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Getting my sister to forget the Google Desktop newsticker

My sister was so fond of the RSS feature that came with Google Desktop’s sidebar that she kept it permanently visible at the right side of her screen. (What a news junkie!) Now that I got her stuck with Linux, she misses her precious Google Desktop and I’m trying to figure out an alternative for her.

For those who want to truly stay on top, just pointing Firefox to Google Reader occasionally isn’t good enough. (I know: I’m slow. I like it that way.) I had heard of various Firefox add-ons to aggregate your RSS feeds in the sidebar, but the sis had thought of this already and didn’t like to have something permanently filling up space at the left. Ok, I can understand. I thought there must probably be some Firefox add-on to move the whole damn sidebar to the right and of course there is; it’s called RightBar.

Screenshot of the RightBar Firefox Addon

Screenshot of the RightBar Firefox Addon

The extension is so simple that you could achieve the same by adding a few lines to the userChrome.css file in the chrome subdirectory of your Firefox profile directory:

/* Change the sidebar's position */
#browser {
-moz-box-direction: reverse;
}

(If the file doesn’t exist yet, create it from a copy of userChrome-example.css.)

What’s left now is to choose which feed aggregator extension for Mozilla Firefox to use. So far, I’ve only tried Sage (based on a five-star rating and familiarity with the name). It seems to work quite well, although, really, I still prefer just visiting Google Reader every once in a while. I mean: I’m a man, I don’t multi-task, I can hardly single-task.

I’m going to forward these suggestions to my sister, probably just to see them ignored for one crucial oversight: the sidebar doesn’t look very different. One of the things she liked about the Google Desktop, she told me, is that it looked very different from the rest of the stuff on her screen, causing a minimum of distraction. Probably I’ll end up recommending some kind of gDesktlet. (Or is there something better-looking these days?)


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