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It Happened… At Long Last

I’ve tried Google Reader several times in the last year. I kept hearing other librarians falling head over heals in love with it and wondering what I’d missed. But each time there was something that fundamentally disrupted my feed reading flow. I couldn’t have labels I wanted (it didn’t like having multiple labels having the same beginning word for a while there), I couldn’t rearrange the order of the feeds and simply could not function with that draconian an adherence to alphabetical order… lots of little things.

But over the past few days, Bloglines hung up on me one too many times and I thought I’d test out Google Reader again. After all, with the world of perpetual beta you never know if the problems that irked you 2 months ago will have been solved. And lo and behold! They had been. I imported my feed collection with no problems, rearranged my feeds to my heart’s content, and began reading away.

The only thing I don’t like is that it forces me to see what other friends in my gmail address book are reading. It’s not that I don’t like these people or their feeds. It’s that I don’t have the time, and I don’t have the will power NOT to click on a link that’s bold with new items. That new-item bold is hardwired into me as something that needs to be cleaned up NOW.

But I think I’ll stick it out this time. Hopefully in the next few months they’ll add a preference that kills this particular version of water torture.

Update: I cannot for the life of me figure out the “All Items” link in Google Reader. It routinely has more items listed than the sum of all my new items below it. In fact, I just clicked on that link and read all the items in it… the screen is now blank of new items, and it STILL says I have 13 new items. I don’t! If I do, I can’t see them. Grumble.

Update 2: After a few days of watching the phantom “new items” number climb and climb for no known reason, they suddenly disappeared this morning in the middle of my blog reading. Yay! Now it works as I want it to work (except for the annoying Friends Shared Items thing… but I’ll deal).

Last Update, I promise: So it appears that I get to cycle through weirdness and normalcy. The phantom “new items” number grows and grows each day until one day it realizes that it’s lying and clears itself. It stays clear for a day or two, and then grows again. I’ve decided to find this amusing.

Published inTools and Technology


  1. Megan Megan

    The friends thing is HUGE and BAD and HORRIBLE in my opinion. It almost made me walk away from GReader. Almost, but not quite. And the reason is because I can organize my feeds pretty much any way I want, and my fingers have finally got the muscle memory to move from item to item, folder to folder, opening items in full that I want to read, etc.

    THEN I found the Firefox plugin called “Stylish” and found a really great style to apply to Google Reader so it looks like I want it to look. And so I’m still using it, happily so, even though I’m ticked about the friends’ feed thing.

  2. John Overholt John Overholt

    Re your update, I think that means that new things have come in since you clicked on the “All Items” button and started reading. If you hit refresh, the phantom new things should reveal themselves to you.

  3. Iris Iris

    Anna, no, those were all cleared out, and there weren’t any starred items or anything either. Nothing.

    And John, I’ve tried that. I’ve tried logging out and logging back in, refreshing, clearing cache and history… all the normal stuff. But there is a steadily growing number of “new” items there even when, if I click on the link to see those items, if tells me there are no new items.

    Megan!!! I love the idea of “Stylish.” I just wish the “optimize skin” thing worked for me. I must have another add-on that’s interfering or something because it makes everything on my screen overlap and shift off the screen to the right. Odd… But I’ll keep looking for updates and stuff because that looks really really great.

  4. mlorfeld mlorfeld

    I turned off the “friends” thing… though I can’t for the life of me remember how. Also I use the list view for its simplicity. That way I can clear out a newsfeed I just don’t want to read with a quick Shift-A.

  5. Iris Iris

    Oh! If you remember how you turned it off, please let me know. I poked around for ages and couldn’t figure it out. I don’t want to un-friend people… I just don’t want to see their feeds.

  6. mlorfeld mlorfeld

    Is it in the settings under “friends.” I’m not sure. I don’t share items, and maybe none of my friends are sharing either.

  7. Iris Iris

    The only way to turn them off from the Friends menu is to remove them from my contacts in Gmail. DO NOT WANT.

    *sigh*… I guess I’ll learn to live with it.

  8. […] I’m still experiencing oddness with the “all items” having phantom new items, but like I said, I’ve decided to find this amusing. But there’s one thing that I really really […]

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