Trying out T3h Blox0r - part two

 by Martin Belam, 18 May 2006

I've been testing online RSS aggregators, to see if any of the services out there are able to tempt me away from Bloglines. Yesterday I started looking at T3h Blox0r, and have so far found it a bit short of my requirements - notably it doesn't extract data from the RSS, but displays the original site in a small frame, regardless of whether it can shrink to less than 500px wide or not.

One thing that I found strange was that on two of the window panes, T3h Blox0r overrides the normal content of the right-click context menu in Firefox. Whilst again it goes someway to simulating a desktop application within the browser environment, I found it an unwelcome change in how I've chosen to set up my browser. I have several Firefox extensions that I use when reviewing sites, and not having access to those via the right-click was annoying. The behaviour wasn't consistent across the whole window either - as if I moused over the external content screen I got my regular Firefox options.

T3h Blox0r imposes its own right-click menu on Firefox

Another thing I've been looking at in all of the readers is how well they cope with subscribing to a Flickr photostream. T3h Blox0r's approach of loading the original page from the feed URL as part of a frameset really didn't work very well at all for this - you couldn't see the whole of the picture, and effectively had a completely logged-in instance of Flickr sitting within the Blox0r framework.

T3h Blox0r and Flickr

The insistence on visiting the original content also meant that sites didn't always work properly. Although T3h Blox0r was able to display the individual item titles it extracted from the Media Guardian's site - it wasn't able to display the content because I wasn't logged in. Again, surely part of the point of reading via RSS is to avoid having to deal with the nuisance of logging in to read a content site.

T3h Blox0r and Media Guardian

The next feature I wanted to look at on T3h Blox0r was the tagging feature, announced with a red icon on the taskbar. Selecting it gets you a pop-up alert:

Just kidding. Coming soon. be afraid!!1!
Blox0r's tag function is literally a joke at the moment

T3h Blox0r's tag functionality is literally a joke at the moment. That was kind of the end of the road for me.

I just couldn't take T3h Blox0r seriously as a candidate to replace Bloglines. Of all the readers I've tested it comes closest to acting like an independent application within a browser environment, but the inability to save preferences, use tags or labels, or see feed content as a stream-of-text without loading the original site make it a non-starter.

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