Are you reading this?

If you read Walt at Random via a feed (RSS, Atom, Feedburner–just added):

Please comment (or send me email, waltcrawford, gmail.com) noting:

1. Which aggregator?

2. When you saw this–and if it’s later than Friday, February 16, it wouldn’t hurt to say what days you did or didn’t check your aggregator.

As far as I can tell, Bloglines just isn’t dealing with my posts at all, at least since Tuesday, and I’d like evidence of whether anything else is happening. (Yes, I’ve contacted Bloglines. No, I don’t have a response. No, I’m definitely not the Lone Ranger here, based on Bloglines forum.)

Thanks. And, of course, Aarggh


Comments closed Monday, 2/19: Thank you all. The problem seems to have been resolved, then unfixed, now morphed. I’ll keep monitoring, although I’d certainly rather post about, um, something other than posting problems.

42 Responses to “Are you reading this?”

  1. Steve Lawson Says:

    Read using NetNewsWire Lite on Friday 2/16 at 9:25 Mountain Time via the feed coming from

    Your post says it was posted at 10:32am. Is your blog date-stamping in Eastern Time? Cuz if it is Pacific Time, I’m seeing this before you wrote it. In which case I’d say your problem isn’t Bloglines, it is instability in the space-time continuum. Or something.

  2. walt Says:

    Hmm. It’s been EST, probably ever since the blog went up. I just never bothered to look at that option. It’s now set for UTC-8 (PST) rather than UTC-5 (EST). Thanks. (That’s now two aggregators reported within the first hour, Bloglines notably not among them. The other report came via email.)

  3. Dorothea Salo Says:

    Read using an install of Gregarius on my own webserver, Friday 2/16 at ten ’till noon Eastern.

  4. jennimi Says:

    Walt, reading you via Google Reader-have noted frustrating delays in Bloglines and phased out its use, though GR is not without its frustrations. Am home today online… post showed up around 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Friday.

    A couple things I DID like at BLs though: you could see how many people subscribed via BLs and once a post was read it was read. GR has its own issues… like not marking things I have read as read, but so far so good. Interesting survey… will be looking forward to seeing your results/decisions.

  5. walt Says:

    Jennimi: Not really a survey, just looking for evidence that it’s just BL. I think I’m getting that. I have the same problem with leaving BL or advising others: The subscriber count is really convenient, particularly if you’re considering whether other blogs are being read.

    If there’s anything to sum up, I will. Eventually–say when/if Bloglines ever actually catches the post. ["If" is beginning to sound plausible, as my Tuesday post is still not showing up.]

  6. jennimi Says:

    Ha ha! I’m so used to your research posts… yeah, your Tuesday post hasn’t shown up in my BLs yet either, but it did in GR. Then again it could be a space time continuum problem as noted by Steve. Good luck with your aggregatin’ :)

  7. Steve Oberg Says:

    Hi Walt, I have very reluctantly given up on Bloglines altogether. I have always like it better than other web-based offerings such as Google Reader, but because of the problems I’ve experienced, I gave up. I went back to Google Reader and found that most of the annoyances in that interface have been addressed and although the keystrokes (a very big deal for me, personally) have taken a while to learn, I am now pretty proficient in using them.

    Steve

  8. Courtney Says:

    I use Google Reader and it says your post was updated at “10:19 am (2 hours ago)”. It’s Friday, Feb 16 at 1:03 pm CST here.

  9. Rory Patterson Says:

    I read it using Google Reader on Friday, 2/16 at 2:07 EST and it has you posting at 11:19am

  10. Robin Hastings Says:

    I read your post at 1:11pm (CST), but it was posted to my Google Reader account at 9:58am (CST). I too have been phasing out Bloglines in favor of Google Reader – you would not believe the number of blogs that I thought were dead while using Bloglines that are now showing up regularly in Google.

  11. Jennifer Macaulay Says:

    In Bloglines, the last post that shows up from your blog (for me) is the Classic Musicals 50 Music Pack, Disk 4 which is from the 9th. This post did show up in Google Reader and Blogbridge when I checked them just now – 2.15PM. Despite these problems, I tend to still use Bloglines – and just manually check many of the blogs (which is a pain in the neck, but I’m finding it very difficult to fully migrate to another reader).

  12. Lichen Rancourt Says:

    Google Reader (I love it waaay better than bloglines) and 2:25pm est, Friday 16th.

  13. walt Says:

    I’m going to try Google Reader as a parallel reader for a few days. I see two problems with it right off the bat, but they may not be problems for most users:

    1. The time stamp is when Google Reader checked the feed–NOT when the item was posted. (In one case, I see the same “fourteen minutes ago” timestamp for posts that were clearly posted over a several-week period.)

    2. I think this is true of most aggregators, and probably wholly irrelevant unless you do, um, studies of blogs: Bloglines does provide a subscriber count, at least for the feed you’re using. Google Reader doesn’t.

    Still, though, Bloglines is clearly failing on Walt at Random (despite being told about it)–and, now that I’ve done a scan, I see the same problem with Tame the Web, where I hadn’t been aware of any posts for the better part of a week.

    I do see what Jennifer M. says: It’s really hard to leave Bloglines. For me, at least.

  14. Michelle (jane) Says:

    Walt,
    May have been there before, but just got around to reading. I am using Google Reader, it is 2:44 pm ET on Friday.

    I just started using Google Reader because I have been frustrated by Bloglines lately, no tags for the most part, and I do not like that it seems to have a LOT of trouble with any kind of media.

  15. Michelle (jane) Says:

    Oops, one more thing:
    Because of the handy subscribed number in Bloglines, I think I will keep both readers around for awhile.

  16. David Rothman Says:

    Hi Walt. Google Reader here. I’ve been pretty public about my dissatisfaction with Bloglines.

    Michelle, you can track all your subscribers in all aggregators if you use FeedBurner. I even added a plugin to my WordPress blog that shifts those who subscribed to my origianal feed to the FeedBurner feed- so I really know how many subscribers I have and what aggregators they use.

  17. Steve Oberg Says:

    Hey, just wanted to pass along some fresh news: Google Reader — FINALLY — presents subscriber counts. This was as of about an hour ago, I think.

  18. JoAnn Mulvihill Says:

    Got this via Newsgator.

  19. Steven Chabot Says:

    Google Reader, and I am sure I get all your posts.

  20. heather whipple Says:

    I’m here via Google Reader at 2:20pm Pacific time (my first time checking today).

  21. Steve Oberg Says:

    Just to add one point about the Feedburner count suggestion: I have done the same thing as David Rothman in WordPress; and I regularly look at Feedburner subscriber tasks. However, and this is an important distinction, Feedburner does not count subscribers in the same way that Bloglines does. See Feedburner’s explanation of how they count subscribers at http://blogs.feedburner.com/help/stats/subscribers_explained/popup/

    So for example, Feedburner can tell me how many subscribers come from Bloglines. I just did a lookup of how many Bloglines subscribers Feedburner comes up with for the past 30 days. It shows the number as 26. Yet when I look at my subscriber numbers in Bloglines, I show that for the Feedburner feed, the number of actual subscribers is 23. Keep in mind that I also have several other feeds for my blog for which people have registered through Bloglines, e.g. an Atom feed, a standard RSS 2.0 feed, etc.

    To go into this in more detail, here is a breakdown of the feeds shown in Bloglines for http://www.familymanlibrarian.com:

    http://www.familymanlibrarian.com/wp-rss2.php
    37 subscribers

    http://feeds.feedburner.com/familymanlibrarian/dwVA
    23 subscribers

    http://www.familymanlibrarian.com/wp-atom.php
    4 subscribers

    http://www.familymanlibrarian.com/feed/
    5 subscribers

    http://www.familymanlibrarian.com/?feed=atom
    2 subscribers

    http://www.familymanlibrarian.com/?feed=rss2
    8 subscribers

    I assume that all the other feeds besides the Feedburner feed are probably legacy feeds for the time before I implemented the Feedburner – WordPress plugin that David Rothman refers to, which works to redirect all possible blog feeds for my blog back to Feedburner.

    But even if I just compare the Feedburner feed subscriber count in Bloglines with the Blogline subscribers count shown in Feedburner, there is a basic discrepancy. Bloglines simply counts the number of people who are subscribed to a particular feed, period. Feedburner calculates the number of subscribers as variable over time. So it seems to me that Bloglines offers the more stable or perhaps reliable count.

  22. walt Says:

    Wow. Some valuable discussion here. I’ll have to look at the WP plugin, but not this weekend. Meanwhile, our host at LISHost is looking at settings, which may help matters.

    Actually, the subscriber counts I’m interested in are for *other people’s blogs* – only when I’m doing studies, of course. I know Google Reader will now let me claim *my* feed[s] and get subscriber counts; not quite the same thing.

    Steve: Your latest email was trapped as spam because of the number of links. I’m surprised your “extant commenter rating” wasn’t enough to counter that, but I have Spam Karma set pretty tight–and I do go through the spam before deleting it.

    And all: Yes, some of you got the post before it was sent; I’d never bothered to change my preferences to “UTC-8″ (Pacific Time), but have now done so. It was on UTC-5.

  23. CW Says:

    Google Reader. I also just checked Bloglines and this post has not appeared as yet. (11am West Australian time, 17 February 2007)

  24. Steve Lawson Says:

    One other point that has probably already occured to you, Walt: as the Bloglines problems multiply, the subscriber count becomes less and less accurate or representative.

    For example, I almost never use Bloglines anymore, but that doesn’t mean I went in and un-subscribed to stuff. Also, as fewer people start using Bloglines, the smaller the Bloglines count will be as a percentage of the whole.

  25. David Rothman Says:

    Steve Oberg-

    Even if the Bloglines count is more accurate, it only counts Bloglines subscribers. That makes its count interesting, but not especially useful.

  26. Steve Oberg Says:

    Hi David,

    You’re right; it is only a count of one aggregator’s subscribed users. But at least in my case, this represents the vast majority of my subscribed users. More people who subscribe to feeds from my blog use Bloglines, by far, than any other reader. This makes the Bloglines count more important to my situation than any other count, which is why I looked into the differences between how Feedburner counts subscribers, and how Bloglines itself counts subscribers. For me, it seems that the way Bloglines counts subscribers gives me a better idea of loyal readers. Of course this may change over time.

  27. walt Says:

    Steve, David, Steve: For me, the biggest virtue of Bloglines counts is that they show up for the feeds I subscribe to. If I’m doing some form of comparison, that provides an extremely crude measure of readership–not great, but I think it’s better than the hall-of-mirrors stuff you get from Technorati and the like, where being enshrined on blogrolls of frequent bloggers assures a high rating regardless of actual impact. There are, of course, no reliable measures of total readership for anyone else, although if you use enough software add-ons, you can probably get a good count of your own readership.

    If/when I do more studies, the Bloglines count would be used as a circuit breaker–that is, something like “anything over 5″ as a yes/no bar. Meanwhile…ask a question, get a lot of useful, interesting answers, even if Bloglines subscribers may still not have seen the post!

  28. Iris Says:

    Well, I guess you’ve already got this mostly figured out. I just clicked over to see if there were any new comments to read, not because I got your post (I’m having a leisurely day and was looking forward to reading a lot of blog posts, but nobody seemed to be writing, so I’m comment trolling). Now I find out that maybe people are writing and I’m just not seeing it because Bloglines is acting up. Though I did get TTW posts today, 15 of them all at once… But that’s neither here nor there. I hadn’t seen anything since Tuesday from you, so I guess that strengthens your Bloglines complaint.

  29. walt Says:

    Iris, the TTW blurt is consistent with the changes Blake made. Not clear whether the changes have migrated through to W.a.R. yet, or whether there’s another problem. I’ve been double-tracking with Bloglines and Google Reader (using the Bloglines OPML); so far, it appears that feeds are behaving or misbehaving similarly for both.

    In my case, you might want to unsub and resub–the new first choice (Feedburner) seems to get along with Bloglines.

    Oops: Instant update: It appears that Bloglines is picking up more feeds than Google Reader–but that could be due to the fact that the two readers, properly, only check periodically (once an hour, maybe), and the cycles wouldn’t be identical.

  30. Iris Says:

    I just got your latest post by resubbing to the feedburner feed. Yay.

  31. Simon Chamberlain Says:

    Bloglines, only found this post via a mention on another couple of blogs. Your last post shows as the ‘immigrants want to party’ post.

  32. Steve Lawson Says:

    Just to back up something that Walt seemed to be saying, I just checked my Feedburner feed vs. the native feed from my blog in Bloglines. The Feedburner feed has my post from last night (posted about 9 hrs ago), while the native feed doesn’t.

    Like Walt, I use WordPress, hosted on LISHost.

  33. walt Says:

    Yay indeed…as noted on the new post (yes, regular posting is resuming), I’m suggesting that people (in general) unsubscribe and resub to the first option from the browser icon, which gets the Feedburner feed. (Actually, they all should, but I’m not sure about this). And Bloglines sent me email saying they’ve reset the feed, so we’ll see…people should be seeing the Vista post by, say, 2 p.m. PST Sunday.

  34. Meredith Says:

    OMG, just showed up on Bloglines now 3:00 pm EST. Got three all at once.

    Once Five Weeks is over and I can think again, I’m switching to Google Reader. It’s sad, because I’ve always liked Bloglines.

  35. joshua m. neff Says:

    It is 2:30 pm CST and this post (and the one after it) just showed up in my Bloglines feeds.

  36. Jill Hurst-Wahl Says:

    It’s Sunday afternoon and I was alerted to your post via Bloglines. I don’t always read things “when they appear”, so I don’t know how quickly Bloglines recognized your post.

    BTW I also see your Windows Vista post from today (its 3:51 p.m. EST here).

  37. Jill Hurst-Wahl Says:

    BTW I’m read this feed:

    http://walt.lishost.org/?feed=atom

  38. walt Says:

    Yep; showed up on my Bloglines egofeed within an hour as well. Bloglines did reset the feed. Apparently between that and the changes Blake made, it’s fixed.

    My own feed shows up as the atom feed–and I’m pleasantly surprised at the subscriber count (over 400!). I think Feedburner has something to do with that number, which could be the total number of all regular feeds (which I think I’ve set so they all go through Feedburner, maybe, perhaps).

    Whew. Good to be back on the board!

  39. Mark Says:

    Sunday, Feb 18th 3:42 PM. Showed up in Bloglines sometime in the last 4 hours; meaning I checked earlier this AM.

  40. Jennifer Says:

    Interesting. I’m subscribed via the atom feed in Bloglines – and the lastest it has your blog as being last updated on February 10th. I subscribed via the feed burner feed (in Bloglines) yesterday and all of the more recent posts showed up. It is currently almost 5PM EST, and your Vista post has not showed up in Bloglines or in Google Reader. It seems a little bit more disturbing that the problem isn’t consistent (that the posts have shown up for some in Bloglines, but not all).

  41. Diane Says:

    Late to the party, but here is my two cents: I use Bloglines as my feed reader and did not see any of the Walt at Random feeds before leaving work Friday afternoon (of course I had meetings most of the afternoon, but I do check). I did not check my account over the weekend, but all three of your posts were listed this morning around 8 am.

  42. walt Says:

    I’m closing comments on this post; they’re wonderful but have run their course. Between LISHost and Bloglines, the problem seemed to be fixed…BUT maybe not, as evidenced by Jennifer’s note and, as far as I can tell, the ZoneAlarm post not making it so far into either Bloglines or Google Reader. I guess I’ll keep monitoring this for a while.


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