Information overload; rethinking my RSS feeds

Like most information junkies, I’ve regularly added feeds to my Google Reader simply because the author may have had one, or two, interesting posts that managed to catch my eye. Adding a couple every month, while not removing any, has led to total information overload. At last count, I had nearly 300 feeds plugged into my Google Reader. Most of those feeds aren’t very active, but the volume of information that arrived throughout the day eventually got to be so much that I had to take the decision to assess the real value of each feed. As a result, I’ve begun to pare down my feeds by using certain rules. One rule that has worked effectively for me is consolidating to one ‘master’ feed on certain topics. A good example is the gadget space. Engadget is the undisputed king. While the other gadget sites do cover the space slightly differently, I couldn’t see the reason to be plugged into Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and the others in this area. On an average day Engadget floods my reader with posts about most everything I would want to know about. On good days Peter, Ryan and Co. give us the best coverage of events on the web. That’s good enough for my gadget fix. So, I’ve dropped the other gadget sites, and reduced my gadget load substantially. I have kept extraneous gadget sites like Gear Diary and The Gadgeteer because they cover the space from a totally different perspective.

Another rule that I’ve adopted is that, although I’m a quick subscriber to a blog, I will quickly unsubscribe if the topics venture way off base. The exception to this rule are those blogs that are truly personal. Many of those personal blogs are the most fascinating ones in the blogosphere. And, since my own blog tends to meander a bit, I figured I should allow other personal bloggers the same latitude that I give myself.

I’ve also dropped almost all of my Getting Things Done (GTD) based subscriptions. Reading about the latest quasi-GTD tool, or some oddball hacked version of GTD has gotten to be really boring. Now true lifehack sites, like Merlin Mann‘s 43Folders and Lifehack are keepers. There is always a nugget of wisdom or two on these feeds.

Is Nokia reading this weblog?

Engadget (who else?) has unearthed some hazy pictures of a possible Nokia N800 successor with a sliding keyboard.  As I wrote back in February:

Nokia may have built a better device if they had incorporated a slide down keyboard. Given the ?bump? on the backside that accommodates the camera and stylus, adding incremental depth to the unit by adding a slide down keyboard would have made it much more useful.Nokia may have built a better device if they had incorporated a slide down keyboard. Given the ?bump? on the backside that accommodates the camera and stylus, adding incremental depth to the unit by adding a slide down keyboard would have made it much more useful.

I know that I’m not the only one who has seen this deficiency in the N800, so it’s encouraging to see that Nokia may be listening (and reading) to user feedback on this device.  The only troubling point on the leaked pictures is that it looks pretty ugly.

Not a lot of killer buzz coming out of CES yet

I know, the show has just started, but I have yet to see any ‘killer’ gadget emerge from CES 2007. Engadget, as usual, is all over CES, but a lot of other bloggers are swarming Las Vegas too. Gottabemobile.com reports on the OQO 02, the nicely updated ultra compact computer by OQO. It looks impressive, given that it has built-in WAN (Sprint EV-DO) capability, and a bunch of other refinements. It is, however, still very expensive at $2,000 a pop. Closer to $1,000 and I’d really be interested.

Also on the portable front, SlingMedia is revving up a release of its software for Slingbox access via the Palm 700p. JkontheRun contributor Kevin Tofel has the low-down here. The Slingbox is a great little device that allows you to place shift your television viewing. By place shifting, I mean you can watch whatever the Slingbox is hooked up to from a location that is physically distant from the location of the Sling. With the addition of a Palm client, I’ll be able to watch television from our DirecTV connection anywhere the Palm can pull down an EV-DO connection. Nice.

Michael Gartnberg of Jupiter Research explains CES 2007 nicely in his post:

The big theme at CES is integration and not convergence

This year, it’s all about how to integrate the diversity of devices that consumers are using into a whole that allows for the information and content they want to flow seamlessly from device to device.

One of these days I’ll find the time to make it to a CES. Until then, I’ll just rely on the great blogging that’s going on in Sin-City!