I have been using Feed Demon as my primary feed reader at home for quite a while now. It’s flexible, doesn’t force an approach to organising and reading feeds, but is immensely powerful in it ability to organise them in whatever way works for you. And as it has been essentially hand knitted by Nick Bradbury, the energy and user focus is unmistakable.
It’s one big weakness for me has been its web-based cousin Newsgator, not so much because it’s a bit clunky (though it is), but because the way it uses scripting makes it almost unbearably slow to use through the thick soup of limited bandwidth and random filters the wrong side of a government firewall. It’s not that it doesn’t work; it’s that it’s unworkable. That’s a more insidious version of the picture Steph Gray assembled of what gets blocked altogether. The absurdities that leads to are getting increasingly bizarre (departments putting material on YouTube which they can’t show their own ministers without leaving the building to huddle round some free wifi…), but slowing things to a crawl is just as effective a way of blocking engagement with the outside world as stopping them altogether.
So there’s something to celebrate – the latest public beta of the next release of Feed Demon now supports syncing with Google Reader – and Google Reader, in my part of the world runs as it should, with no visible degradation at all. I am sticking with Feed Demon as the primary home for my feeds, but it’s nice to be able to succumb to displacement activity at work in a way which calms rather than frustrates.