RSS Woes

As many of you might have seen (or heard), Google Reader recently got “updated” to a new UI and backend. It now talks to Google+ (good) but stripped out almost all the features that the hardcore reader users like myself actually USED – the friends feeds, public sharing options, the Next/Previous Buttons, and the really nice navigation sidebar that would show the read/unread feeds, folders & tags, & etc.

If you’ve been watching the social networks, you may have also seen how the users reacted : badly. And to top it off, both Google and several commentators have basically taken the stance that we should suck it up and deal.

Since the web UI has taken out everything I used and liked (and then dumbed it down to an interface that is barely equivalent to the old mobile view), I started looking at standalone apps that I could use instead.

What I was looking for :
– The ability to use Google Reader as a “sync point” – that is JUST to save read/unread marks and the feed list.
– In not using Google Reader as a sync point, some kind of Sync function
– iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux support

Turns out there is no single RSS reader that does this. What I’ve done is try to find what works best for me on each platform. Here is what I’m using now. All of these sync to Google Reader, so when I switch platforms, my read/unread and subscriptions carry over. Additionally, all of these are FREE (or free with ads and a paid ad-free version).

– iOS : Perfect RSS (free with ads, paid without). May people recommended Reeder, but I like the UI for it better
– Linux : OwlRSS (free). It’s based on Eclipse, and supposedly runs on OSX, Linux, and Windows. On OSX it was dreadful, but on Linux it kicks ASS.
– Windows : OwlRSS again. I’m surprised that this app runs so well on Linux and Windows, and blows on my OSX Lion machine.
– OSX : NetNewsWire (free with ads) which has been the standard on OSX for several years.

There are also some apps that I tried and felt were dreadful in handling RSS :
– Thunderbird
– Mail.app
– Outlook

Seriously guys, RSS support feels bolted onto these apps, and each assumes you read your feeds in that app and ONLY that app. Plus the disk usage and caching used in all of them will KILL performance if you have more than about 10 feeds that update a LOT.

So that’s what I’m doing, and I’m interested in hearing what other people are doing.

I understand the new gMail Look & Feel is not a happy thing either, but I use desktop/phone clients for that these days.[1]

[1] I’d go back to running my own mail server, but gMail does have damn good spam handling…

About Kevin Sonney

Kevin Sonney - who, contrary to popular opinion was NOT raised by wolves - grew up in central North Carolina. He fell into the technology field by accident in 1991, when he gave up the wild and crazy lifestyle of an on-air AM radio DJ to become a mundane technical support monkey. The technology industry has never really recovered from this. Kevin has worked for such names as IBM, Red Hat, webslingerZ, and Lulu Technologies (we won't mention the ones that didn't survive the experience). He currently works as a Linux Administrator for Apptio. In his spare time he rescues stray animals and plays video games with his two sons. His wife, we're sad to say, helps him get past the really hard bits. Kevin is still not very mundane, he just got better at hiding it.
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1 Response to RSS Woes

  1. RageBunny says:

    We are thinking of setting up Tiny Tiny RSS for ourselves, as newsblur is just too . . . all kinds of stuff.

    https://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/322446-weekend-project-replacing-google-reader-with-tiny-tiny-rss

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