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Birch Bay Public Market

Friday, May 10 through the end of summer, Cathy and I will be selling her hand-made soaps, lotions, and toiletries, along with my photography, note cards, calenders, books, etc.

Come see us!

Across the street from the C Shop

4825 Alderson Road, Birch Bay, Washington 98230


I had an automated blogroll here, powered by Google Reader, but Google, in its near-infinite lack of wisdom, killed Google Reader. Prior to this murder, all I had to do to put a blog on my blogroll (or to take it off) was to place it in a Reader folder called, appropriately enough, "blogroll" (or, of course, to remove it). I use The Old Reader now for following blogs, but it seems to have no way to something similar regarding the blogroll. If you know of a way to do this, please let me know.

The “New and Improved” Google Reader–NOT!

I subscribe to 223 blogs via Google Reader.

It’s been a very integral part of my day for some time now. I actually don’t have any idea how long it’s been, but it’s been at least three or four years. Obviously, not all of those blogs are updated on any given day, but when something new does appear, I only have one place I have to go in order to read it, and a good part of my online life has been spent looking at Google Reader’s screen.

Until I logged on for perhaps the third time today, and discovered that it had been IMPROVED! NEW, CLEANER LOOK! EASIER TO NAVIGATE BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!! The main screen consists of three panes, each of which is now exactly the same color. The delineation between them consists of pure magicalness, visible only to those who could see the emperor’s new clothes. And unicorns. They can see unicorns, too. But I’m not one of them.

The background color is now a bright, glaring white, very hard on an old caveman’s eyes. There seems to be no way to change any of this.

Essentially, one of my everyday tools has become completely unusable. Now I get to try and find a new RSS reader. If anybody has any suggestions, let me know.

Edited to add this:

All text is black on white. INCLUDING LINKS! Black on white links? Are they serious? Links the same colors as the surrounding text? Are they serious?

Edited again (my own RSS subscribers are going to love me):

The “All Items” button is now inside the scrolling list of subscriptions. Now you can no longer work your way down to the bottom of the list, then just hit “All Items” to see the things that have been added since you started. Because the button has scrolled to the top of the list. Because it’s inside the scrolly part, you idiots!

Here’s Montgomery’s First Law of User Interface Design, AKA the Principle of Least Surprise (actually formulated a long time ago, when I was still in industrial design):

Between any two design options in a user interface, the best one is the one that will least surprise the user.

Google Reader’s redesign has failed at this most basic level. Failed miserably.

2 comments to The “New and Improved” Google Reader–NOT!

  • I use MyYahoo for RSS feeds. It’s very clunky, and sometimes requires adding feed manually, but it’s also very customizable.

    I’m told that ALL of the “new and improved” Google services are utterly useless — PLUS, if you give in to their come-on about seeing what it looks like? You can’t undo that. Clicking on that “try it” button commits you permanently to the new interface.
    Camille´s last blog post: Showing, Telling and Naturalism – Story Notes for “Death and the Writer”

    • I actually have a Yahoo account (they host my sites), so I did try that, and it was fairly high in the Replace Google Reader Sweepstakes, but then I came across something called “Brief,” which is an add-on for Mozilla Firefox. It’s a lot like Google Reader used to was, until they “improved” it.

      I also hate the new Gmail interface, but since I only spend fifteen minutes at a time on email, while I may well spend 2-3 hours on RSS feeds, something had to give.

      Thank you for the comment!