Wanted: RSS Reader that „fits me”

Dear reader, boys, girls
I need your help.

I am looking for a RSS Reader. OK, not just any reader but one that fits my style of work with RSS feeds. Let me explain.

RSS feeds are an important part of my work. I basically live in my RSS Reader. So far, that has been BlogBridge. You can use it via keyboard, it handles images in an OK way, has no issues with the display of Umlauts, works off-line, has multi-platform support (Win, Mac, Linux) and supports synchronisation so you can use several PCs to read your feeds and keep the „read”-marks in sync.

But there are also issues. It is a memory hog. Based on Java and faced with my 300+ feeds it uses 148 MB of my machines memory. It fetches images „on the fly” as you enter a feed and not in the background. And does not buffer those images. The screen-flicker as the images are loaded should be fixed in the BlogBridge 5.7 - Weekly Release. And I also have a problem with Digg-Feeds. Digg is not accepting RSS request, if the client-string contains „Java”. As this is the case with BlogBridge, I can not read Digg-Feeds with it.

The biggest problem I am having with BlogBridge right now is, that it is „free” but with some artificially imposed limits. I am limited to 300 feeds and two synchronisations per day. I could accept the 300 feeds limit, but not with the sync-limit, which was announced in March 2007 in the blog, but not displayed in a splash-screen if you did an update.

Two syncs per day seem crippled to the point of worthlessness. You sync first thing in the morning at work, read on-and-off throughout the day, and sync before leaving. Then when you get home you have to sync first thing, do some reading and sync again before going to work on the next day. That means you really need 4 syncs/day to get any realistic use out of it.

Therefore, as I am not willing to pay USD 100 per year to get unlimited feeds and syncs, I looked for an alternative and found none so far. That is the point, where you, my dear reader, come into the play.

These are my requirements (in descending order):
  1. Thick Client, no Browser-based solutions
  2. Unlimited number of feeds
  3. Correct Umlaut-handling (UTF-8, 8859-1, 8859-15, …)
  4. Off-line capability (including images)
  5. Capability to „Read by Group/Feed” as well as a „River of News” view
  6. Free (as in beer as well as in freedom)
  7. Completely keyboard operable
  8. Multi-Machine capable with unlimited number of syncs
  9. Multi-platform
  10. Browser-Access

I tried out Google Reader, but as it has it’s issues with Umlauts and the offline-capability in early Beta (Google Gears) this is not an option. Bloglines/GreatNews sounded promising, but Bloglines’ webinterface is – for me – more than awkward to use and the synchronisation is still flaky and definately not for the faint at heart. RSSOwl is a nice reader but misses the synchronisation feature, FeedDaemon is expensive and Windows-only and Sage is nowhere near the stability I am looking for (I do not want read-marks that get lost, etc.).

As a Notes-Addict, I naturally checked out the offering in the Notes-space, as off-line-capability, web-interface and synchonisation would be inherent in such a solution. But I was disappointed. Manfred Dillmanns madicon RSS Reader sounded promising, but the attached price tag is too steep for me right now. This is also true for the PAVONE NewsReader. Steve Castledine’s ProjectDX Feed Reader does not offer the display-experience I would expect (HTML, Images, …) and Lance Spellmans/OpenNTFs Studio Blog Reader can’t display Umlauts properly.

Those funky little „feed reader” for the Vista Sidebar (which in my case is disabled anyway), Yahoo Widget, Firefox Live Bookmarks and similar gimmicks are no use to me. I need a fully fledged Feed Reader and not some „i will scroll by the title of the story in a funky way that will annoy you within the hour” gadget.

So, if you have any suggested in regards of a RSS Reader, that could cope with me and my requirements, please drop me an e-mail or post a comment. Your help will be appreciated.

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[Dienstag, 20070710, 14:13 | permanent link | 2 Kommentar(e)

Hi Martin,

Pito Salas of BlogBridge here. I couldn't help noticing your post and had some stuff to report that might be of interest on a few of your BlogBridge points.

Yes, Java is a bit of a memory hog, I can't deny that. It's the price we decided to pay to be able to run on Mac, Windows and Linux.

But we do read images in background and actually do a huge amount of work around caching and threading. Also there is cleverness about not polling feeds that are hidden and other stuff like that.

The jumpyness of images was actually caused by background processing of images and the consequent re-layout caused by that. But with Weekly 5.8 that problem is now fixed due to Aleksey's cleverness. This was done because users like you requested it.

We also no longer say "Java" in the client string just to deal with odd cases like Digg rejecting RSS requests with Java in the header. This was done because user's like you requested it.

I am sorry that you feel $5 per 3 months is too much to charge for the service. We think it's very reasonable given our costs simply for the server but also for the software. Believe me it doesn't make us profitable just a little less lossy.

Still there are totally free things out there by behemoths like Google - there's no denying that. Of course we can't compete with Google on price. We try to compete on innovation and focus on our niche which is the power user (our official line is "a feed reader for people who have to follow literally hundreds of feeds as part of their job.)

I hope you reconsider and stick with us!

Hello! A short notice: The PAVONE NewsReader is available as freeware for personal use in a Lotus Notes client, without any limitations.

Rolf Kremer 2007-07-20 23:25

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„Leyrers Online Pamphlet“ ist die persönliche Website von mir, Martin Leyrer. Die hier veröffentlichten Beiträge spiegeln meine Ideen, Interessen, meinen Humor und fallweise auch mein Leben wider.
The postings on this site are my own and do not represent the positions, strategies or opinions of any former, current or future employer of mine.

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