Monday, July 25, 2005

Blue Ferret Software Review - GreatNews RSS Reader

It's time for another software review! I write reviews whenever three conditions are met:

  1. The program does exactly what I want it to/performs its intended function (and often little else, I like to specialize)

  2. The program is free.

  3. I am now using the program regularly

Today, The Blue Ferret Squeaks! is reviewing the GreatNews RSS Reader.

What is RSS? I've heard several definitions, but I'll stick with Really Simple Syndication. It's a method of "feeding" information direct to a reader program, where the user goes through the information and checks the sites that have what he/she wants to see. These readers can be web-based, or a separate application. I prefer separate applications, because if the browser crashes, it's possible to mess up the RSS feeds. Separate apps also take fewer resources (if done right), and I'm a maximum-resource nut.

GreatNews is a separate application - tiny and fast (it takes up less memory than an mp3 player does while running!). It's freeware, and it's now my default RSS reader. So it qualifies in my book for being top-notch software.

There are a TON of RSS readers out there, both web-based and separate. The most popular ones - Awasu, Abilon, FeedReader - all have the same basic features. These are all good applications, and I've used each at one time or another. But GreatNews does a few things that I really wanted RSS readers to do (and had trouble finding):

  1. It lets me set it so the articles I want to read pop up in my default browser (FireFox). This was the clincher for me.

  2. It lets me customize its look & feel.

  3. Adding a new feed is easy. When you click on "Add Channel" (feed addresses are called channels), GreatNews peeks at your clipboard first to see if there's a feed address in there. If you hit Copy on a feed link, then switch to GreatNews, it already knows what you want.

  4. I can make my own categories, change how many feeds I want to see at once, and play with many other easily-customizable options.

As always, your mileage may vary. But personally, for a copywriter who needs to be informed quickly, RSS is an extremely useful tool. And GreatNews was a dose of great news for me.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home