The analog feed

I read my fair share of news and blogs, and I subscribe to a few podcasts. I subscribed to the RSS feeds of most of these sites and I click their bookmarks in Firefox periodically to see whether new stories have been added. It’s become a bit of an obsession, checking all those bookmarks while I enjoy a little web piddling time.

Just for fun I installed the free, open source Gregarius feed aggregator at Gregarius is a web-based RSS/ATOM aggregator that takes all my specified subscriptions and presents them on the web and in a consolidated RSS feed in chronological order, refreshed twice per hour. I subscribed to my Gregarius feed and deleted my mess of bookmarks, and voila! I now have just one feed to keep an eye on, and each story is handily prefixed by the source name.

my aggregated RSS feed

Gregarius is a great program but many of the navigation features don’t work and the project seems to have been abandoned 2 years ago. This is a shame because my initial goal was to categorize my feeds (news, blogs, SEO, etc.) and subscribe to each category individually, but the category links in Gregarius cause a 500 error, as do many features. The web UI is pretty fugly anyway so I’m content to subscribe to the RSS which sends me to the original source when clicked. This is also a shame since it’d be nice to make my consolidated news feed my home page, but it’s just too unattractive and broken to suit this purpose.

Another feature that is curiously MIA is the ability to auto refresh feeds periodically. Currently you must refresh the feed manually on demand (slow and a pain in the butt) or with a cron job (which I can’t configure since my web hosting plan doesn’t give me shell access). Luckily the good folks at OnlineCronJobs provide web cron for free so I can do this every 30 minutes behind the scenes, and my Firefox RSS bookmark updates automatically.

It doesn’t deliver all the features it flaunts in the UI, but I love Gregarius for making this consolidated RSS feed of all my newsly goodness. I tried a few other platforms but either they didn’t work right or I’m too dumb to get them working (my web host doesn’t always conform to default system variables, for PHP and MySQL for example). Gregarius will suffice.

I’m hosting this service if you’d like to subscribe to my news feed. Only I have permission to add sources (and I probably will pretty soon since this is so convenient) but you’re welcome to view the web site or subscribe to the RSS feed if you’d like to read what I’m reading.

Any news or blog recommendations for me based on my reading habits?

P.s., the only reason Slashdot isn’t on there is because it’s already my home page, and subscribing to their RSS feed doesn’t maintain my custom preferences.

P.p.s., the only reason Digg isn’t on there is because it’s evolved into a repository of top-10 lists, American politics, and unsubstantiated rumours. I joined Digg when it was new and grew tired of it when it stopped being tech-centric.

By brian

About Brian Damage:

Who is Brian really?
I live in Toronto, Canada, and work for an IT firm. That's about as much real-world info I'm comfortable divulging here. What you read on my blog is the real Brian, but, for the sake of freedom of speech, I feel most comfortable leaving a gulf between my cyberspace and meatspace personae.

Who is Brian at work?
My ridiculous job title is "Marketing Specialist" since I wear so many hats at work. I'm a technical writer, a specialist in enterprise search technologies, an electronic forms designer, a newsletter author, system administrator... but I'm in the Marketing department so for the time being I'm stuck with this inauspicious title.

Who is Brian at play?

Who is Brian