted on, I might reactivate. If not? I guess we’ll see if the few positives manage to keep me around. I suspect they won’t.

[Hat-tip to BoingBoing: I’m joining the campaign to deactivate my Twitter account on August 17. ]



God of War (2018)

I picked up the new God of War game for the PS4 yesterday, as my various social media feeds were full of nothing but hype and praise for it. Some pre-release previews had already piqued my interest, so I bit the bullet and bought my first “opening weekend” video game in years.

So far, it’s incredible. I haven’t played the previous games in the series, beyond a demo level of God of War 3, as they all seemed rather one-note hack-n-slash games. By contrast, this one is full of character, nuance – and yes – plenty of fast-paced hacking and slashing if that’s your thing. I’m only a few hours in, and already I’m more invested in the game, and particularly the evolving relationship between Kratos and Atreus than I have been for any game in a long time. As a bonus, it looks absolutely stunning, even on my aging 1080p TV.

Now that I’m hooked though, the real trick is going to be finding time after today to keep progressing through to the end!