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5 Mac OS X RSS Readers Worth Giving a Shot

5 Mac OS X RSS Readers Worth Giving a Shot

News

    There was once a time when my favorite RSS reader cost a fair but not insignificant price and the open source alternative wasn’t up-to-snuff. I won’t name any names, though you can probably deduce their identities by ruffling through some articles I wrote before I switched to a decent web-based solution (not all of us are able to resist the tides of trends and time, y’know).

    There are probably a whole lot of RSS readers for the Mac; I haven’t tried them all and I won’t claim too. In fact, I’ve only tried a few of the most popular. I’m not the kind of person to spend countless days and weeks trying out new applications. I like to find something that works well, lets me get my job done the quickest, and get on with life. In my opinion if you want to be a productive person, that’s a habit you should also develop — too many so-called “personal productivity enthusiasts” spend half their time looking for new software. Unless reviewing the stuff is your job, there’s no sense in spending more than a small amount of your time doing this. That is what articles like this are for.

    NewsFire

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    newsfire

      NewsFire has been around for quite some time. It’s a free download from the NewsFire website. NewsFire sports a very simple two-pane view, with feeds on the left and feed items on the right. That said, it’s attractive and easy to read from. It doesn’t make use of tiny fonts by default like one or two readers I’ve used in the past. Search is fast and will run your query through every feed you’re subscribed to pretty much instantly.

      If you’re a chronic sorter, then you might find NewsFire falls a little short. You can create smart folders, but you can’t use labels or tags to organize certain items or feeds. Its organization features are good enough for most users. Where it falls down for me the most is the lack of synchronization.

      Shrook

      shrook

        Shrook is an interesting application. It’s free, but the look and feel of the application is — to my eyes — very dated. I found the website to be much the same. Evidently Shrook’s founders are function over form types (like all programmers, right?). Looks aside, it has some really interesting features. Instead of setting up smart folders based on keywords, Shrook will use Bayesian statistical filtering to pick out items of interest, and you teach it by picking out examples. It’s a learning RSS reader. It also uses a Distributed Checking mechanism to keep you as up-to-date as possible with new feed items; when one copy of Shrook checks a feed and find new items, it broadcasts the presence of a new unread item to other copies of the application around the world.

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        Shrook features synchronization by way of Shrook.com, a web-based version of the reader that will sync with copies of the app on various computers.

        NetNewsWire

        netnewswire

          Maybe you don’t need to go checking my ancient articles after all. Before I moved to Google Reader, I was a NetNewsWire user. I was happy to pay for the software because it’s great. I can still get through all my feeds in NetNewsWire faster than any other reader, including Google Reader. NetNewsWire is now completely free, so there’s no obstacle to trying it out — just go here. NetNewsWire features a variety of views, a bunch of keyboard controls that don’t require contortionist acts and let you fly right through your feeds, detects microformats allowing you to quickly add data to iCal or Address Book, and has a tabbed browser right inside. All very cool.

          Additionally, NetNewsWire’s owners Newsgator own a web-based reader, a Windows reader and there’s a version of NNW for the iPhone. The web-based reader acts as a synchronization server. If you want synchronization between just about every device you’ve got, try this app.

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          Vienna

          vienna

            Vienna is the only open source reader on this list, and as far as I know the only open source RSS reader for the Mac that’s currently worth looking at.

            These days, Vienna looks a fair bit nicer than when I used it for a good six months a few years back. I haven’t been able to stress-test it though, but in times past it really suffered under a heavy load and got quite slow. Vienna’s got a nice quick filtering bar on launch that enables speedy research and trend monitoring, blogging app integration, and a bunch of helpful but pretty standard features. It has certainly come a long way over time.

            Google Reader

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            greader

              Google Reader is a good web-based feed reader, though not without its quirks (sometimes I’ve seen duplicate items I’ve already read in the All items view, and sometimes things just get stuck and items won’t get marked as read). You can separate your feeds into folders, though creating and maintaining them is tedious. When Google Reader isn’t being a pain, it’s great being able to fly through your feeds with just your scroll wheel — items are marked as read as you scroll past them — but more often than not this doesn’t work out. Sounds like an awfully negative review for the reader I’m actively using right now, eh? I suppose it’s all about convenience.

              But it is good. It does work well and the bugs aren’t serious enough to be worried about. It’s the only reader I’ve used that has a social aspect — you can share items, and if you’ve conversed with someone via Gmail you’ll see their shared items too. It features a Trends screen that lets you peruse your readership statistics, but no smart foldering or statistical sorting as yet. The Trends screen lets me know that my most frequently checked feeds are those pertaining to the forums or blog at the sites I manage and edit, which I’m sure will be happy news for my employers if they’re reading this.

              I’ve been a bit unfair by throwing Google Reader into the mix; it’s not fair on the desktop applications to be compared to a web service and it’s not fair on a web service to be compared to desktop apps. I use Google Reader myself these days, so it gets my vote, but it was a long and hard struggle to give up the comfort of a good desktop app. For that reason I’d have to call a tie between Google Reader and NetNewsWire, which is the best of the list in my opinion — especially now that it’s free.

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              Joel Falconer

              Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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              Last Updated on May 12, 2020

              8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times

              8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times

              Many of us find ourselves in motivational slumps that we have to work to get out of. Sometimes it’s like a continuous cycle where we are motivated for a period of time, fall out and then have to build things back up again.

              There is nothing more powerful for self-motivation than the right attitude. You can’t choose or control your circumstance, but you can choose your attitude towards your circumstances.

              How I see this working is while you’re developing these mental steps, and utilizing them regularly, self-motivation will come naturally when you need it.

              The key, for me, is hitting the final step to Share With Others. It can be somewhat addictive and self-motivating when you help others who are having trouble.

              A good way to have self motivation continuously is to implement something like these 8 steps from Ian McKenzie.[1] I enjoyed Ian’s article but thought it could use some definition when it comes to trying to build a continuous drive of motivation. Here is a new list on how to self motivate:

              1. Start Simple

              Keep motivators around your work area – things that give you that initial spark to get going.

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              These motivators will be the Triggers that remind you to get going.

              2. Keep Good Company

              Make more regular encounters with positive and motivated people. This could be as simple as IM chats with peers or a quick discussion with a friend who likes sharing ideas.

              Positive and motivated people are very different from the negative ones. They will help you grow and see opportunities during tough times.

              Here’re more reasons why you should avoid negative people: 10 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Negative People

              3. Keep Learning

              Read and try to take in everything you can. The more you learn, the more confident you become in starting projects.

              You can train yourself to crave lifelong learning with these tips: How to Develop a Lifelong Learning Habit

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              4. See the Good in Bad

              When encountering obstacles or challenging goals, you want to be in the habit of finding what works to get over them.

              Here are 10 tips to make positive thinking easy.

              5. Stop Thinking

              Just do. If you find motivation for a particular project lacking, try getting started on something else. Something trivial even, then you’ll develop the momentum to begin the more important stuff.

              When you’re thinking and worrying about it too much, you’re just wasting time. These tried worry busting techniques can help you.

              6. Know Yourself

              Keep notes on when your motivation sucks and when you feel like a superstar. There will be a pattern that, once you are aware of, you can work around and develop.

              Read for yourself how the magic of marking down your mood works.

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              7. Track Your Progress

              Keep a tally or a progress bar for ongoing projects. When you see something growing, you will always want to nurture it.

              Take a look at these 4 simple ways to track your progress so you have motivation to achieve your goals.

              8. Help Others

              Share your ideas and help friends get motivated. Seeing others do well will motivate you to do the same. Write about your success and get feedback from readers.

              Helping others actually helps yourself, here’s why.

              What I would hope happens here is you will gradually develop certain skills that become motivational habits.

              Once you get to the stage where you are regularly helping others keep motivated – be it with a blog or talking with peers – you’ll find the cycle continuing where each facet of staying motivated is refined and developed.

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              Too Many Steps?

              If you could only take one step? Just do it!

              Once you get started on something, you’ll almost always just get into it and keep going. There will be times when you have to do things you really don’t want to: that’s where the other steps and tips from other writers come in handy.

              However, the most important thing, that I think is worth repeating, is to just get started.

              Get that momentum going and then when you need to, take Ian’s Step 7 and Take A Break. No one wants to work all the time!

              More Tips for Boosting Motivation

              Featured photo credit: Japheth Mast via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Ian McKenzie: 8 mental steps to self-motivation

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