The return to RSS. (Kind of...)
As many of you know, Mountain Lion (Apple’s new operating system for the Mac) removed all features for reading RSS feeds. For those of you that aren’t familiar, RSS is a way to syndicate your news and other content automatically to your computer without having to check websites manually.
Normally, I wouldn’t care because I abandoned RSS a long time ago in favor of Twitter, but recently I found myself feverishly checking a few particular websites quite often. While I wasn’t monitoring thousands of great websites anymore outside of Twitter, a few still stayed on my radar. Hence, my need for RSS was reintroduced.
Luckily, there have been a few new developments in the RSS atmosphere since the Mac and iOS App Stores have taken off. One App that caught my eye was Reeder (for Mac and iOS) [UPDATE: 2013/08/19 … “Reeder for Mac” is discontinued currently, try ReadKit instead!], although I was skeptical to invest in a paid App blindly without first being able to try it. After a few Google searches, though, I discovered that Reeder did indeed have the feature that I wanted: a red number badge count appearing in the dock when a new story is detected! I decided to investigate further, and ended up purchasing the iOS and Mac versions for both at home and on-the-go reading, synced!
I will say that the one disappointing thing about Reeder is the lack of current iPad support at this time of writing. The iPhone version of Reeder does run on the iPad, but everything is quite tiny as the GUI is different. Zooming the GUI to read fullscreen looks terrible. For a reader App, this is a huge oversight.
However, the great thing about Reeder is that it uses Google Reader as its backend. This backend allows everything to stay in sync between all of your devices and computers! I can shuffle through a handful of stories on my iPhone, and then not have to clear the same stories out or mark “as read” on my Mac or iPad later on. This is a huge timesaver when on-the-go or when catching up at home after being out all day!
Before, I would check my favorite social news websites for the latest stories every 15-20 minutes casually. Now, I refrain and remain much more focused on my work. The number badge alerts me only when a new post is actually made! It’s no longer a guessing game. While this technology is not new, being able to split the mass into Twitter blurbs and the pulp directly into my “News Inbox” is great.
When I had made the transition away from RSS before, I was suffering from feed overload. Feed overload is the condition of having so many followed sources simultaneously posting at different intervals that it becomes literally impossible to keep up with the majority of them! … Imagine thousands of articles per day, some being reposts of others, and all of varying levels of quality and relevance, all appearing within the same stream…. Twitter has alleviated this for me with its focus on only the important bits of information within its limit of 140 characters per post. For the few sites I prefer not to miss a single story on, RSS via Reeder is a simple and beautiful solution.
All in all, after leaving RSS behind and migrating the majority of my sources to Twitter, putting a handful of my most frequented sites back into a desktop/mobile client has worked well for me. I’m pretty happy with it! Check it out.