Various and Sundry, 3/14/13

Some stuff I don’t wanna break into their own posts:

* Google Reader is getting the ax, to the wailing and howling of nerds everywhere, including me, because I use it and like it because it’s simple to use, displays what I want to read via RSS how I want to read it, and otherwise doesn’t suck. But Google apparently couldn’t figure out a way to monetize it, so out it goes. This is a trenchant reminder to everyone that the only thing permanent about the Internet is that nothing on it is permanent, including the stuff you think will last forever because you and everyone you know online uses it. This is especially the case when you’re using something offered for free. This is why at the end of the day I keep (and pay for) my own domain, e-mail and everything else. Because you never know. Actually, you do know. You know it’s going to end.

* I have no real thoughts on the new pope other than the news reports suggest like he likes his humility, and he seems at least somewhat engaged with his church working for the least of its followers, and on the surface both look like a good thing to me. He’s also apparently generally conservative on social issues (women/gays/abortion), which also doesn’t really surprise me at all. If I were Pope and I could only focus on a single thing, it would be dealing with the Church’s child abuse issues, so it would be good if Pope Francis could at least take on that. But then, I’m not a Catholic; Francis doesn’t have to listen to me.

* It’s been noted to me that I’m not writing a whole lot on politics at the moment, to which I’d say, nope, I’m not. In fact, since I’ve gotten back from the JoCo cruise, I’ve cut out almost all of my political site reading entirely. I pop in to Talking Points Memo about once a day out of school loyalty to Josh Marshall, but otherwise I’ve taken mostly a pass on everything else. Why? Because mostly at this point my brain looks at politics and goes waaaaaaaaaaaah NO. And why not listen to my brain, for a change? I’m keeping up with the basics via the news sites, and I’m sure at one point or another something will annoy me enough to comment on. But the the moment: Meh, pass.

* As I mentioned on Twitter not too long ago, tackling the Random House stuff over the last week was, from the point of view of being an advocate for writers, totally worth my time — but from the point of view of being a writer, was a week’s worth of time I wasn’t writing pay copy, which, you know, boooooooooo. This was the year I was supposed to catch up on all my writing! Don’t mind me, I’m just whining. About the things I do to myself.

68 Comments on “Various and Sundry, 3/14/13”

  1. Even if you were Catholic, Francis wouldn’t have to listen to you. That’s one of the problems I (an ex-Catholic) has with that church: Communication is mostly one-way, top-down. I agree with your take, though, and I’m cautiously optimistic. He’s still got to deal with a mighty bureaucracy, but humble or no, he was a contender last time around and should know what he’s facing by now.

  2. what are others planning on doing after Reader goes away? I’m starting to look at Feedly

  3. The top contenders for Google Reader Replacement, after reading several articles at several tech sites, seem, in no particular order:


  4. Thanks, John, for taking the time to explain and bring to light the issues that can hurt writers! To your point, you don’t get paid for it, but please know that it is deeply appreciated!

  5. the horror of it all, thinking of the mindless sniffling liberals shambling around like mindless zombies because they have no one here telling them how to thing.

  6. The only thing that will last forever on the internet is that old picture from college. You know, the one where you’re in the goat pen, in your underwear, throwing up? Yours might be a little different, but you know the one. Yeah… that’s going to be up there until the end of time.

  7. Today is my first day using feedly, and even though the default front page look is too busy and doesn’t contain enough articles for my taste, it does have a “latest” button which puts me back to an articles and titles listing like reader defaulted to. So for the moment, I seem to be a happy cat.

  8. I love Google Reader — Just like I loved iGoogle (which is also going away).

    Where are we heading?

    To a future where everyone develops their apps for what they want to do, and screw the corps.

  9. They can do what they want, since I wasn’t paying for it, but I liked Google reader. Kinda feel like I’m not invited to a friend’s house for TV night anymore. Was it something I said?

    3 “top down” decisions mentioned here (Francis/Google/Hydra), and the only one that took feeback from “the People” was the one Scalzi yelled at. Coincidence?

  10. @MattO. Yes, coincidence.

    Or, possibly, that The People realized that they actually had a chance of affecting the Hydra situation, whereas they realized there was no hope of changing the mind of the Pope and Google.

  11. I’m moving all my old stuff over to The Old Reader once June 30 rolls around, and that will be that.

    I can’t blame you for the politics avoidance. Most of the day-to-day political news is irrelevant bullshit, with a lot of “he said this, now he said that”. Just look at all the chattering about the Paul Ryan budget, same as the Paul Ryan budget every year since 2006.

  12. “Don’t mind me, I’m just whining. About the things I do to myself.”

    Data point: all my best whining is about things I do to myself.

  13. I use Google Reader daily (which is how I read you blog post, BTW) and iGoogle daily. Both are going away. This begs the question: Why should I ever use anything new from Google when there is a very good chance they’ll drop it in the near future. Nothing is permanent, but at least with the other companies out there, I have the illusion it’s gong to stick around. Not so with Google. They’ll keep it there until they think they lose money on it. FU Google.

  14. @Dan Thompson: not me; there was no internet when I was in college, and all those snapshots are probably long disintegrated by now. I hope.

  15. @jasonseas… In Feedly, you can control the display. If you want a compact display choose a category, click the gear icon and select Titles from the drop down. Display settings are per category so you can use Titles for busy, high volume categories and, say, Magazine for another category if that makes sense.

    I like Feedly have have used it as a Reader front end for years partially because of the display controls but also because there are Feedly apps for iOS and Android as well as the web.

  16. I moved over to Feedly on Chrome. It took about 5 seconds.

    Pope: Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.
    Okay, not exactly the same. Nice to see that they’re staying on top (pardon the pun) of the emerging markets, but it’s too bad that there’s no one to shepherd them out of the 18th C. when it comes to reproductive rights and marriage equality.

    As to why use anything from Google — why not? Are you still using Word Perfect? I’m also bummed about losing iGoogle, because it was nice to have all the services on one dashboard display, but it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing else out there that can do the same thing, and maybe better. I’m new to Chrome, because I thought Firefox was good enough, and now I see the value of diversification.

  17. @ubikuberalles – so you’re crying about the end of two products that you’ve never paid for? Entitled much? Last time I checked Google was a commercial entity, not a charity…

  18. I’m depressed that Google Reader was closed due to lack of monetization as it is one of the few services on the Web that I’d pay for. It’s central to my Internet experience. Probably 90% of what I read/watch comes from either Reader directly, or 2nd/3rd level linking.

  19. I feel as though Google is turning into a Facebook user experience. It’s like going to the store to buy a teapot, only when you get home it turns into a pilsner glass, but after you wash it you get a coffee mug, and when you put it away you get a cereal bowl, when all you really wanted was some damn tea. The internet of the 2010’s is turning into a crapshoot of the worst variety. I am really quite annoyed at the whole evolution. Perhaps it’s a conspiracy to get people to go back to newspapers.

  20. @Chris (the 4:56 pm Chris):
    When did Google ever give us the chance to pay for Google Reader? (I know nothing about iGoogle.) You’re not the first person I’ve seen today try to blame the shutdown of Google Reader on users failing to pay for the service, but that criticism seems completely off base to me since we were never asked for money. Were we supposed to just Paypal donations to Google & hope for the best?

  21. The problem wasn’t that Google Reader couldn’t be monetized, but (according to one of the creators Chris Wetherall on Gigaom, but that Google wasn’t interested in monetizing it.

    And this SHOULD have been a no brainer. You have a record of what content people have selected that they are interested in. And you have a record of which articles they actually click through to read. This should be no brainer in being able to monetize stuff from Google, but if they weren’t interested, then that’s our loss.

  22. Scalzi, isn’t that the point of being a writer, is that you’re constantly getting wrapped up in things you don’t get paid to write…?

  23. @Jon – I agree, google didn’t give you the option to pay for it. If it was a purchased product, you’d of course be justified in being annoyed when it was axed. However, you took the risk of google pulling the plug when you used a free service. I’m not sure if someone could replicate and sell it as a commercial service, or if it could be commercially viable, but from google’s point of view it clearly isn’t. Maybe they should have charged for it, like google drive, but for whatever reason they didn’t think that would work.

    Google do have previous form for killing stuff, and it’s annoying, but basically move on and use something else.

  24. @Jon, I’m not trying to blame the user, it’s clearly googles own decision and own failure to monetize, but if you’ve been enjoying the service for free, and it stops, I’m not sure there is much to complain about.

  25. I wonder how all the people wailing about how Google is horrible for terminating free services are going to react when Microsoft turns off the MSN servers tomorrow…

  26. @lynD: Reader aside, I’m growing more annoyed with Google by the day. My ISP recently switched to Google Mail for their e-mail framework…and its performance is frankly underwhelming both in spam-catching and in compatibility with Mozilla Thunderbird, which I’ve been using for the last two years. But the biggest PITAs are:

    – Any time I use their webmail interface – no matter what browser or platform I’m on – I have to dismiss multiple messages trying to push me to download Chrome because “my browser is incompatible.”

    – They have turned Chrome into something approaching a computer virus in their current bundling deal with Adobe. Acrobat/Acrobat Reader updates in the last few months have installed Chrome – with NO notification or opt-out checkbox – on both my home and work machines. (And in the case of my work machine, also installed Google Toolbar and automatically changed my default browser to Chrome.) I’m beginning to have doubts about this whole “don’t be evil” business.

    As for using “outdated” tech – if it does what you need it to do, why not? I’m still using Office 2003 at home, because a) I’m used to the configuration and know how to make it do what I want, and b) that Word edition had a much better font package. (And c) since I’d already purchased it 7 years earlier and my newest home laptop didn’t come with Office, I wasn’t going to buy another – and in my opinion inferior – iteration of it. Although I did have to haul out the Office disks that came with my 1999 laptop to convince it that I was upgrading.)

  27. I’m among the ranks of the “NOOOOOO don’t take away my awesome entirely-free reader!”

    Mostly, I’m wondering where Google is headed in the long run. They started out as “hey, look, search that WORKS! The Internet has just become awesome!”. Then they followed that up with bringing service after service onto the web – free, and awesomely designed. And Chrome – another ridiculously good improvement to the internet. Mind you, most people would be at a loss to explain where Google’s income was coming from at this point.

    But more recently, I feel like Google’s given up on making cool new stuff. Which, y’know, they’re not obligated to do – it’s just, they were the “make cool new stuff” company. Buzz and G+ were copycat annoyances. And now, they’re basically saying, “listen, all the existing cool stuff? yeah, don’t count on that.” John, you’re right to say that they can do that, that the Internet can’t be trusted, that free services can’t be depended upon. I’m just not seeing what’s in it for Google – it’s a big bummer for lots of loyalists, and it makes every other service they offer feel unreliable. Why would they want that?

  28. I like Google Reader a lot too. Tried Netvibes for a bit, but found it just a little too laden with ‘bling’ sort of stuff. Have been using protopage and find it adequate. I’ll have to try this Old Reader that people are talking about here.

    As for the pope, I’m buddhist now but was born Catholic. Was in the seminary even–woo. Anyway, it’s true what they say, “once a Catholic, always a Catholic.” So, I’m glad to see a pope from the ‘new world’ finally arrive. And someone who picked ‘Francis’ as they papal name. Nice choice. Reminds me of Assisi, the gentle priest.

  29. I never figured out Google Reader, so eh. I do spend ridiculous amounts of time on G+, which is so very far from being FB — and that’s why I’m there!

    I do dig that the new guy chose Francis as his name; original as far as no other Pope’s used it, plus the dude from Assisi was very cool. And at least they picked someone who’s not born in Europe. He’s not going to change any dogma, but maybe he’s better at PR.

    And as regards the Twitter sidebar: Scalzi should totally change his email notification to the L&O DOINK DOINK. At least for an hour, till it drives him (further) mad.

  30. This was the first I heard of Google Reader being shut down, and it’s annoying. Apple removed RSS from their latest version of Safari, and since I didn’t want to have to switch back and forth between Mail and Safari to use RSS, I started using Reader. Now Reader is going away. Sigh.

    How’s RSS support in Firefox these days? That might just push me over there.

  31. “To your point, you don’t get paid for it, but please know that it is deeply appreciated!”

    This falls under the category of ‘long play’. He expects a return.

    Nice splashy way to head out as president of SFWA too. He’s got to be doing a dance over this gift. You couldn’t script it this good.

  32. @chris:

    “so you’re crying about the end of two products that you’ve never paid for? Entitled much? Last time I checked Google was a commercial entity, not a charity…”

    The entirety of the internet is irritated (I have yet to see any Leave Google Reader ALONE videos) that the popular way they’ve adopted to aggregate their web reading – primarily because Google killed pay for RSS services by offering theirs gratis – is ending almost immediately and you single out one person for that series of misguided jabs? That’s just rude.

    The substance, I assume, is just a troll given that there’s nothing anti-‘commercial entities’ about using a corporation’s decisions as input when determining whether or not to engage with any of their other services.

    And, if it wasn’t a troll, hey man, get that message to YouTube where a video about how everyone Should Leave Google ALONE would be well received, I’m sure. You might be able to help ensure that this isn’t Google’s Waterloo! Or, maybe it’s the Waterloo for Internet Denizens who don’t understand corporations like you do?

    I mean. Either way, what I’m saying is: I would watch you scream-cry this message on YouTube.

  33. @ Matt O

    3 “top down” decisions mentioned here (Francis/Google/Hydra), and the only one that took feeback from “the People” was the one Scalzi yelled at. Coincidence?

    I’m a reader. I’m not a Catholic. Why would I waste my off hours trying to argue with the most ossified institution on Earth when any effort I could direct it’s way would be better spent by far working to maintain the Jeffersonian separation of Church and State? As for Google, its decision to discontinue a free service, however handy, is not even remotely in the same realm as Random House trying to cheat authors and their readers. Anyone who thinks so is either stupefying entitled or thinks RH wasn’t trying to cheat. Not that there’s anything wrong with letting Google know they had a good thing going as it gives the company feedback.

    @ M.A.

    not me; there was no internet when I was in college, and all those snapshots are probably long disintegrated by now. I hope.

    Ye of little faith.

    @ Jon

    Were we supposed to just Paypal donations to Google & hope for the best?

    Auditor: “And what is this deduction here for the betterment of humanity?”

    Auditee: “Oh, that was my donation to Google to keep Google Reader online.”

    Auditor: *blinks dumfoundedly*

    @ bryanf

    I wonder how all the people wailing about how Google is horrible for terminating free services are going to react when Microsoft turns off the MSN servers tomorrow…

    @ David Goldfarb

    How’s RSS support in Firefox these days?

    Extent, but tremendously inferior. And if Google Reader was a mayfly, Firefox add-on functionality is positively chimerical – I do not advise becoming overly depended on anything written for it, though I enthusiastically recommend Firefox itself.

  34. Looking at Old Reader now. Looks promising, though it’s failing under the load of new subscribers at the moment…

  35. John,
    To you, of all people, I must wish a Happy Pi day. Thanks for a really interesting week.

  36. Comment from troll at March 14, 2013 3:45 pm: But apparently no one teaching trolls how to type. (In reality of course Teresa Nielsen Hayden teaches liberals (and others) how to Thing. She wins that game every time.)

    Tyler Tork: Yeah, it’s called the “I’m the humblest man here and proud of it” syndrome. But his humility, anyway, seems to be genuine.

    About the new Pope: As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m going to wait and see how much of a jackass he turns out to be before I start calling him Pope Francis the Talking Mule.

    Seriously, he’s an improvement over the malevolent piece of shit who just quit. As I was saying to someone yesterday, Francis is certainly a homophobe, but not a notorious, egregious, and universally loathed (by the gay community) homophobe like Benedict, whom I personally hated for 20 years before he was elected. He was the Grand Inquisitor, and wrote a lot of J2P2’s most homophobic encyclicals.

    In other words, Francis is homophobic, but it doesn’t seem to be a high priority for him, unlike Pope Rat.

    Someone on the Daily Mail was predicting (before Francis’ election) that the new Pope would dismiss anyone (Cardinal, Bishop, whatever) who had helped cover up clergy sex abuse. That was laughable on its face; the Conclave would not have elected someone who would dismiss half of them! This Pope might be clean of that particular taint, unlike Benedict, who was up to his ears in it, and in fact as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (that is, the Inquisition) forbade US bishops from exposing and dismissing pedophile priests.

    He’s a dumbass sexist/misogynist too. Again, no surprise, since Pope Rat picked the people who would pick his successor.

    I’ve heard that some bishops in Argentina were refusing baptism to illegitimate children. Much as I’m not a fan of the Roman Catholic Church, that seems deeply out of character for them; I heard that Francis put a stop to it.

  37. Just realized that “put a stop to it” might be misconstrued; he told them they had to baptize the illegitimate babies. That’s not a story against Francis, and in fact I doubt it’s true.

  38. Mark S., thanks for the link re Chris Wetherell — I knew him in college around 20 years ago, and it’s interesting to see what he’s done since.

  39. On the suggestion of a different writer, who also was miffed at the loss of Google Reader, I’m currently using FeedDemon lite. It grabbed all my feeds seamlessly (an important feature), and is currently doing an admirable job of making the transition as pain-free as possible. Might want to give it a try.

  40. Another possible replacement for reader is the tiny tiny RSS reader. Which you can either host yourself (thereby ensuring that it doesn’t actually go away unless you want it to) or e.g. pay somebody to host for you …

  41. For those who use(d) Google Reader at work behind a Fun Police barricade and on anchient iterations of IE (Ie7 here!!), who can’t run those new funky website at work….

    I recommond FeedDemon lite 4.1

    …just installed it here at work and wasn’t blocked by Administrator privaleges, looks nigh on identical to Reader, Has a few glitches in terms of updating through said firewall (you have to close and re-open the entire program to get the RSS feeds of websites your firewall normally blocks), and has the added advantage of openign the websites directly in the window…..but yeah it’s doing the identical job of Reader and looks the same too.

    Two out of my three Thumbs up

  42. You have earned some serious “You are the Master” points. I too feel as if my head will pop open like an overripe grape if I don’t take my own break from politics. You have striven hard and well and may Karma be kind to you.

  43. @OtherBill – My point stands. I didn’t realize that you spoke for the entire internet. How did you get appointed to that exalted position? Is there a salary attached? Maybe a title? “Speaker for the Internetz” maybe?

    Apparently I’m not on the internet or entitled to an opinion, as I’ve never even heard of either of the products Google is discontinuing. If you didn’t realize Google is evil and capricious before now, that’s your problem, not mine.

    Maybe the pay for RSS model will now work, maybe not, but it isn’t the end of the world, or even the end of that particular service, based on the three alternatives that other people have listed.

  44. Actually, Mr Scalzi, could I request you delete the above post? It is somewhat ill tempered. In case you hadn’t already noticed.

    OtherBill, I apologize for that. I’m not trying to apologize for Google, just pointing out that they are somewhat evil and capricious.

  45. Another vexed user of Google Reader here. Trying out some of the alternatives to get a feel for them. Old Reader seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, but they’re definitely not ready for prime-time under the deluge of new people, like me, trying it out. I’m currently in a 24k+ queue just to import my XML file.

    Newsblur looked promising.. until I saw that they’ve “temporarily suspended” access to free user accounts due to “overwhelming demand.” I know I should be understanding, because everyone’s rushing to find alternatives and it’s hitting a lot of the small services hard, but my kneejerk reaction is “Ah NO.”

    I have a whole list of others I’m going to try – Feedly, BlogLovin’, FeedDemon (again, I wasn’t impressed in the pre-GReader days) and whatever else is on this handy list I found here:

  46. As a recovering Catholic I’m a little surprised by how much interest I’ve taken in the whole thing. Not too surprised by his conservative views. I’m probably going to be taking more interest in his position(s)/role through relatively recent history (mmmm… maybe the past 50 years?) in Argentinian politics. Particularly in relation to left vs right for lack of better way of putting it.

    Otherwise, I’d have to agree that the child sex abuse should be issue number 1. But that doesn’t mean it will be. The last pope seemed to take the position of ignore it and maybe it’ll go away (or maybe not; my attention span for the Catholic church can be like my Catholic views: of the cafeteria variety). So if anyone has anything to say to the contrary I’m all ears and Sacred Heart about it.

    It’s a shame though. There seems to be things about the Catholic Church I do like. I have fixations on crucifixes, the Sacred Heart, rosaries and I seem to taking a liking to prayer. I just don’t seem to believe in its supernatural powers. But then a lot of the trouble I have with the Catholic Church tends to be with doctrine.

    Speaking of doctrine I’ve been trying to figure out why women can’t be priests. As far as I can tell, so far, is it’s a doctrine thing. That seems to be a lot of the reason so, no, I still don’t understand. So I read some more and a lot of what I’ve got to far in my short time reading is “no, no girls; it’s a boys club.” Seriously, their attitude appears to be (again, if I’m wrong, let me know; I’m interested – please, save me the work) priests have always been men so that’s how it’s supposed to be. They also play the Jesus was a man thing and the apostles were all men thing. So far I’m not sold.

    I think the Catholic Church is in serious danger of going out of business. Maybe not completely but much more than we can imagine. I’ll be curious (assuming I’m still around) to see what it’ll be like in twenty years. I think the saving grace (if you’ll pardon the expression) would be women as priests and/or allowing priests to marry. I think you can cut down on the priesthood as a hideout for guys who want to do bad things to children. It’s already stopped, to a very large extent for being a refuge for men who have a homosexual nature. In spite of that I get the impression there are still plenty of homosexual men in the Church hierarchy (regardless of the Church’s position on homosexuality). It’s just that their primary concern is protecting their closet.

    As for politics? The only politician I think I actually and really like is Elizabeth Warren. I actually trust it. Yeah, I think that’s incredible too! I still like Howard Dean but he seems to have disappeared. There are some others I still remain hopeful so I guess I’m still optimistic. Am I stupid or what?

    Google Reader? I’d forgotten I’d ever used it. Now that I remember it’s going away. :(

  47. Chris – It’s fine. You offered some thoughts, you got some and you offered a riposte. No worries. Really.

    The only serious thing I’d add is that you consider that your response to me could apply to your own initial thought. Otherwise, yes. Capricious is a defensible charge against Google.

  48. I am a bit puzzled about Google. Presumably they want to sow trust with their customers who use Google Drive and Chromebooks (customers like myself), such that we will be willing to depend upon them. But when they repeatedly exercise their right to ax things with seeming abandon, well, let’s just say I’d at least think twice, even if I shell out money to buy terabytes of cloud storage (which I’m not, anyway, just saying).

    My vote for replacement: NetVibes – for those of us smarting from the loss of both iGoogle & Reader, Netvibes replaces both (admittedly, we’re probably a small set intersection).

  49. Re: The Pope
    Old Pope: Member of Hitler Youth
    New Pope: Possibly cooperated with the Argentine dictatorship during the dark days of “the disapperances” (disputed by Vatican, but reported by credible sources like the NY Times).
    I believe in forgiveness, too; but it’s worth noting these items, nevertheless.

  50. I’m fairly certain that random pictures posted on the internet of some shit-faced idiot dressed as chewbacca dry humping another shit-faced idiot dressed as an ewok last FOREVER. This is a small public service announcement to folks who don’t know how social networking works. Some shit on the internet will ALWAYS be there.

  51. @Lost in Thought, I’m ex-Catholic myself (so long an “ex” that I consider myself entirely recovered). My take on the CChurch’s attitude about women priests: The response form the Church often seems to be of the “look, shiny!” variety that never actually explains the Church’s position. “Of course women can be called by God! There are already places for women who have vocations, and if women question why they can be nuns but not priests, then they’re not showing true humility [toward *God*, of course, not toward the (male) hierachy], and the implication is that this makes them not worthy to be priests anyway.” I have seen responses to the “why not have women priests” question that boil down to something like that. I guess if God wanted them to be priests, he’d have created them to be men … or something like that.

    Meanwhile, they’re having trouble finding enough priests, which is surely one reason why so many unsuitable candidates (i.e., pedophiles) have been trained and retained. But women priests, married priests? Hell, no! They’d rather have the pedophiles. It’s disgusting, not to mention stupid and head-in-the-sand. My 90-year-old mother who has been a devout Catholic all her life thinks, the Church has blown it and is angry about the atitude toward female and married priests. She goes to Mass every Sunday, but it’s because she doesn’t think the Church or its hierarchy owns her faith. She worships in spite of them, not because of them, and at her age, she’s not willing to give up religion or change to another denomination.

    I used to think the CChurch might fade away, but the trend instead seems to be smaller but more hard-core conservative in the U.S. Overall, the growth rate of membership in the CChurch is very close to the growth rate of the population, worldwide, so it’s basically maintaining. That’s an average, of course. The growth rate is particularly high in Africa.

  52. On the topic of Google Reader replacements:
    People who find paying for stuff and self-hosting their critical tools appealing might also want to take a look at Fever (

    For me, the selling points are: a nice web interface, super easy installation (really!), and a quite nice 3rd party iOS app (Sunstroke). Fever has its own take on getting the most out of your RSS feeds, and how well that appeals will depend on how you used Google Reader, but I think it’s worth a look.

    (FYI: I’m a longtime Whatever lurker who just randomly happens to be a Fever fan — not affiliated with the developer/software etc)

  53. I’m not sure whether this will be of any use to anyone at all, but I get RSS feeds of a lot of stuff through Firefox Live Bookmarks, and use the RSS Ticker plugin to keep track of them (saves me having to keep a separate tab open for RSS stuff). It seems to work quite well with a lot of stuff, although it appears to dislike Feedburner (I’ve never yet figured out how to get a Feedburner feed to display on the ticker). Just offering this as a data point, and a possible option, is all.

  54. I’d just like to say that being morally opposed to homosexuality within your own system of beliefs is not the same as being a homophobe. What the new Pope’s stance is, for as long as he only maintains that stance for the people he leads, you cannot in good conscience call him a homophobe because he’s only continuing to follow his convictions. That does not make him afraid of any people group; that just makes him a good leadership candidate for a group that has always held that stance. It’s not personal, or at least shouldn’t be (from either group.)

  55. I’ll vote for Feedly too, not that I use a reader all that much. I have a list of sites I visit daily. Do that first thing in the morning, and then get to work.


  56. @JeremeyJoel: being “morally opposed to homosexuality” == homophobia, no matter how you cut it. Period.

    As Xopher has said, he may not be as egregious about it as Ratzo was, but when I see something with a long handle and a broad flat blade being used for digging, I have no problem calling it a spade even if everyone else insists it’s a manual excavator.

  57. Another ex-Catholic here. I’ll be interested to see what happens with the new pope–Latin America was the home of “Liberation Theology”, and it may well have influenced him for the better. It would be nice if the RCC could actually represent the human best of Christ’s ethics and morality, rather than being a mockery of it as it is now.

    @BW & Lost In Thought: There is no reason except institutional misogyny for forbidding woman priests or priestly marriage. The supposed doctrinal reasons are blatant, self-rationalizing bullshit. (As are the doctrinal reasons for the Bishop of Rome being supreme head of the church–just ask the Orthodox Patriarchs how seriously they don’t take that claim.) Martin Luther, in his various essays, did a good job of demolishing the supposed scriptural reasons for forbidding marriage. Modern, non-misogynist theologians have done an equally good job of demolishing the arguments against women in the church.

  58. JeremyJoel: What Dave Crisp said, and more politely than I would have. Also, don’t mistake a word’s etymology for its meaning; homophobia may literally mean “fear of things that are the same,” but what it actually means is hatred of gay people and/or a desire to keep them from having the same rights as straight people.

    And as for things being “not personal,” that’s all very well for people who aren’t personally affected. It’s bloody well personal for ME.

  59. I’ll go further. It’s hard to reconcile “not personal” with “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

  60. I find it difficult to reconcile a religion’s insistence on being the one true path to a non-fiery afterlife and its adherents saying things like “hey, it isn’t personal and you don’t have to join our club” as a sort of live and let live message.

  61. Thank you, Lila. I’m going to remember* that one.

    *For values of ‘remember’ that approximate ‘steal’.

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