Monday, January 16, 2012

Google Reader Sort: Mystery Unlocked

There’s something that has been bothering me about Google Reader:  the SORT on my reading pane.  You know that big area on the right hand side that shows all the new posts?  That’s what I’m talking about.  I’ve been spinning my wheels for months trying to understand the puzzle that is this sort.  It’s like the rubik’s cube of RSS, and all I'm doing is moving tiles around.

So here’s my problem with it.  I can’t figure it out, that’s my problem with it!  Isn’t it supposed to show the new posts, by publish date?  Then why does it keep showing the same old ones that I’ve skipped over, time and again???

I tell you, this thing has frustrated me to no end.  To compensate for this problem, I've had to resort to clicking on every blog on my list, every day, to see if anything new has popped up. 

Btw, to all those bloggers out there whose stats are inflated by the same IP Address in California that is landing on your latest post over and over again:  I apologize, that was me.  It’s not that I’m stalking you.  I’m just techno-challenged.

Occasionally, I’ve given Google a try to see if I can hit on that magic solution, but I haven’t had much luck.  Then, this afternoon, it all came together, like some hallucinogenic episode of House.  Up from my subconscious bubbled this tidbit I had read somewhere:  Blog visits can look like visits simply because a subscriber happened to scroll down your post without actually looking at it. 

And then I remembered seeing this on the top of my reader page:

As you view items in your reading list, they will be automatically marked as read as you scroll down (when in the "Expanded" view).  

Somehow, these two seemingly irrelevant pieces of information had been percolating long enough in my brain to result in an idea.  Instead of just scrolling down the window pane, how about it I select the blog first, AND THEN scroll down the pane, pretending to read (but really just scrolling). So I gave it a try.  And you know what happened?  It worked!  With each post I scrolled past, I saw the count for that blog drop, until there was nothing.  And then poof!  That blog fell off my reading pane!  Eureka!!!  I had broken the code!

To be sure I wasn’t seeing things, I tried it again, with another blog.  And again.  And again.  They all came off.  This was some heady stuff.  I was on a roll, and they were all going down.  A few minutes later, I was staring at a pristine, white reading pane.  It felt glorious.

With this huge milestone under my belt, I feel like I can conquer the world.  Next on my list:  world peace.

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