On the dismissal of Google Reader

On one hand I’m tremendously shocked that Google would end a service that people relied on so much, and the other they do have the right to terminate anything that they are giving out for free.

The “Don’t be evil” argument is not even remotely related this so people who bring this up time and again are just whiners, or worse.

Google Reader has been in my Chrome most visited website for years and I would faithfully just click on it when I’m bored to see the list of content providers whose RSS I have subscribed to.

It does make me have lesser faith on Google services though. When would they call an end to life for Gmail perhaps? Will I continue to use free web services? Yes, only to get scalded once more.

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start

Want to know the story behind Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start? It’s sometimes referred to as Konami code and is implemented in many games, even those not from Konami.

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A

First executed on an NES game (not Contra!) developed by Konami in 1986, the Konami code (and slight variances of it) can now be inputted in more than 125 different computer, video, and arcade games—some of which aren’t even developed by Konami, the company that created the code in the first place!

Because Contra was one of the more popular NES titles in the day and basically required the Konami code for the average player to complete (the code granted 30 lives from the start, instead of three), most people associate the code’s existence with it. In reality though, the Konami code first appeared in Gradius in 1986, two years before Contra.

In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty on PS2, entering the sequence at the end of the game has the main character, Snake, barking, “STOP FOOLIN’ AROUND KID!” At the end of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater for PS2, Snake confirms “One More to Go…” referring to the fourth and final installment in the series on PS3.

There are a number more of hilarious consequences for using the code, like it causing your main character to self destruct in Contra 4 if you use the code more than once per level to power-up your guns or in the Dog-developed NES title 3-D World Runner, a message pops up that exclaims, “I AM NOT KONAMI.” The code can even be used in Google Reader of all things, enabling a different background color for the left-hand navigation and updating all unread counts to 30 (a homage, no doubt, to Contra’s 30 lives). You know the code has reached pop culture when Google starts using it. (Source: Game Informer)

There you have it, this is what happen in Google Reader, you get a ninja and your unread count becomes 30. Refreshing will return your unread count to the original value. Pretty cool I say.

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Google Reader

(Press Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A in Google Reader and get Ninja!)

The code is even in a song by The Moldy Peaches – Anyone Else But You (of Juno fame).

How I use Google Reader

Google Reader is a blessing, it works on all major browsers and is really useful for users who have multiple computers. If you mark a post as read, your post is marked read on any other computer you log in from. And that’s the main reason why I use Google Reader.

But Google Reader is always a struggle between productivity at work and, well, you know, just slacking. When I am at it, I just read and read and can spend hours on just a bloody RSS reader which is really sad in a way. It’s almost as if God created me to read RSS feeds and mark them as my favorites so it would appear pretty on FriendFeed or something.

Here’s how I combat my productivity problem:

google-reader-groups

I previous sort my feeds in tags like technology, blogs, social, funny and blah blah… First thing I did is to remove all the RSS feeds that I typically just skim through. So bye bye Boing Boing and Engadget. I figured one day that any really amazing gadget would end up at Reddit.com (which by the way is my whole new playground to waste time at) or Digg.com (my ex).

Today I sort my Google Reader categories in what I think I most like to read at the top, i.e. essentials. Light reads are things that aren’t heavy and are still quite informative. Nosy reads are my friend’s blogs. I syndicate far too many of them and after a while, I noticed my friends are blogging more and more of their private stuff and it almost seem like I am spying on my neighbor applying her face mask.

Thinkers are feeds that makes you think. They’re heavy reads and I put them at the bottom to save myself from potentially balding before thirty. Xtras are a bunch of feeds that I really shouldn’t start reading.

Tagging feeds by frequency of reading sort of helped me read RSS feeds better. Maybe you could try it too.