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    Google Reader and Attendant Problems

    November 1, 2011 by Brandy Vencel

    I am not much for change, and since Google started rolling out updates to all of the products I use, I’ve found it hard to keep up. Instead of writing, I’ve been doing some housekeeping. Today, I thought I’d do something I’ve never done before: take a poll.

    One of the issues I’ve come up against is concerning the new Google Reader. This is what underlies the ever-changing Assigned Reading section in the right sidebar. Any item I shared in my Reader appeared in the sidebar for those of you who might have been interested.

    The new Google Reader has no sharing button, from what I can tell. You can “send to” some sort of social media, including to your blog, but if I send it to the blog, I have to send it as a post and I’m not willing to do that.


    So here’s the bottom line: something will have to be done concerning my Assigned Reading widget, as I can no longer update it. I’ve created a poll to the right where you can give me a little input. I’m open to anything, so if you have an idea for me that is not an option on the poll, please leave a comment.

    Here are details on the options listed in the poll:

    • Move to delicious. This would require a lot of work on my part, and there would be a learning curve as I’ve never used it before. However, my understanding is that they support a similar widget, meaning that from a reader’s perspective, everything will have remained basically the same.
    • Move to twitter. I already have a Twitter account, so this would be easy, especially as Reader allows for sending to Twitter. If I did this, I could put a Twitter widget in the side bar, and you’d see all my tweets, including any shared articles. The downside is that it might be hard to tell from a tweet what the article is really about, but I don’t know for sure. I haven’t tested that “send to” functionality yet.
    • Delete it all. Please be honest. If you never read any of it and couldn’t care less, I’d be interested to know that, too.
    That is all I came up with. Boo hoo.
    As I said before, if you have other ideas, I’d be curious to know. I hate technological hurdles because they trip me up in my writing. Instead of blogging, I’m thinking about widgets, gadgets, and code. Totally not my line of work! I hope to have this cleared up in a day or two, so please participate in the poll sooner rather than later. I will leave the poll up for a week, but I plan to start testing my options as soon as this afternoon {naptime permitting, of course}.

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  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 3, 2011 at 3:39 am

    You called it Sallie! I forgot about that when I loaded the new font. I suppose lessening the post load is a decent trade-off, for I do love my beautiful Tangerine. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sallie @ A Quiet Simple Life November 3, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Brandy – I’m guessing you are using Google fonts? I have found that my site is loading a little more slowly since I started using them. That might also be contributing to your slowdown.

  • Reply dawn November 2, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I agree with Kelly … when I want to read something on-site, I load it then switch tabs until I remember again and then read because it takes so long to load. This was *much* faster … better πŸ™‚

  • Reply Tiffany November 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I do read your links from time to time, but I’ve never used Delicious or Twitter, so I don’t really want to vote for either of those. A post with your links would be fine, but I know it’s more work than just sharing.

  • Reply Kelly November 2, 2011 at 1:36 am

    Yes, it seems like it did load faster this time. I have wonky internet service too. It’s DSL and I suppose it’s faster than the dial-up we had eons ago, but sometimes things just take soooo long to load — especially graphics and scripts.

    That could be my computer’s fault, though. It’s practically an antique.

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 2, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Kelly, I didn’t know it took long to load! I never know how these things work for other people. My computer is sometimes slow and sometimes fast and it’s mostly related to our discount internet service. πŸ™‚

    Anyhow, I changed it to 4 days of posts, compared to the old 7. Does that help? It does seem to be the “right” length as far as the scrolling goes…

  • Reply Kelly November 2, 2011 at 1:02 am

    I’m sorry about all the trouble you’re having, Sallie. I suppose they’re too busy coming up with new cruelties to inflict upon their captiv– er, customers to attend to your complaint.

    Brandy, I like the new look. Maybe fewer posts on the front page would improve it… keep people from having to scroll so far down.

    Plus (she says in the tiniest voice possible) your blog takes an awful long time to load.

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 2, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Heather, I had to laugh just now because I started my post with “I’m not much for change” and so, naturally, I completely butchered my template. I have reached the heights of hypocrisy!

    I thought G+ had potential, but I think social media just isn’t a good fit for me in general. I am really annoyed at the Reader changes because what they eliminated was exactly what made it work for me. Twitter is okay, though, and I think with the widget in the side it can replace what I had for the time being. My hunch is that someone somewhere will fill the niche in time.

    I don’t know that I like the look as far as organization goes, but I was feeling cluttered and wondered what it’d look like to pare down…I may not keep it this way.

    Maybe if I made the page shorter? Less posts on the front page? What do you think about that?

  • Reply Heather November 1, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I gave up Google + and have cut almost completely back on posting anything on FB. I just lurk now for the most part. I echo Sallie’s thoughts about social networking sites. Plus I wanted to keep my postings to one place like my blog. So I don’t use Twitter or Delicious. I kind of forget about your Assigned Reading links b/c I am usually trying to read your own posts. πŸ™‚
    About your new look, it is really long to scroll down to the bottom to see the blogroll. But it’s your site so I’ll make do. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 1, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I may have completely destroyed my template just now, but I had an urge to clear out the clutter. All of the blog rolls are now at the bottom. {Do you hate me for this? Is it hard to scroll down?}

    I’m trying Twitter. So far, though, I haven’t been able to actually SEND anything to Twitter from my reader. We’ll see. Ideally, if this works, it should function like the former widget, where you can click the link and head directly to the article/post I’m sharing. We will see if that works in practice. If you see anything pop up and have a BAD experience, please let me know…

  • Reply Sallie @ A Quiet Simple Life November 1, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Kelly – Every time I try to request to reset my password or use the “I forgot my password” link I get an error page that they are working on it. I’ve sent four emails and a screen capture of the error page. I’ve even tried entering a million passwords just to get locked out or something and have them tell me to call a number to get access to my account. Nothing works.

    Which goes back to why I just don’t like using all these other social networking services. I overheard a group of women talking in a coffee shop the other day about clouds and all this stuff. One of them commented that her concern was that she will get sucked in with all the free storage of everything in your life (pictures, music, etc.) and then at some point it won’t be free and you are stuck. I’ve had similar thoughts and prefer to just keep all my content myself.

    And, Brandy, I forgot to say that I really like your new design. We’re working on mine as well this week as we get time. πŸ™‚

  • Reply dawn November 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I vote for G+ with Mystie which allows the conversation to go on.

    Second choice would be twitter (with an RSS feed) or delicious (which has an RSS feed) so I could pull feeds into Reader.

  • Reply Kelly November 1, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Maybe you could set up a Twitter account that’s just for sharing articles?

    Sallie, is the “Forgotten your password?” link not working for you? I’ve had to do that a time or two before, but I’ve never had to use the “I can’t identify my account” option.

  • Reply Sarah November 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I read 80-90% of your Assigned Reading links–I like them.

    I have a Twitter account. I do not like Twitter. It makes no sense to me, and I’m unwilling to learn it. Ditto everything for Facebook.

    I’m a fuddy-duddy, I guess.

    I have read Sallie’s Link-O-Rama from time to time and I like her format.

  • Reply Sallie @ A Quiet Simple Life November 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I like your links, but would probably never look at them on the two options you have listed. I tried sharing links on Facebook and I’m going to stop that too. (Plus I haven’t been able to access my Facebook account for almost a month and despite four emails no one there wants to help me reset my password.) I’ve decided I really prefer to keep everything in one place (my own site that I control) and I’m just going to stick to the Link-o-ramas. If people don’t find me because I’m not on Facebook, oh well. I’m not going to constantly play these social media games and try to keep up with every change that the companies come up with. And I don’t like the idea of my links being somewhere else where I don’t have control of it.

    My two cents. Your mileage may vary. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Daisy November 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I’m leaning more towards a weekly or biweekly post that shares links I found interesting. Challies and a few others work it this way. It would also help me maintain an archive of links for my personal reference.

  • Reply Mystie November 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    If you just start from scratch and don’t attempt to move anything, delicious would be an easy move. However, it would involve an extra step on your part. Instead of being able to just hit “share” right from Reader, you have to click over to the original, then hit the “share” bookmarklet you’d install on your browser.

    I don’t know anything about twitter. I subscribe to a couple people in my Reader, and it can be tricky to get to links Cindy posts within Reader. It’s not as smooth and pretty.

    I do read at least 50% of what you link to. It’s been convenient for me, since it just pops up in my feed with all my other subscriptions.

    Just sharing it on Google+ would probably be the option I’d vote for, even though it would fill up a feed, my feed there is quite quiet.

    Another thought would be to save the links up for your Monday Musings. This option also is more work for you, though.

    I would assume that eventually G+ will have an integrating widget, esp. for blogger blogs.

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