Seen at Sci-Fi Hi-Fi in a post called
The “Four Things” Meme:
Now that I’m finally spending a quiet night at home, and working hard to get through the 500 odd unread items I have in NetNewsWire (to say nothing of my unanswered email!)..
500 unread items? Lightweight. I’ve got 140,000 unread items, and a total of 279,000-odd articles in this newsreader. (OK, I haven’t actually read all of those 139,000 “read” ones.) That’s what happens when you start using your newsreader as a resource rather than a snapshot; that is, as a bucket rather than a toe dipped in the water.
However there is a penalty to doing this. Specifically, it takes a loooong time for my machine to wake up from sleep if NetNewsWire is running (which it generally is). As in, more than half a minute while everything gets put into its place. (I can demonstrate that it’s NNW, by quitting it; then everything gets quite snappy.)
I’d imagine that Brent Simmons didn’t reallly imagine that anyone was going to use their newsreader in this way; I’ve presently got 527 feeds (not including “smart” lists where you look for particular combinations of words or phrases to keep on top of topics; I’ve discovered that smart lists slow up processing quite a lot, because nothing else can be downloaded while those run). And I’ve set it to keep articles for 900 days. Yes, that’s right, three years. I’m only surprised that I’ve only got 279,000 articles, as I’ve been running this since… oh, I’ll have to write a script to find out the age of the oldest article. Wait there…
..hmm, it’s from August 2003, which to me says that either someone has a huge feed or they’ve got their dates wrong. What? The name of the feed? Oh, I’ll have to alter the script. Wait there and I’ll start it off…
Anyway, while that’s running.. I’m starting to think there are penalties in doing this which go beyond the benefits of doing this. But what’s an appropriate time to keep articles for before you – oh, it’s Robert Paterson’s Radio Weblog (long since dead); happy now? – let articles lapse? I often find it interesting to see how a story developed, by creating a smart list on a topic and sorting it by date. That way you find out who are the really reliable sources, who’s just a me-too, and how the ebb and especially flow of knowledge goes.
Still, if Brent has a new version of NNW in the wings that can handle huge number of articles more easily, that would be great. I have to say that one thing which would probably make a lot of sense would be if the oldest headline was “1” in the list. Presently – at least in Applescript – the oldest headline is No.howevermanyheadlinesyouhave. Does that have to be revised every time a new lot of feed details come in? I really hope not.