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Software

Google Gears vs Virgin Trains

I have, on average, about 1,500 new feed items to read through every single day -- so I truly appreciate any kind of tool that helps me absorb all the information

I've got to admit, I love Google Gears. For those of you not aware of what this tool is, it's a Web app from Google that allows you to read all your RSS feeds offline, when you're without Net connectivity. I'm currently sat on a typical overcrowded Virgin train back to London from Manchester, and in this humble, sweaty gangway I'm cruising through all 148 of my Web site RSS subscriptions.

One of the main reasons this is so great for me is that I have, on average, about 1,500 new feed items to read through every single day. This keeps me plugged into the tech world's many, many sockets -- but I truly appreciate any kind of tool that helps me absorb all the information, without losing my slender grip on offline reality.

Thanks to Google Gears, I'm able to ignore the smell of stale urine in the train toilet behind me, remain distracted from the lack of blood in my legs, and concentrate on the things that matter most to me.

What I'd really like to see included in any future version of Gears is a page-caching function. Storing the most recent 2,000 feed items is very nice, but a lot of the time they're just summaries. Why not cache the Web page each item refers to as well? Yeah, that's not likely, but even if only the HTML and format was cached it'd be a manageable amount of data to download before you head offline for a weekend.

Oh, and Virgin, I challenge you to ride your own delayed train for four hours in a cramped gangway. If you feel less than utterly stressed, I will officially crown you 'super-human'.