Aggie vs. FeedDemon

I’ve been talking up the benefits for RSS aggregation, but it’s been a while since I reconsidered my choice of aggregator. I use an old horse called Aggie. It looks like it was thrown together by a grad student, but it’s been working very well for me despite its plain appearance. Last week, someone at work was singing the praises of Nick Bradbury’s FeedDemon. It costs $30, as compared to Aggie (free) and another highly rated aggregator, SharpReader (also free). I’ve been trying FeedDemon for the past couple of days, and it is a nice piece of work. Slick-looking, and fast, it only has one problem. It’s built like a newsreader, and I hate newsreaders. Specifically, I dislike having to mark things in great big lists as having been read or not. I only want to see what’s new since the last time I ran the program. FeedDemon lets me do that, but I’m constantly having to select lots of entries and mark them as read. FeedDemon is a well-executed design built on the wrong model. Aggie is three-cylinder amateurish-looking design that is built on exactly the right user model. I haven’t seen anybody else using Aggie’s build-a-single-HTML-page approach, and I don’t know if Aggie has any staying power. I hope they do… or that someone else picks up their model. In the meantime, I’ll save myself $30.

An absurdity of animal plurals

Here’s yet another list of animal congregations, as in the query What Do You Call a Group Of…..? What I want to know is, who makes this stuff up? I mean, really, was there ever a time when people found it useful and pertinent to refer to an ostentation of peacocks? I don’t believe it.

Some people love lists like this. They will inhale sharply if you purpose to say “a bunch” of kangaroos rather than the more appropriate “mob” of same. These people will correct your grammar and then pointedly observe that they completed their taxes before Valentine’s Day this year. Last year too, in fact. Haven’t you? Of course you have.

People like this constitute a smarm of smarty-pants. Or perhaps a tedium of busy-bodies.

My theory is that some clown in the 18th century penned the phrase “exaltation of larks” and once the door was propped open, every frustrated writer with an axe to grind rushed in and tacked up his own absurd plurality. The more ridiculous the better! No one will question you! Here are some more supposedly genuine pluralities. A parliament of owls. A clowder of cats. A singular of pigs. Make up one yourself and swear that you saw it in Spenser’s Faerie Queen: A coagulation of kittens. An effluvium of eels. A lot of used car salesmen.

By the way, the list refers to an unkindness of ravens. I believe proper term is a murder of ravens. Sniff sniff.