Preamble: rearranging the feeds
Regarding what I read online, 2012 was a year of substantial RSS rearrangement. Not that I subscribe to any particular Inbox Zero or RSS feeds Zero mindset, but I was tired of both the accumulation of unread articles and the amount of general redundancy of the RSS material. I can’t say I’m a constant reader; I don’t have a daily schedule where, say, I devote two hours in the morning to reading my feeds. There are days in which I can spend even five hours reading other people’s articles, and days in which all I have time to do is marking some photos in Flickr or Instagram as favourites and adding a few things to read later to Pinboard or to my Safari’s Reading List (but just a few, since I typically don’t ‘Read Later’).
Over time, I’ve let my feed readers (an older version of NetNewsWire not synced with Google Reader, on my G4 Cube; Reeder on my MacBook Pro) get more and more crowded. Too often I’d end up with 250+ unread items only to Mark them All Read. So, last year I started to get more self-conscious about my RSS reading patterns. On the older NetNewsWire version I use on my Cube, there’s a setting where you can Sort Subscriptions by Attention: that has helped me keep a check on which sites I was reading more often and which I tended to neglect. So I started removing all the sites I was actually ignoring but that were keeping the Unread Items count high.
Then I took a good look at the other factor I mentioned above: redundancy. In other words: if Blog A and Blog B are made of ‘curated content’ (grumble) by people who evidently follow the same sources I follow, why subscribe to their feeds? The majority of links they post point to stuff I already have on my feeds, so there isn’t much to miss (and I can always check their sites directly every now and then). Thus, unsubscribing from these sites has improved my reading focus by mitigating the general redundancy.
During 2012 I also unsubscribed from many tech news feeds, mostly because Flipboard on the iPad has changed the way I read them. Once I used to have dozens of feeds in my ‘Tech News’ folder. Now it’s basically Macworld, Ars Technica and The Loop.
What I added
After this progressive rearrangement and de-cluttering, after cutting all those sites and weblogs that have stopped mattering to me in a way or another (by the way, if your site is little more than a link blog, you’ve certainly been removed), my interest turned to that kind of geek sites edited by authors who are more interested in the quality of what they deliver rather than the quantity or frequency — i.e., people after my own heart.
So, in no particular order, here are the few new voices that were added to my RSS feeds, sometime during 2012:
- Zero Distraction, by Alex Knight
- Speed of Light, by Jason Brennan
- Rob Weychert’s website (whose simple, elegant, notebook-y design I really love)
- Joe Cieplinski’s blog
- Faruk Ateş’s website
- OneThirtySeven, by Matt Alexander
- The Candler Blog, by Jonathan Poritsky
Other interesting additions include:
- Fathom Information Design’s website
- Ace Jet 170, by Richard Weston
- Teleskopos — History of science / Museums — by Rebekah Higgitt
- Iconic Photos, by A. A. S. Holmes
- Writers No One Reads, curated by Will Schofield (50 Watts), “S. S.” (Invisible Stories), and “J. S.” ((un)justly (un)read), three people whose sites you should add to your list, if you’re fascinated by such content as I am, of course.
- The Svbtle Network global feed — I honestly don’t think all the contributing authors adhere to the high standards Dustin Curtis envisaged when he launched the project; not consistently, at least. I follow the global Svbtle feed anyway: it’s like skimming through a thick magazine where I can find some really inspiring, thought-provoking articles amidst the weak tea.
- I’m very interested in The Witness, the new game Jonathan Blow is working on, so I started following The Witness development blog.
All these authors and resources are, in my opinion, worthy of your attention. They all provide interesting insights, good writing, and lots of food for the brain. I’m glad I’ve got rid of a lot of ‘filler’ stuff in my RSS feeds and improved my daily dose of reading thanks to all these additions.