I have narrowed down my Google Reader replacement choice to either Feedly or The Old Reader. I have set up accounts with both services and tried using each for a few days. Here’s what I’ve found:
Feedly has a nice looking interface that takes some time to adjust to.
Feedly was the first service that I tried to use. After being used to the Google Reader interface for several years this was quite an adjustment to make. I was looking for a concise presentation of headlines with perhaps a small snippet of the article itself. Feedly’s interface concentrates more on the presentation of the data instead. It took me awhile to get used to this interface. The mobile apps for this service mirror the website closely. I was able to use it on my smart phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computer.
The Old Reader has the closest interface to Google Reader. Mobile support isn’t that great though.
The Old Reader had the closest interface to Google Reader. The layout felt familiar and was the easiest to adjust to. The biggest problem with this service was the lack of good support for mobile devices. There is no corresponding app for smart phones or tablets. The website interface didn’t seem to work well in the mobile browser. I kept accidentally clicking the wrong links as I was using it.
At the end of the day I decided to stick with Feedly. Both sites were very easy to configure and start using. After I imported my Google Reader feed list they picked right up where Google dropped me. Even though Google Reader is still going for a few more months I’ve already switched. The key factor in my decision was mobile support. You just can’t beat a solid mobile app.
Google announced today that one of my favorite web services will be shut down:
We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We’re sad too.
I don’t think they feel as sad about it as I do. I have used this service nearly every day since it launched way back in 2005. I manage literally hundreds of feeds and scan through thousands of posts every week. I access it via the website and all of my mobile devices. To be honest, I’m not sure what I’m going to do to replace this service.
So, what’s a good replacement service that offers the same (or similar) feature set?
I have days like this at work. I’m even guilty of it myself sometimes.
Our clergy e-mail server at work is running a Thawte SSL123 certificate for securing all webmail, POP/SSL and SMTP/SSL traffic. They have been an excellent certificate authority and we have used them for several years now. Unfortunately, the certificate in question expired over the weekend. I was supposed to renew it late Saturday night or Sunday morning, the time when we have the least traffic on our server (go figure, it’s a bunch of preachers). The problem was that I got home, sat on the couch, played with the kids and this slipped my mind.
There’s nothing better than a dose of high octane stress to kick off a week just right. I came in this morning to find out that no one could connect to the server anymore. Our office was flooded with calls wondering what was wrong with the e-mail server. In the past people could have clicked past the expiration error and kept on trucking. I quickly renewed the certificate, downloaded and installed it. Then the real problem started. All of our clients could now access the server but they were getting trust errors. Turns out the new Thawte certificates need to have an intermediate CA certificate installed.
Thawte uses Intermediate CAs to enhance the security of SSL and Code Signing certificates. Installing the correct Intermediate CAs or CA bundle for the certificate being used is absolutely essential to ensure that users don’t see certificate errors when visiting a website or running software secured with a Thawte certificate.
I didn’t know about this since it had changed in the last year. After running it by their technical support (they give great chat by the way) I was pointed to an article discussing the issue. Turns out this new requirement was implemented on June 27th, 2010. I downloaded the required certificate and added the following line to ssl.conf:
One quick Apache restart and all is well. Now it’s noon on Monday. Time to get the week started!
As I was navigating the internet today at work I noticed a new Google feature that seems rather interesting:
Google has released the beta version of their https encrypted search website. Google probably didn’t encrypt their searches from the beginning due to the increased overhead of the https protocol. After several test searches I cannot tell a difference between the http equivalent. Now we can all search whatever we want in the coffee shop without much worry of wireless sniffers watching our every move. Very impressive!
The Conference mailing list server is down again. I’ve been monitoring disk utilization on the list server for awhile now in an attempt to keep the server up until after the building move. Once I realized that we were going to run out of space again I decided to take the server down preemptively.
We have a long running history with this software. Sometime around 2003 I was tasked with setting up a mailing list solution for the Conference. Several of our local churches had also expressed interest so I had to find something cheap, scalable and fast. GNU Mailman was the perfect choice. It’s free and open source software, you can continue throwing lists at it and it supports lists of all sizes.
The list server is my oldest Linux installation. I was a lowly Windows admin at the time so my good friend Alan Swartz helped me with the original Red Hat installation. My how times have changed. Back then I had a brief list of commands to create new lists, reboot the server and perform a few basic administrative tasks. I wish I had kept a copy of that original handwritten list but alas, it is lost to the sands of time. This software has proven robust over the years as it has moved across several physical computers and 3-4 different Linux distributions.
Victims of our own success.
It would seem that too much of a good thing always lead to problems. The mailing list server maintains an archive of all of the e-mail that is sent over each of the mailing lists. These files grow over time as new messages are sent. Over time disk space can become a problem. It took us several years of constant usage to amass a corpus of around 80 gigabytes (GB). Mailman must have changed how it stores e-mail because over the course of a year or so we shot up to around 280 GB. Maybe people realized that you can send attachments to the lists? Once things get back to normal I plan to dig into why these list archives are growing so quickly.
Everyone loves a good history lesson but why is the server down today? The simple answer is that the hard drive is full (again). Once it fills up the mailman daemon stops responding. Since I am out of the office it could take me a good while to discover that the system is down. That’s why I decided to go ahead and replace it.
On June 17th the system went down due to a full hard drive. With the building move coming up soon I decided to try temporarily remove the larger archives from the internal mailing lists. This would free up enough hard disk space to keep the server running (hopefully) until well after the building move when I could properly schedule an outage. I’ve been monitoring the disk utilization since then, moving archives as I can. Unfortunately, I’ve moved all of the larger ones and was forced to move forward with plans to switch the drive.
Last night I pulled the 320 GB drive and replaced it with a 1.5 Terabyte (TB) drive. It takes awhile to copy the archives back to the new drive however. Overnight 60 GB of the 280 GB data store copied. I expect progress all day and will bring the system back online as soon as I can. Hopefully this will buy us a good bit of time before I have to permanently retire some of the archives.
Update: Friday, July 9th 2010 @ 12:17 PM
The list server is back up! We have plenty of available disk space now. I’m hoping that this one will last us a good while. I still need to research what is eating so much disk space but moving forward we should be in good shape!