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декември 27, 2013

Rss for personal use

After Google reader have been shut down in July I migrated first to Feedly and ten to InoReader.

Ino is very good if you can get used to some limitations.

Lately I have been reading more and more on privacy concerns and it turned out that all those on-line services have one or more issues when it comes to your privacy. Basically they can do whatever they want with the statistical data collected based on your usage and interests under one form on another.

I can understand why for some people this is not a big concern, however there are also people who strongly disagree with this policy.

I tend to be neutral on it, but just for the sake of the argument I decided to try and go on the other side and see if I can set up a local solution for RSS reading.

Now, it is clear to me that large percentage of the younger population prefer to get their news pre-filtered by their peers (via facebook, tweeter and g+ for example), but I still have several very different interest and no particular person(s) to count on for providing me enough information on all topics that might interest me, so I use RSS news feeds daily.

Quick look up for free Linux solutions for RSS reading reveal that most of those are console based and are not very useful if your feeds contain lots of media (pictures, embedded audio and/or videos) so I decided to go with liferea.

Now, one interesting aspect of liferea is that it can sync with those on-line services you know already (like Feedly and InoReader). However the objective is to be independent of those.

So what you do is basically export your feed list from the service provider and import it in liferea.

Liferea keeps all its data in .liferea_1.8 in your home directory so it is easy to set this up as a symlink and actually use portable media to store your data and take with you. Note that you should actually use fast flash drive as the low end devices are too slow and will result in bad user experience is used.

I think same could be done for your .firefox folder. Even thou Mozilla says it protects your data and encrypts it, Google definitely does look at your usage. Chrome is a very good browser, but I do not feel comfortable using it for my day to day browsing so I use it primarily for development.

As a developer I like the idea for the open web, but as a business trained mind I can clearly understand that those "free" services has to operate on something and that 99% of the users do not actually pay for the premium features so it is very hard to stay afloat with only free riding users so it is only natural to try and capitalize on the user statistics. This is why I think that most services must be pay-walled. If you pay you have the right to demand conditions. If you do not want to pay just use other personal solutions. Free services should die.

And if this means RSS might die, so be it.

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