Chad Everett’s Bloglines Toolkit for Mozilla makes me want to have a sex change operation so I can have its babies. I thought I was happy with Bloglines before, with my bookmarklet to try to either subscribe to the current page, or extract autodiscovery links from it, and my Windows system tray notifier program, until I saw this lovely, wonderful Mozilla and Firefox extension. It moves the notifier up into the lower right corner of your browser, where you are no longer dependent on having the taskbar visible (and, although having it in every window, even popups, is a bit buggy, it’s also nice sometimes to pop up a Movable Type “rebuilding” window and have it tell you that you have unread items waiting in Bloglines), but where it really shines is in the context menu items it adds.
Right-click on a page, and it offers to let you subscribe to that page (or, autodiscover links in it, whichever) or find references to the page. Right-click a link, and it adds two more options, to subscribe to the link, or find references to the link. So, rather than waiting through autodiscovery when you are on someone’s blog, you can just choose the link to the feed you want and subscribe directly to that. Given the low odds that we’ll ever have a MIME type for RSS to do subscribing right, that’s about as close as you’ll get: just a perfectly normal ordinary link to the feed, and a right-click will open up the Bloglines subscription dialog. The “Find references to this…” options are incredibly nice, too. Read an interesting post, and wonder who else wrote about it? Right-click, open up a list of everyone that Bloglines knows about. Read a post linking to something interesting, and want to know who else wrote about it? Right-click the link, you’ve got a list. Technorati, are you listening? I want you closer than clear up on the toolbar.
while my crapflood throttle was busy throwing away comments, Chad was trying to tell me that I missed noticing that you can also use it to search Bloglines for selected text in the page. I was a little skeptical about how well it would work out, having tried in vain in several places to come up with keywords that will get me more of what I want to read, but sitting on someone’s page with the word “syndication” I tried that. Things I know about, things that are syndication, not about it, and hey!, the “semi-professional weblog” from Eric Lunt, the developer of the very interesting FeedBurner. Just to complete the circle, one of the first posts to catch my eye is talking about how FeedBurner is a publisher-facing proxy service, and Bloglines is a consumer-facing proxy service, and there ought to be a chance for something interesting to happen between them.