I have been test driving Newsgator for about a month now and am so far pretty pleased. One of my favorite things about using it over other aggregators that I have tried is that it runs within an interface that I have open nearly 24/7 anyhow….MS Outlook. Therefore no need for another program to run in the background and eat valuable memory.
One thing that Newsgator allows you to do since it runs within Outlook is organize your feeds in folders. This comes in handy when you have certain feeds that you read daily and others that perhaps you like to check in less frequently. But the real reason I first made the plunge is that you could forward posts like email, which until John Porcaro told me I didn’t realize. Silly me I was missing out on all the fun. Since blogging is such a great information sharing tool, its great to be able to forward enlightening posts to others who may not already subscribe but could benefit from the information.
This evening I was organizing some of my stuff when I realized that I should be using the Search Folders feature in Outlook 2003 to help filter some of my feeds. I use them for regular email but it never dawned on me to use them for news. I set up a few and they work beautifully. In case you are not familiar with using search folders, you may want to read about them here. But if you have ever used the search feature or rules wizard in Outlook you will find these pretty straight-forward and easy to configure.
So for example, say you want to filter your feeds to easily access any information on pandas or bamboo that your favorite authors may create, you can just set up a search folder that constantly displays any unread (or read too if you want) posts that include pandas or bamboo in subject and/or body. A new folder will be displayed in your search folders that displays the filtered content and will update as new items are added. As well, if you feel you really need to catch this info as it becomes available then you can just drag the search folder into your favorite folders list on the top left of your screen (if you have it there) and voila beautifully filtered news content at your fingertips.
Pandas and bamboo aside, I have been able to set up some dandy pre-fined searches for some of my favorite topics: knowledge management, tablet pcs, xbox, whidbey etc…
So if you are using Newsgator with Outlook 2003 and haven’t already done so I would suggest setting up a few of these news search folders. They are quite cool and as always if you have any questions on how to do this, drop me a line.