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My Name is Herbert, and I am an information addict.

21 May 2008

There are a few things I am addicted to: chocolate, my boyfriend, vinegar (especially salt and vinegar potato chips), chocolate, hats, and the most recent addiction to this list: RSS feeds.

There was a time, not too long ago, where I refused to read the newspaper, excepting the morning comics. It was just too depressing. This lasted most of the way through high school. During that same period I also gained regular access to the internet, but I spent most of my time on Instant Messenger, message boards, and research sites. News was not my top priority.

Then I went to college. People say that college is a bubble from the outside world. But I’ve found Swarthmore to be much the opposite. People read the news (free copies of the New York Times proliferate the campus), people talk about the news, people care about the news. Granted, the news people care about might be specific to their interests, but it’s difficult not to be friends with a significant crosssection. So I started reading the news, just a little bit here and there. Then I discovered a little Mac application called Shrook. All of a sudden, I didn’t have to keep a bookmark folder of scores of links to check every day. I could get my computer to do it for me. This would prove to be my downfall.

When I checked links manually, I only had a couple dozen; usually those that I knew updated on a daily or otherwise regular basis. But with an RSS reader, I didn’t have to worry about that. I could subscribe to as many as I’d like. Soon I had over a hundred feeds with several hundred posts a day. This started to become a problem- I use multiple computers – my MacBook, my XO (now running XFCE), my work station, and the terminals at school. But if I checked a site anywhere else buy from my macbook, I would have to go through the articles again when I opened my feed reader. So after a few different tries, with Apple Mail, Vienna, and Endo, I gave up.

But then, about a week ago, I finally gave in to Google Reader. And I admit, I am a convert. I can have my feeds anywhere, and not have to worry about seeing the same posts (except cross-posts) multiple times. It’s quite wonderful. So now I am back to reading 120 feeds and upwards of 700 posts a day (and growing). Yes, it takes up a lot of my time, but I think it’s worth it.

The question is now, while I have this information, what will I do with it? Write about some of it, hopefully. As for larger actions; it remains to be seen. I still have very low energy. And a low Brilliant Idea & Implementation Quotient. Hopefully those will both improve one of these days. As mentioned earlier, I have felt the energy, the need to Do Something, I’m just not sure what yet.

Also, I have learned that I can post my daily (another service of which I am late to jump on the bandwagon of, but have done so for the same reasons as switching to Google Reader) links automatically to my blog. Which I will be doing, so you will be seeing a small snippet of of what I am reading. And if it turns out my notes are posted with them, I will start writing more commentary.

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