reading technology

A Day in Google Reader

There’s a lot of great content on the internet. Unfortunately, it might take a long time to seek out and trudge through, except for the invention of feed readers. I started on Bloglines a couple years ago, but when they started having severe problems, I switched over to Google Reader. It seems important enough that I thought I take a look at what I have in here:

Personal Blogs – I have 19 blogs of personal friends, most of which are inactive. I’m sad that Facebook has supplanted Xanga, as it means that there’s not as much written content from others, but there are still a few people who are writing. The shoutouts for people who I’m hoping are reciprocating readers and who still update from time to time are Albert, Chelsea, Charlton, Dan, David, Devin, Jeff, my Uncle David, and my cousin Eric. If you have a blog, drop a line, and I’d be happy to read your blog as well.

Big Blogs – My next folder is a slew of more popular blogs of real people, most of whom I’ve never met. Some are good, some are bad, but most are interesting. Some of the better ones include Scott Adams’ Dilbert Blog about his crazy ideas, Lawrence Lessig’s Blog where he (a Stanford law professor) writes about “the issues”, and Freakonomics, which is random.

Gaming – It’s a hobby, and I enjoy reading about what’s going on with various game development studios. The Team Fortress 2 and Bioware blogs are particularly fun. I, however, get most of my daily game news from

Kotaku – This is my first high output blog (having more than 2-3 posts a day). Over just today, there are 75 posts. Most of it isn’t particularly interesting to me, but occasionally, there will be a good trailer or bizarre news story.

Magic – I have a couple feeds to Magic blogs. It’s important

Psychology – My academic interests lie somewhere between Computer Science and Psychology, but if you’ve ever looked at my delicious, you’ll notice that I’m heavily skewed towards tagging psychology articles and pages. There are a couple forces at work here, but I think it’s mostly two factors. One, technology tends to just “happen” more, while psychology will often get interesting articles published about it. Two, psychology is consistenly more surprising and noteworthy to me. I will often remember some study I read about while talking to people, and have to dredge through old bookmarks to find it. With new products, they often become items in themselves that I can easily find. Anyways, I have about 20 different psychology blogs. Probably my two favorite ones are Neuromarketing, which just finds amazing applications for all these studies, and Mind Hacks, which does a great job being a filter in itself to find all the articles on NewSci and NYT that I wouldn’t find myself.

The Daily WTF – They post maybe twice a day, one with a story about incompetence in corporate programming, and another with pictures of mistakes in technology. It’s very entertaining, and a good reminder about how poor design decisions and style can result in awful code. I was talking about it to a programmer once, and he mentioned that reading it felt like “laughing at a toddler” since a lot of these people are legitimately trying. It’s probably okay, though, because this isn’t the worst thing on my feeds.

Hacker News – This is my last 100+ post feed left. I used to subscribe to digg, but I realized that most of it wasn’t making me a more informed or amused person. Hacker News is just a place where people post links to blog entries, questions, and articles related to programming. There’s a lot of trash, but it gives me a chance to find new blogs and interesting takes on issues

Lifehacker – The #6 most popular blog, according to Technorati. It’s very good. Posts range from cooking tips to new mac apps, but of the 30-40 posts a day, a lot of it ends up being very interesting.

Apple News – I have MacRumors and The Unofficial Apple Weblog as my 2 sources of mac news. THere are a lot of good ones out there, but Apple news tends to be relatively thin, and they all cover each other anyways, so I can usually keep up on updates and rumors with just hese two.

Company News – Blogs for various tech companies, like Google and Facebook. Most posts are about new features in their products that I don’t care about, but sometimes, there’s something good.

Technology/Programming Blogs – There are some famous programmers. There aren’t a lot, but there are some, so I have about 10 different blogs for those guys, like Paul Buchheit (creator of GMail) and Coding Horror.

Sports – And by sports, I mostly mean baseball. I actually found most of them in bizarre links from unrelated places, but I have a few sports feeds. Curt Schilling does a lot of techy sort of stuff, and the Hardball Times keeps me on top of MLB news.

TechCrunch and All Things Digital – Two blogs all about what’s going on in Silicon Valley and internet news. These are why I was so excited when I came to the Bay Area and discovered that the people making news were all around here. I find it somewhat funny how powerful TechCrunch has become, to boost the popularity of a new startup or ridicule one into oblivion. I usually flip through these very quickly, but sometimes, something catches my eye.

TechDirt – My first catch-all. It’s just general tech news, so I’ll usually quickly scroll through it. Most of it, I will have already seen on another feed, but sometimes, I’ll have to take a second look at something that I only glanced at the first time, and now realize is actually semi-important.

Anandtech and ExtremeTech – My senior year, I got really interested in computer hardware and was all over the benchmarks and specs for new video cards and processors. Nowadays, not so much, with these being my last opportunity to at least know what these things are called. Sometimes I’ll take a look at a new video card, but I’m thinking all of my future computers will be laptops, and the hardware doesn’t vary that much.

MIT Research News and SciAm – Just because I said I would never take a bio, chem, or physics class in college (other than neurobiology) doesn’t mean I don’t care; I just don’t care enough to understand. It’s always interesting to hear about new things in research, whether about why teenage girls are “socially aggressive” or why the LHC is broken

HowStuffWorks – I love this website. Often, google searches about random topics of interest return obscure, jargony pages incomprehensible to those who aren’t domain experts. But HowStuffWorks can make me feel really smart about things I don’t understand with pretty easy explanations. They also have a great podcast.

Slashdot – My final catch-all. It’s all geek news, whether programming, science, or Star Trek. Definitely one of the best feeds I get, even if I see most of the news by the time I get here

Webcomics – I like to think I’m fairly selective, but I realize I have a whole 10 comics that i follow. Dilbert and Sheldon probably don’t really count as webcomics because they follow the typical 3-panel scheme from the newspapers, but the others are definitely dorky. My two favorites are actually both related to pen-and-paper RPGs. Order of the Stick is a great, great one about an adventuring group inside a Dungeons & Dragons world. Darth & Droids takes frames from the Star Wars movies and imagines how they would’ve gone if the characters were controlled by roleplayers. I think you have to have played D&D or some other RPG to get it, but they’re absolutely spot-on

Failblog – I mentioned above that the Daily WTF wasn’t the worst. This is the worst. Because of it, I think my perspective of the world has changed drastically. I’m definitely not a better person for it. But it’s so funny sometimes…

Columnists – I’m not really familiar with a lot of journalism, but I do enjoy the work of a couple writers. Right now, I’ve got Leon Hale, Dave Barry, and Gail Collins, but I’m definitely on the look-out for more. I mentioned I got stranded at Borders the other day; that motivated me to seek out good writing, so I added this section. If you have any favorites, let me know

The Best Article Every Day – This is also a recent addition. I like to try out new blogs, and this one is looking like  it’ll take a permanent spot. The content isn’t always amazing, but it’s one post a day, and I can afford that.

So that’s the run-down. Over the course of today, I have 659 unread items. That sounds like a lot, but honestly, I probably don’t actually read more than 30 posts a day. If you have any tips to any particularly good blogs or feeds, I’m always looking for quality content.

2 replies on “A Day in Google Reader”

interesting to know what other people are reading 😛

however, google reader is SO time-consuming..

I’ve written about the way that I read feeds, and have just burned another few hours (where I should have been doing something else) trying to figure out to make my reading more efficient.

I’ve been using Twitter as my newswire, which is good and bad: good for currency, bad because there’s a lot of noise. I also find myself checking Facebook a bit too often.

I’ve been looking at using Friendfeed as a richer version of Facebook — and the browser version is recently very improved. I’m still feeding Friendfeed into FeedDemon, and discovered the View … Newspaper … Style … Outland … can also be changed to “Sort in Reverse”, so my productivity is improving. (I like to be methodical about reading oldest first).

The Friendfeed developers are ex-Google, so I’m continually impressed by the way their software is evolving.

I don’t use Google Reader the way you do — I find browsers just too slow for the amount that I want to read — but I’ve found the ability to Note in Google Reader to be a good way to leave a few words on articles that I find interesting. I’ve taken the habit of using “daviding says”, because in reading other people’s bookmarks, I find it hard to discern whether the words are the opinion of the bookmarker, or part of the original content from the web.

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