RIP, Google Reader

If you have been following me since 2008, then you know how important Google Reader is to me.  Not only do I use it to follow my favorite sites, topics, and influencers, I also use it to keep up with LinkedIn activity.

Last week Google announced that it will shut down Google Reader on July 1.  I know that people have been declaring RSS dead for years, but most sites still have that orange square button in the corner, so that statement never made sense.  I know that Twitter, Facebook newsfeed, and Google+ are delivering news in a very social way that has appealed to far more people than those who use Google Reader…but there is still a decent sized population that cannot live without Google Reader.

I will try not to be over-dramatic here; the world has not ended.  But Google Reader was the best tool for a networker and media strategist such as myself in this age of constant online enhancements.

I will find a replacement that will have some of the features that GReader provided, but why do I have to, is the question.  Why did it come down to this? Lots of good discussion about this on Quora.

I’m encouraged by what Feedly has done for the last few years and I’m excited to see what Digg will do.  And one retweet about Google Reader shutting down, brought Prismatic to my attention.  I will give them a spin just for being attentive.

And I would probably be willing to pay for it (maybe Google should have asked for dough), though the jury is still out on Newsblur.

If you have found the best alternative for Google Reader, please let me know.

(There’s also a site to vote for the best replacement.)

Tools To Die For

It’s the halfway point of 2012, and I have one extremely important question for everyone.  What services, apps, or websites are still on your “can’t live without” list?

I’m not sure when the Social Media boom officially hit, but I know for me I really started to pay attention in 2008.  I think when Twitter got hot, this whole movement became very real.  However, in the four years since I started paying attention, some have gone by the wayside, but some have remained and are still important.

Google Reader
Remember The Milk
Google Voice
Google +
Google Drive
Google Talk
You Tube
Google Alerts
Google Bookmarks

SocialMedian (before XING)

Gist – this one is the most difficult for me.  I love when they came out.  I loved the fact that I used to find past email conversations with any of my contacts with ease.   But for over a year, I have had error messages whenever I try to do that.  And their Android app is terrible.
CircleBack – when it was DubMeNow, it worked better, IMHO.  It’s still a great place to put all of your contacts.  But with Linkedin Card Munch, CardCloud, and Hello by Evernote coming on, it’s only a matter of time before this disappears from my phone.
Pandora – still a great service, but with Spotify on the scene, I find myself logging in less than once a quarter.


I would be very interested to hear which ones you are still using and which ones you have discarded.  I also want to know about great tools that I didn’t mention.


Internet Reading List

The past two weeks have been chock full of cool articles on the web.  My Google Reader is keeping me busy and updated.

This one from IntoMobile has me really excited.  As someone who waits on cold corners for my NJ Transit bus to show up, I have long clamored for putting GPS on these buses to let me know if it’s on time or even coming at all. I guess if NYC’s buses do this right, eventually it will travel over the river to us suburbanites.

This one from SoloPR states that PR stands for Pack Rats.  As I was reading it, I looked at the boxes of all my clients’ clips from nearly 20 years in the business.  I probably have 20% scanned as pdf’s.  But I still have the originals stored away.  I really need to clean house and get an intern or niece/nephew to scan my files.  Are you still holding on to physical copies?

I know I probably shouldn’t discuss this on a WordPress blog, but Posterous keeps on making great improvements.  The latest is daily digest emails.  I think that if you wanted to set up a nice community site (for free) with a daily email to go out to subscribers, the blogging platform that begins with a P is probably a good way to go.

If you want to set up a Facebook landing page for your biz, read this one on Mashable.

If you want to keep up with what I read from the interwebs, there is a window in the lower right side of the blog called, “Recently Bookmarked.”

My Blackberry Has Two Browsers

“I gotta hurry up and catch my bus!”  I can’t be late for this networking lunch, I’m hosting the dang thing!”

I didn’t get a chance to print out the bio for one of the speakers I was to introduce in 90 minutes.  I also didn’t get a chance to grab a book to read on the bus.

I took out the Blackberry and started looking at my Google Reader account. I also remembered what website to visit to read the speaker’s bio.  Instead of toggling back and forth on my default Blackberry browser, I used Bolt.  So the Bolt browser had the website with the speaker’s bio and I kept chugging through my 750+ items to read on GReader with the Blackberry default.

For that instance, it was very convenient to have two browsers on the Blackberry.  Now I know that it’s not a big deal…with the history setting, you can easily toggle between the sites you are looking at.  But why do that when it’s much easier to have another browser?

And now, the word Bolt may be synonymous with cool, i.e.  Usain Bolt, Bolt Bus, and the browser. I didn’t see the animated film with the dog, so I will need someone to vouch for the coolness of that flick.

Thanks to Jonn Nubian for informing me of this browser.

Not Surfing The Wave Yet, But Practicing In The Kiddie Pool

I signed up for Google Wave, but my invite has yet to come.  The hater in me would point to all the negative press and say, “I don’t want it anyway.” But I’m not a hater, especially when it comes to Google.  I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t use Gmail, Google Voice, and Google Reader, to name a few.

However, if you are looking for that special email/social media relationship that  Google Wave is supposed to supply, then here are some options that may ease the wait.


Threadsy Screen

Before I go any further, let me confess.  I am a layman. I do not know the first thing about being a developer.  I don’t know CSS or HTML.  What excites me about Google Wave is how it may enhance or replace email.  I know that email is dead.  That’s what I heard, anyway.  But until it goes the way of the facsimile machine, many of us laymen will continue to use email. So when I talk about the applications that I like to use while I wait for my invite, it has to do strictly with the ease of emailing and staying connected with the popular social media platforms.   Nothing complicated, here.  I’m not ready for email replacement right now. I just want email to be threaded or side by side with all my other important streams. That is the GWave appeal for me.

Back to Threadsy.

I asked for an invite to this web app and got one in what felt like seconds.  Once you set up your accounts, and it is an easy walkthrough for that, you will have a screen that allows you to receive and send email (called Inbound) from your various accounts and do your Twitter and Facebook thing too (called Unbound).  It’s a nice look.  The best part of it is when your contacts pop up and it shows you what other networks they belong to.  You knew your buddy was on Facebook, but you didn’t know he was on Flickr, Bebo, and Last.Fm.  Of course, you find this stuff out when you and your people are on the  same aggregator or lifestream app, like FriendFeed.  But not everyone is on that and not everyone has a Google Profile or a ReTaggr or DandyID.  And it is so much simpler to find out on Threadsy, especially if you have a few hundred contacts.  And Google Talk is also available.

However, it seems to be a memory hog and will sometimes give browsers fits (I have had problems on both Firefox and Safari).  And the option to put a signature for return emails would be great.



This web app does give you the option to put signatures for emailing. There is a lot of potential in this one.  Robert Scoble said that “email was saved,” after playing around with this.  Like Threadsy, you see all of your email accounts, Twitter and Facebook in one screen.  This is a non-US development team, so American Yahoo accounts don’t work yet.  LinkedIn will soon be on board  and more Facebook and Twitter functionality are on the way.  Right now you are able to get your replies and DM’s, but not your whole feed, but you can update your status.  You can update your Facebook status, but you can’t get messages.  Email retrieval is far from real time.  I know what you are saying, there are lot of buts, BUT this app is going to be a monster.  The five man development team is listening to what everyone is saying and they are making changes.  This is still in Beta.  What is hot about Inbox2 right now is the Facebook app.  If you are in Facebook all day, you will be able to check your email messages from Facebook, because all of the email accounts that you uploaded to Inbox2 show up in Facebook.  Just look for the red numbered bubble near the bottom of the Facebook screen (Applications notification box).


I know it’s not new or even sexy anymore, but how can you beat an app that gives you all of your emails, instant messaging, LinkedIn as well as Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook in the corner of your screen.  And that Global Status option is good if you are only interested in simultaneous status updates for the Big 4.  And the search feature which is available to you when you are in the buddy list (hit control+F) is the best search feature around.


Here’s the unsexiest one, Gmail.  Forward all of your main email accounts to Gmail.  Then enable your Gadgets so that you can bring in the Twitter (twitgether) and Facebook (GBook) gadgets that will sit in a sidebar and you can log in and follow those two networks while you have your emails open.  And if you remember my post about using RSS for LinkedIn updates, you can click on Reader while in Gmail and see your LinkedIn Network activity.  All from basically one screen.

These things are definitely making it easier for the layman to wait for Google Wave.  And who knows, even when my invite comes, maybe I won’t immediately hop on the surfboard to ride the Wave.