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NetNewsWire, FeedDemon and NewsGator.

   14 January 2008, mid-afternoon

There are three things I really like about GoogleReader: all your unread entries appear on one page; when you scroll past an entry it is marked as read; your reading history — read vs. unread stories — is always up to date since the application is hosted online. Any feed reading application that doesn’t beat GoogleReader at these three things really isn’t worth using.

NetNewsWire is awesome. First off, it’s fast — oh so fast — and works incredibly well. It has the single page view that GoogleReader has, and it also can be set to mark stuff as read as you scroll past it. I have it set up so that clicking on links opens pages up background; pressing the right arrow will open the news item you are reading in the background as well. This way, when you are done reading your feeds you can switch to your web browser to look over the links you thought were most interesting. NetNewsWire is by far the best newsreader I’ve used. I like it a lot more than GoogleReader. Sadly, all is not well in the world. NetNewsWire’s biggest fault doesn’t lie with the program itself, but with the cruft it is forced to play with: Newsgator’s online service, and FeedDemon.

FeedDemon is a RSS newsreader for Windows. Like NetNewsWire it is owned by NewsGator, and the two programs can be kept in sync using Newsgator’s online service. As far as I can tell, FeedDemon is a pile of junk. It is slow — oh so damn slow. GoogleReader running inside Firefox works much better. Worse still, there seems to be no way to view all your unread feeds on one page — I’d even settle for an easy way to view each unread article one after another. Reading feeds in FeedDemon is a slow cumbersome process.

NewsGator’s online service is also incredibly lacking when compared to GoogleReader. In my opinion it works better then FeedDemon, but that isn’t saying much. You can view all your unread posts on a page, but unlike GoogleReader, it paginates them if there are too many unread items. (NetNewsWire also paginates your news items into multiple pages, but it will automatically switch to the next page when you get to the bottom of the current page.) NewsGator also doesn’t mark stories as read when you scroll past them: you can set it to mark everything as read when the news page loads up — this is how Bloglines used to work — or when you click a ‘mark all as read’ button. The site is slower than GoogleReader to boot.

NetNewsWire is so nice to use I’ve been putting up with FeedDemon and NewsGator for the past few days. I’m not sure how long I can keep this up.



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