I follow a large number of technical blogs (emacs-fu, research!rsc, Abstract Heresies, …) and aggregators (Planet Scheme, Planet Lisp, Hacker News, …) that I read everyday and in some cases several times a day. Most of the blogs are not updated daily so an RSS reader is essential for keeping track of new entries. For years, I’ve just used Safari for this and that worked well but I have three devices (an iMac, a MacBook Pro, and an iPad) that I use regularly.
There are two problems with that:
- Keeping in sync
This is especially a problem with the aggregators. If I read some stories on, say, my MacBook and then move to the iMac, I’d like to have those stories that I’ve read on my laptop be marked as such on my iMac. Safari almost does this but it’s not quite accurate enough. Sometimes the two lists will be considerably out of sync.
- Safari’s RSS on the iPad
It’s terrible. You can’t sort the same ways that you can on the Macs and it does not appear to sync with the other non-iOS devices.
Recently Reeder, an excellent iOS RSS reader became available for the Mac as well. It’s a Google Reader client so the synchronization happens automatically and seamlessly. Almost all the reviews of Reeder on the App Store rated it excellent with only a few dissatisfied users. It seemed like a good solution for both problems, so I downloaded the iPad and Mac versions and moved all my subscriptions over to Google Reader.
I’ve been using Reeder for a couple days now and I’m quite pleased with it. There are keyboard shortcuts that make stepping through the posts very easy and it makes excellent use of the gesture capabilities of my Magic Trackpad. My only complaints so far are that there’s no way to export to Evernote and I’d like to be able to bookmark some of the entries in Safari. There are a lot of complaints about not being able to export to Evernote so I expect that that feature will be added soon. I don’t know if anyone else wishes they could bookmark stories so that may never be added. There’s a fairly easy workaround to both of those problems: you can press 【B】 and open the story in your browser so that you can export it to Evernote or bookmark it from there. That’s a little clumsy but only a little.
All-in-all I’m happy I changed to using Reeder. It’s making my browsing much more enjoyable, especially on the iPad. The only downside that I can see is that I’ve surrendered my reading list to Google. Of course, they already know pretty much everything I do on the Web so there wasn’t a lot to surrender.
Update: Dr. Elliot Jaffe says I shouldn’t worry about Google.
Update 2: IOS → iOS