Categories
Applications

You don’t need Facebook News to keep up with news

Facebook News (or, rather, a Facebook News tab), is rolling out in the USA, and there are valid concerns about this already, for various reasons.

Whether you’re in the USA, or not, you don’t need (and may not want to rely on) Facebook News to keep up with the news. Instead, there is a tried, tested, and widely available alternative that you can configure to suit your preferences right now: feed readers.

Advantages to using a feed reader

Feed readers have been around for decades, and use RSS or XML feeds that most news sites (and virtually all blogs) publish to syndicate their content. They aren’t exactly the Hot New ThingTM these days, but they’re still going strong. They also have a few advantages over options like Facebook News:

  • You have a wealth of choice when it comes to selecting your feed reader;
  • You can choose which sources to follow, and you’ll receive all the updates from all of your sources, pretty much as they publish them without relying on an algorithm to share the updates in your feed;
  • If you don’t like using your current feed reader, you can usually export your feeds, and move to a new feed reader.

Feed reader vs feed aggregator

When it comes to choosing a feed reader, you’ll want to make two decisions: which feed aggregator you want to use, and which feed reader you wan to use to read your feeds. Some feed readers are standalone feed aggregators, and you can use them to subscribe to your feeds on your local device.

Most feed reader apps (like the ones I mention below) will do this.

The real magic is when you have a feed aggregator that syncs between your feed reader apps. They’ll all enable you to subscribe to your preferred feeds. All you’ll want to decide is which one to use. There are a couple services to consider:

  • Feedly – I consider Feedly to be the spiritual successor to Google Reader. It’s a web-based service that has both Feedly apps for iOS and Android, and you can also use a variety of 3rd party feed readers to subscribe to your Feedly feeds;
  • Feedbin – Feedbin is similar to Feedly in that it’s a feed aggregator, and integrates with a variety of 3rd party apps on multiple platforms; and
  • Inoreader – This is another popular service that has mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

Feed reader and service recommendations

Here are a few great feed reader options to consider:

  • NetNewsWire – This mainstay from a decade or so ago is back, and is being actively developed as an open source feed reader for macOS. It’s contributors are adding more and more integrations and functionality at a rapid pace;
  • Reeder – Reeder is a paid macOS app that I’ve been using for years. It’s packed with functionality, including a decent Pocket reader;
  • FeedReader – If you’re a Linux user, this nicely designed app is a good option to consider. It seems to have borrowed it’s design from a macOS app I like, Reeder, and integrates with services like Feedly to give you a desktop option for your Feedly feeds;
  • WordPress.com Reader – If you’re a WordPress.com user, you can also use the included Reader as a feed reader;
  • Nuzzel – If you prefer to receive your news updates on Twitter (Twitter is pretty well suited for this), then Nuzzel offers a great way to collate news updates, especially when you use it in conjunction with curated Twitter lists that you populate with your preferred news sources; and
  • Thunderbird – You may remember Thunderbird as Mozilla’s email app. It’s still being developed, and includes a feed reader too. Thunderbird is free, cross-platform, and open source, so it’s a great option too.

When it comes to keeping up to date with news, and the sites you’re interested in, feed readers remain a terrific way to do it. There are many options available when it comes to both aggregators, and feed readers. Make your own choices, and subscribe to the content that matters most to you.

Featured image by Roman Kraft
Categories
Applications Blogs and blogging

A feed reader that lets me comment and like?

I use Feedly to subscribe to sites that I follow. I was just reading through some of the feeds, and I realised that I don’t seem to have a way to give feedback on posts, from Feedly.

For example, if I read something that I like, I’d like to, well, “Like” the post, or leave a comment from my feed reader.

The only feed reader that has this capability is the WordPress.com Reader, and that’s pretty much focused on WordPress sites.

Do other feed readers do this too? 🤔

Categories
Useful stuff

Reeder 2 released for Mac

I noticed that Reeder 2 for Mac has been released and is available from the Mac App Store:

I bought ReadKit recently to use as my desktop feed reader after Reeder 1 for Mac pretty much languished and was withdrawn from the Mac App Store after Google Reader shut down a while ago. I installed the Reeder 2 beta when the first beta was released and wasn’t exactly overwhelmed (it was an early beta after all and not feature complete). I updated my beta version to the current beta 7 (which is presumably pretty close to the release version) and I like it.

Here is ReadKit on my Mac:

ReadKit on my Mac

And here is Reeder 2 beta 7 with the same basic folders (both apps are syncing with Feedly):

Reeder 2 beta 7 on my Mac

One little thing I like about Reeder 2 is its MarsEdit integration. I haven’t used MarsEdit for a while. I tend to write my posts in Byword and publish from there to my sites, converting my native Markdown to HTML. MarsEdit integration in Reeder gives me the option of creating a post directly from an item I am reading which can be handy.

Silvio Rizzi tends to be pretty erratic with updates and I started to wonder if I had wasted my money on his apps after he was pretty slow to update his apps following Google Reader’s demise. The iOS versions are pretty good and I am back to using them in place of the Feedly apps on my iPad and iPhone. He pushed out a 2.2 update for the iOS apps the other day too which was welcome mostly because I was wondering whether he was paying much attention to the iOS app.

I suppose I am spoiled by larger development teams which push out regular updates and respond faster to feedback. That said, Reeder 2 is a beautiful app and I think I am going to switch back to Reeder for my desktop use too. If you used Reeder 1, it is worth checking the update out and if you don’t have a good feed reader for your desktop and have been looking for one, try this one. Alternatively, ReadKit is a great all-in-one option too.