Some of you may have another reason to consider setting up Bloglines to organize your list of the websites that you read daily: it’s immediately useful on a mobile device with an Internet browser. (Here’s my short introduction to blogs and Bloglines.)
More and more people are paying expensive monthly fees to Verizon and Sprint for unlimited data plans so their cell phone/PDAs can check for e-mail regularly. Windows Mobile devices, for example, can sync online with an office running Small Business Server and make it easy to read and respond to the mail in your Outlook folders.
But there’s almost no web page that displays anything useful on a 2 1/2 inch screen. There are some web sites with pages optimized for mobile devices but not many; there are some services intended to reformat pages for mobile devices on the fly but they’re quirky and unsatisfying.
Apple’s iPhone is a big step forward – it shrinks a full page so it visually resembles the original, and the iPhone finger spread/pinch thing zooms in and out. It looks great, as you can see in the picture on the right, but it’s less useful than it looks. Most of that text just isn’t readable – even some of the smaller headlines – so there’s a lot of zooming and flicking around to get to interesting content.
When you browse to Bloglines on a mobile device, you’re automatically connected to Bloglines Mobile, displaying a simplified view of your subscribed blogs. A click on each one shows all the unread posts on that page in the RSS format – which by definition has a simple consistent interface focused on text and simple image layouts.
I barely used the Internet browser on my Motorola Q until this turned up; now it’s an invaluable way to pass a few minutes reading comfortably.