Avantgo Blithering

For those who don’t know, AvantGo provides a nifty service for PDA’s. Basically, you tell Avantgo “I want to be able to read this web page on my PDA”, and AG will make a note of it. Everytime you sync, the most recent version of the aforementioned page is downloaded and saved to your PDA.
The nice part of this service is the flexibility: you can select from tons of channels on Avantgo’s page, or you can pretty much save any page that catches your fancy. MapQuest even lets you save map directions as AvantGo-friendly pages, a feature which I use all the time.
There are, of course, a few problems. One is the selection available on the AG channels. Since it costs money to become an ‘official’ channel, it’s mostly companies doing advertising. short-stories.co.uk (which you can subscribe to on AvantGo by clicking here) is okay, but if you need a Blogging fix, there’s only one guy on the official list — the layout is nice, the writing is good, but his posts are infrequent. (I’m not linking to him. If you’re interested, search the AG channels for the word “journal” and he’ll be your only hit. Seriously.)
The other problem: sites I like to read abound, but quite a few of them aren’t what you’d call Palm-friendly. Lots of things comprise a site that isn’t palm-friendly, but let me summarize it: this site is NOT palm friendly. (Left-side link bars locked into position in a table, forced-width format… it’s not pretty, people.)
But you can find some sites that really work well on a Palm (objective criteria) and are a good read (subjective judgement call). Here’s a couple:

Blather would normally be the worst possible site to try to read on my Palm (with two left-side linkbars that I’d have to scroll through to get to the text) but Blather on your PDA is pretty keen. (autolink here)
JillMatrix.com (autolink here) — it’s nice to have something sort of newsie on my PDA and I like reading Nancy’s stuff anyway. I used to suffer through the left-side linkbar, but since she’s changed her layout it’s been easy-as-pie.
Lileks’ Bleat (autolink here) — It’s Lileks, it’s portable. What’s not to love? Saved without pictures, it’s clean and easy to read.
Mecawilson (autolink here) — I put it on my PDA so I don’t forget to read it. Sans pictures, it’s easy to read on a PDA.
Mighty Girl (autolink here) — I save this one with pictures, because there’s something fun about being greeted by Maggie’s smiling mug when you open this page up. The pix is exactly the right size for the screen. Mightygirl holds the distinction of being a stranger’s site that I can regularly read aloud to my wife while we’re driving to amuse her.
Poagao’s Journal (autolink here) — Best thing about having this on my PDA is that I can be stuck in a line somewhere and be reading about stuff going on in Taiwan. Very surreal and “calgon take me away”.
Finally, in a shameless plug, I’ll point out Falling Down (autolink here) — which is basically the same words as this page without pesky left-side linkbars that you have to scroll down through to get to the entries. No graphics, no major CSS. It’s basically my “super-clean” version of this page.
Don’t get me wrong: there’s lots of other sites I love to read, but while looking for stuff I can enjoy and read from my Palm (and that update frequently enough to make it worthwhile keep on my Palm), these are the sites that work for me. YMMV.
Dave and Seki have provided PDA-friendly versions of their page and Rooba, like TC, looks great on PDA’s just the way he is.

10 Replies to “Avantgo Blithering”

  1. I didn’t even mean to be PDA-friendly; it just happened because the site is so simple, a direct result of my limited html skills. But I’m glad it is, if that makes it more accessible.

  2. I should have said that about Rooba’s page to begin with, in the post. That’s been rectified.
    As for blogrolling, anyone can do it, if you’re inclined to screw around with a linkbar. Rooba doesn’t do that in the first place, so it’s not like he’s missing out.
    The caveman doth protest too much, methinks :)

  3. This is true… I don’t have a link bar…
    I was just feeling a touch of toy envy. It’s like when you’re the only kid in school still wearing last years sneakers. They work perfectly fine, but you still want the new ones.

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