Month: <span>February 2013</span>

Like many others, I’ve been having trouble with Google Reader this morning. TechCrunch is reporting widespread issues today:

“Google Reader, the RSS feed-reading service Google has long since benignly abandoned, has gone completely mad, and Google has yet to acknowledge the problem even as it heads into its second day of unusability. Users are reporting inaccurate read and unread counts, the reappearance of thousands of old, unread items as new, and, in some cases, the return of feeds users had previously unsubscribed to.”

While in the short run I hope this is a temporary problem, and that Google Reader will be fixed, the longer-term issue of Google not investing in Reader anymore looms large.

The service may be a money-sink for Google, and may not align well with their corporate priorities, but it is hugely popular among programmers and techies, and is relied on as core infrastructure for countless applications that sync feeds and read/unread status across mobile devices and desktop readers.

There is at least one paid third party alternative available in NewsBlur, and it has an API (which is not interoperable with the Google Reader API). I don’t know how successful they are so far, but there’s definitely a need for at least one stable web-based feed reader with a sync API.

My question is this: Could Google spin off Reader into a new company?

I don’t know if it’s even technically possible given that it probably leverages many internal services and technologies that are proprietary to Google.

And even if it were technically possible, are there any business reasons why Google couldn’t do this?

I don’t know if any Googlers are listening on this frequency, but if they are, I would hope they might consider it.

Brent adds to the conversation: RSS Sync Apocalypse Preview [added 3/14]


After my last post, promising (mainly to myself) that I’d blog more, I asked on Twitter what should be On Deck, so to speak.

I’ve decided I’m going to focus first on thoughts about user experience design, and related team/project stuff, since that’s what I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about of late.

I’ll probably do some posts about resumes and job hunting soon, and that may (at my sole discretion) include some thoughts about what it was like to work at Microsoft. I’ll also definitely touch either directly or tangentially on software development lifecycle, and team dynamics issues.

But mostly what I’m interested in – for many years now – is great software, with great user experience, and engineering practices that enable its creation and ongoing evolution.

So… Stay tuned… Thanks!

Ps. New Tagline and About text. Let me know what you think…


The other night I was talking with Brent Simmons, and he told me that he’d tried to send my last post to Instapaper, and it didn’t work. The error message sucked, but clearly this requires action in any case.

Now the decision is whether to try to fix my template (or Manila itself), or to finally find a contemporary blog host. I have a machine that could be a home for a self-hosted WordPress blog, but do I really want the hassle of maintaining backups and all the other crap that goes along with self-hosting… anything, really?

Then again there are still a few other die-hards out there who are using Manila. If the fix were simple, it would be a nice gift for them. (And I still need to find a good ship vehicle for the work I did to get Manila working in Dave Winer’s OPML editor…)

Update: it turns out that Instapaper works just fine on my site if you use the browser bookmarklet, but it breaks if you use the API to save one of my posts. Still no idea why it’s broken.