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Give me my feeds

Since starting this whole blogging thing I’ve grown more and more addicted to RSS feeds. For those of those of you not familiar try this link.

The whole idea of getting a email like link of your most visited sites or blog’s is great, so much easier than going through your favorites and checking each one. The problem I’m finding is keeping those lists updated or inline with each other, better yet just use one list; one list to rule all lists.

Here is my problem, I use two Macs at home or for personal use, I’ve got the PowerMac set up in my office area which is the main powerhorse but I also use the iBook for those times when I fancy a change of scenery or if Lucy get’s fed up with me being upstairs all the time. So straight away I’ve got two Mac’s that will need syncing together. Next up I use Windows at work, until Sage port over their Line50 application I’m stuck. Finally I have my PocketPC pda which is my little travel companion.

I started using NetNewsWire to solve the Mac problem. This allows you to sync multiple Mac’s with your subscriptions list either via a ftp server or a dotMac is you are lucky (rich) enough to have one.
NetNewsWire happens to be the most popular RSS reader for OSX (if you believe the news from Ranchero) and I have to admit it is a very handy application. You can manage various subscription feeds and it integrates podcasts into iTunes for a seamless workflow. Very neat.
So I have imported my OPML list of feeds into my G5, set up NetNewsWire to sync via dotMac and off it went. I now boot up the iBook, follow the same steps but make sure I set it to download a copy from the server and sync away. Once this was complete I’ve now set each machine to keep an updated version on the server so that when ever I sync I get the same feeds and read items on the correct machine. My feed nirvana is getting close.

NetNewsWire is no longer just a Ranchero software package, it was bought out by Newsgator, the massive online feed providers. I have had a Newsgator account; just the free one, for a while and yes it is handy but it was leading me away from the one list idea. I had to keep updating the feeds and adding one feed twice to ensure I covered everything. However this does not solve the whole ‘I’ve read that!’ problem, where I would check a feed on the Mac at home, go into work and find that I was sifting through another feed to find the stuff I had not read.
But in a article at Newsgator I found out that the next version of NetNewsWire will have the ability to sync via Newsgator as well as the dotMac and ftp servers. hmmmm…. could this be the saviour.
This morning I downloaded the beta version of the new application, after a quick backup of the plist and the application data folder I ran the program to see what’s what.

The sync options are now hidden in the file menu and you now have the option to sync via Newsgator, looking good so far.
To test this before leaving the house I quickly read through the most popular feeds and then added a new feed. The initial response is very good, the syncing now goes on in the background so no more waiting to sync before the program shuts down.

When I got into work I logged into Windows and fired up Newsgator Web Edition, sure enough those items were read and the new feed was in the list.
When at work I can live with Newsgator’s web edition as I should really be concentrating on something else I’m sure. However my only downfall now is the PDA, what decent RSS readers are there out there?

I’ve tried Egress, which at the time seemed to be the best one available but I soon found my battery was not lasting longer than 24 hours, it turns out that Egresss was deciding that it should check for new articles all the way through the night. This meant that the poor old iPaq was never getting any shut eye. After a few restores later I opted to un-install and work on a new idea, Minimo.
Minimo is the Firefox of the PDA world, which like Firefox supports 'live’ bookmarks. Whilst I have got this installed on the machine I very rarely use as it is such a slow program. This is not so much the application more it was designed for Windows Mobile5 and with my iPaq being PocketPC2003 it does not have the danglies to manage it.
Then I’ve found out that Newsgator also own a program called Smartread; is there anything they have not bought out? I have tried this and whilst it is a direct syncing program with Newsgator it does not have the feel of a seperate reader, just a browser plugin that does really look or work that well. So really the only thing going for it is the Newgator syncing, not really enough to justify it’s existance on my PDA.

What I’m looking for to complete my syncing woes is a nice PocketPC program that will sync Newsgator feeds and read items. The new version of Netnewswire is holding up really well and I’m looking forward to a final release.