Why Dave Winer’s Mobile Pages Underwhelm Me

I think I’ve decided why I feel that Dave Winer’s reinvention/recent discovery of mobile web browsing don’t matter to me:I don’t read and don’t care about the New York Times or the BBC.

Sure, the “river of news” format is nice. But when you don’t care to read the content, what does it matter? So for people who only want to read the NYT, or the BBC, you can stop reading here, and not worry about anything beyond those sources.

I find it ironic that Dave’s whole “river of news” meme is being applied to these single source web pages. Didn’t Dave invent the aggregator, and RSS, and teach us how we can pick and choose the news sources we want to read, to decide what makes up our own personal “river of news”? Why would I limit myself to only reading one site at a time in my “river”?

“But,” you may be thinking, “what about Scoble, TechCrunch, Om, Steve Rubel, and all the other sites he made available in this format?” They’re already part of my “river of news” because I’m subscribed to them in my aggregator. In fact, they’re in both my desktop river and my mobile river because my aggregator, Bloglines, is web-based, and has an awesome mobile version that works perfectly on a BlackBerry, Windows Mobile device, Sidekick, cell phone, PDA, PSP, or anything else where the full version won’t.

Added bonus: I never have to read the same feed item twice when switching between desktop and mobile rivers, since everything stays in sync on Bloglines. It doesn’t even matter what device I’m using, since it’s all on the web.

Dave says the real beauty of his new little sites is the simplicity – there’s no setup. To say that using something like the Google Mobile Page Translator, or subscribing to feeds in Bloglines is complicated seems a little, I don’t know, condescending. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a markup language where you could keep an outline of the feeds you’re subscribed to, and use it to move your feeds between aggregators? ๐Ÿ˜‰ At any rate, it’s not too complicated for me, and in fact, I find it very simple.

I read what I want, where and when I want it, and I’m not limited to the sites that Dave makes available, thanks to another cool little thing Dave invented called RSS. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, I think this is the last I’m going to say on the topic. Dave’s rude reactions to well-meaning reader suggestions got my hackles raised, but I’m stepping back, taking a deep breath, and wishing Dave well as he discovers new things in the world of mobile devices.

I wonder what’s going to happen when he discovers he can integrate all of his email on his BlackBerry? ๐Ÿ˜‰


3 thoughts on “Why Dave Winer’s Mobile Pages Underwhelm Me

  1. Dave is the father of RSS and I find it funny that he is just now catching on to what us mobile enthusiasts have been doing for a couple years now and acting like it is something new and unique. Bloglines is THE way to go for mobile RSS consumption and I say this after trying many other methods such as Newsgator Mobile, Ilium Software Newsbreak, and more. Bloglines works extremely well on just about any mobile device and like you said Josh it lets you know when new posts are made and keeps you in sync no matter what device or computer you are using.

    I don’t get the point of all the work Dave is doing with these news sites when you can already get awesome mobile formatting with a free, simple to use Bloglines account.

    It is nice to see people finally getting the mobile bug and I do find it funny how someone as brilliant as Dave is actually a bit behind the times here.

  2. This whole thing reminds me of that scene in Dumb & Dumber…

    Lloyd: [sees framed newspaper article about moon landing] No Way!


  3. adi says:

    I’d have to agree with you on using Mobile Bloglines – I don’t see a reason to use a separate aggregator/river feed when I already have a list of reads I check each day. Reading on the go should be a natural extension of the desktop reading experience.

    Mobile Bloglines isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damned good.

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