Feedless in Tacoma

Arrrrgh! NewsGator.com has been down since last night. Now that I’ve switched my NetNewsWire subscriptions to sync with my NewsGator account I can’t get feed updates until the site comes back and resumes feed services. My MacBook Pro and my Treo are both feed-less at the moment because of it. Grrrr. Perhaps it’s time to examine other feed readers for times like this.

UPDATE: NewsGator is back to normal and working well. CTO Greg Reinacker had this to say.

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RSS/Treo nirvana? Answer: getting there

So, in the wake of the NetNewsWire/NewsGator news today, I signed up for a 14-day trial of their paid service so I could test their mobile web service. Imported my subscription list in OPML format from NetNewsWire, activated the mobile service in the NewsGator preferences, and was reading news on the Treo in mere minutes.

How is it? Better than the competition. I’ve tried the Bloglines mobile edition as well as QuickNews, and I can say that NewsGator Mobile beats them both but it’s not yet sliced bread. It’s simpler and easier to use than Bloglines, and QuickNews is too difficult to use one-handed on the Treo. The sync architecture will be a godsend once NetNewsWire gets integrated into the NewsGator ecosystem. A couple notes for the NewsGator Mobile developers:

  • I should have the option to “Mark all as read” when I view entries for a given feed or folder of feeds. Scrolling to the bottom to click the link is ok, but I’d like the option of having this done automatically.
  • The display of folder hierarchies is pretty cumbersome.
  • How are feeds sorted? I can’t seem to tell. I like my manual ordering in NetNewsWire – will that be available?

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Just a few questions…

Reading the NewsGator/NetNewsWire Q&A left me with a few questions:

  1. When can I get my hands on a NewsGator-enhanced version of NetNewsWire? I really want my subscriptions to sync between my PowerBooks, Mac desktop, and my Treo. Brent, can you make it so, and when? When man, when?!
  2. Whither MarsEdit?
  3. How much is the NewsGator Enterprise Server? That sounds like something my company could get into.

And thanks for the 2-year NewsGator sub. If the PowerBook-desktop-Treo RSS ecosystem works out, I’ll be a long-time subscriber.

Oh yeah, and thanks to Sheila for including the parenting section in NNW’s sites drawer. It was pretty cool for Julie and I to see our suggestion implemented so quickly!

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Rumors true – congratulations to Brent & Sheila!

It looks like the rumors are trueNetNewsWire has been bought by NewsGator. Normally I’d be wringing my hands, worried about what would happen to my beloved NetNewsWire, but not this time. The NewsGator gang appears to have treated Nick Bradbury pretty well so I suppose they can be trusted with NNW.

This is great news for Brent and Sheila, who have worked very hard over the years to grow Ranchero into one of the best Mac software businesses I’ve ever seen. Two very nice people who certainly earned this reward. Congratulations!

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Users and developers partying together

I came home from Gnomedex Friday night not feeling good at all. The day’s presentations had been great but I really felt like I had little to offer since I’m not a developer and am really just a consumer of the technologies on the day’s agenda. I drove home in a bit of a foul mood – even debating if I should come back for Saturday’s presentations or just listen to the live stream.

But I went, and man am I glad I did. The message the was driven home to me was that users like me are extremely valuable to the process. The room was repeatedly referred to as not just a group on the “bleeding edge” or the ultimate early adopters, but as the lunatic fringe. 300 people willing to try out raw new technologies and create markets, new products, and new ideas from them. This is the group of people who turned blogging into a word that many Americans have heard, convinced Apple to implement RSS in Safari and podcast support in the upcoming iTunes 4.9, and who convinced Microsoft to support RSS in Longhorn. The room was packed with bloggers, podcasters, video bloggers, and developers of web sites like Technorati, PubSub, and Bloglines, as well as developers of critical RSS applications like NetNewsWire, FeedDemon, and RSSBandit. Not to mention inventors of the underlying technology (thanks, Dave). But none of that would have been possible if users hadn’t picked it up, kicked it around a bit, given feedback to the developers, and helped make it all useful.

So, Adam has been correct all along, it is all about users and developers partying together. That’s what makes technology work, and what makes it relevant in the real world.