slicing and dicing information loads

There are way too many news sites and blogs out there that I want to read. I’m at a phase in my career where I’m just sponging up everything I can. I have a growing list of sites that I use for resources and news and new stuff.
The problem is trying to manage it all. As I have gotten older, I have realized the grim reality of managing one’s time. In my youth and even in college, I had a lot of free time to just while away doing nothing much. Now, I find I have to sacrifice a lot of that “nothing much.” Thankfully, I shed the whole “tv watching” thing back in college, and unless it is a movie, my TV gets zero use.
Likewise, unless I’m relaxing for a few many hours on a weekend with my computer, a hot drink, and some calm music, I don’t get a chance to check all the blogs I want to check or network with the people I want to network with or try all the new things people have posted about or created. Ugh!
I’ve tried keeping my own private blog with a list of all the interesting links and then posting about the tidbits I wanted to keep available or braindump about. The posting part has been working amazingly well and I love it. But the links part, which ends up being just a web page of bookmarks, in essence, is something that I have a bit of a problem with.
Reading the news requires clicking on each one. Being that I want this page to remain private, reading at a hotspot or at work can reveal its presence, and I have to take extra coding measures to obfuscate the redirect trackback. This is just a little bit annoying. And if I ever did want to share its existence with someone else, that would mean also sharing my home web site, since they share the same IP (and box). Moving it to hosting is a bit of a chore as well, since I use a smaller, lesser-known perl publishing tool for the site content. Ideally, I would have a second IP just for this site…maybe in the future.
But reading the news there is still less than ideal.
I’ve tried out standalone RSS readers, and I settled on using RSSReader for a while. Unfortunately, I find that I’m not always on my home laptop in such a fashion as to pull up the app and read the news. Sometimes I’m at work, sometimes I’m in a live cd doing something else, and sometimes I just want one big long page with all the news right there so I can just scroll on down effortlessly. The one good thing I like about RSSReader? If I have populated it beforehand, I don’t have to have an Internet connection to read the content later. That’s really a big plus as sometimes I want to go someplaces that don’t have open wireless and sometimes I just don’t want to fuss with locking myself down a bit more at a hotspot.
I just started a Bloglines site yesterday and have begun populating it with news and blogs and vulnerability advisory sites. While I like the idea of a one-stop website I can go to for news, this still does tie me down to an Internet connection. I also have not been happy with the presentation of the feeds either. I like to have full content (unless fully overridden by the feed itself), I like to have posts parsed chronologically (not by site only), and I like to have them all displayed for at least a week back for blogs and less for others. With Bloglines, I’ve found I have to click a few times to get the Week view, and they never arrange in full chrono order. Hrmm…but I do like it for one-stop news while at work and at a hotspot. I can also maintain some anonymity there.
Maybe I should recheck RSSReader for some more view options. Other than at work, it really is a good option, as I really love the freedom to unplug somewhere like a park, and just browse news there.
The big downsides to RSS feeds? Easily, I dislike the oddball blogs or sites that have no RSS or non-compliant RSS. Some, I understand, are a functionality choice that was consciously made by the author, and that is fine. It is just hard on someone like me to remember that that site is an oddball. A new downside that is growing in popularity is the trust that apps and sites and people put into parsing RSS feeds that can possibly allow malicious code in feeds.
Someday, I also need to find a good way (on Windows and preferably without iTunes) to automatically download podcasts and load them to a folder that I can sync with my iPod. Yeah, I know, I might still be behind the times, but iTunes originally was not something I trusted on my box, so I always stuck with winamp to manage my iPod. For now though, I’m content with my site of links to pod/vidcasts and downloading them manually.
Forums I truly love. I like the usually informal and discussion-like format of a forum. Maybe it just reminds me of IRC days, but forums have a special place in my heart. Sadly, finding a well-populated one with useful information is definitely not easy to find. My list of forums is woefully small, and half of even them are filtered at work.
My last major source of information has been mailing lists. I started out getting on a number of busy mailing lists a few years ago with a gmail account, but found the web mail interface and my own lack of time very disappointing and as such I stopped reading them. I have only recently renewed my reading by pulling that gmail data down to Thunderbird and abusing filters to sort out the mailing lists. This has worked pretty well for me, but I still have yet to really work mailing list reading into my daily or weekly routine. I need to read them for a while, cull the useless ones, and settle down there. Having mailing lists post directly to a forum or blog (with thread REs being placed into comments) would be awesome, even if just for my own private viewing.
Anyway, these are just some ways I’m attempting to usher myself through this sponge phase of my career, and I can already feel it coming to a climax and settling down for me, which is very good.