I was researching alternatives to Feedly Reader when I stumbled across an article on nakedcapitalism. In it, Yves Smith explains why he was dissatisfied with Feedly. (And for all of my followers who are using Feedly because of my post here, you can sigh loudly). As I read about his summer of digital discontent, I found myself nodding and laughing. Out loud. He perfectly captured my own experiences with apps and digital services.

I am new technology phobic because I have an unerring ability to find what is wrong with an application or device in record time and break it. It is probably a subconscious holdover from the fact that my favorite toy as a toddler was a crash car.

I don’t know how many times I’ll get New Thingie and be sputtering either on initial launch or within 15 minutes because it does not do what it is supposed to do. The ritual that then follows is:

I call the most expert technology buddy I can raise at that hour for help (I have enough technology buddies who keep weird hours that there is usually a hapless victim on duty)

I press him/her into service

They initially go into “help desk dealing with idiot user” mode on the assumption that the New Thingie is fine and I’m the problem

They are able to replicate the behavior I’m experiencing. Suddenly they are perplexed

They then check message boards and discover either:

The problem I’m having is real and not resolved OR

(no joke, at least 1/3 of the time) I have found a defect that isn’t acknowledged on the web

And to make matters worse, Problem With New Thingie inevitably involves functionality that is important to me.

The only thing I’d change is that my “most expert technology buddy” is Google or Bing. I’m notorious for ferreting out the smallest tech issue and by simple and relentless clicking, finding a solution. I rarely admit defeat. However, the skill of “an unerring ability to find what is wrong with an application or device in record time and break it” is mine as well.

I’ve been that way with Twitter apps (currently using Tweetlogix) this year already. I’ve been through Echofon, Tweetaster, Tweetbot, Twitterific, TweetList, Ubersocial and Janetter. Not one of them offers the features that I want in a single app. So I usually wind up using Tweetlogix for reading and responding, Hootsuite for scheduling (or Tweetdeck if I’m on the Mac) and the stock Twitter app for monitoring interactions (mentions, follows, favorites).

Strangely enough, I think I’m the ETB (expert technology buddy) for a lot of people. I’ll get contacted by someone who is struggling with their whatsis or thingie, and more often than not, instead of pointing them to Google, I’ll do the searching myself. There’s a sick side of me that loves the Sherlock Holmsian feel of uncovering the mystery.

At any rate, if you are still looking for a place to house your blog subscriptions, news, etc. and have been using Feedly, I’d recommend Digg for you to check out. It too has an app, but it’s cleaner than Feedly which seems to embrace eye candy over substance. Too much prettiness just gets in the way. Here’s how Smith described Feedly’s graphics:

You go to its home page and it’s hipster Brooklyn green. Bad sign, since that says they care more about eye candy factor than functionality.

Nuff said.

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