March 2011: RSS readers seem to be unpopular - perhaps most of us rely on Twitter, Facebook and Gogle News now?
If you don't know what an RSS feed is, see RSS Syndication Feeds and Why Do I Care?
Netnewswire is a Mac OS X only RSS reader. It's a standalone; it shows you the feeds, their contents, and any comments, but launches to your default browser when you actually choose to look at something.
I downloaded the free version, which will run for 30 days. The licensed version is $39.95, and I expect I'll probably buy this. I am looking at others, but so far this has been all that I need or want.
In addition to a small set of pre-subscribed feeds, this comes with a whole pile of other sites you can subscribe too. As so many sites don't advertise their feeds (silly not to, but it's quite common), this is very handy. For example, I like to read Mac OS X Hints but I didn't notice an RSS feed link, and although I wrote asking about it, I got no reply (I probably WILL get a reply eventually - that's apparently a one-man, part-time site). To my surprise, I found them when I opened up the Sites drawer. I also found an awful lot of other sites I didn't even know about. The list of sites is probably worth $39.95 without the software!
The interface is simple, functional and predictable. There were no surprises, I was able to add, delete and move subscriptions around in the obvious ways. You can refresh the feed you are looking at or every darn thing you are subscribed to. In the paid version, there's a Notepad for storing text and links. I'm not sure I see the need for that, but maybe I'm just not thinking about it enough.
This is clean, simple software that does the job and is worth its cost.
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2011-03-06 Tony Lawrence
I've noticed lately that the paranoid fear of computers becoming intelligent and taking over the world has almost entirely disappeared from the common culture. Near as I can tell, this coincides with the release of MS-DOS. (Larry DeLuca)