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Goodbye Google Reader! (Or the Best RSS Reader Alternatives)

Goodbye Google Reader! (Or the Best RSS Reader Alternatives)

With the recent redesign of the infamous and geek-loved Google Reader comes a bunch of geek-hate. The internet is steaming right now with the change to Google Reader where Google has made the obvious next step in their social movement to say, “do everything now with Google Plus”. Google has changed the way that Google Reader allows you to share articles and in the process has ruffled some nerd feathers.

It’s not necessarily the way that Google Reader handles RSS feeds that is the problem, it’s the new UI that has people up-in-arms. So, rather than stay salty and use something that you don’t like to look at to read your content during the day, try these Google Reader alternatives instead.

    NetNewsWire (Mac, iOS)

    NetNewsWire, recently acquired by Black Pixel, has been a long standing OS X RSS reader and now can use your feed from Google Reader to sync with the iOS (Universal App). The newest iteration of NetNewsWire for Mac has full Lion support which includes full screen mode.

    The interface is clean and if you don’t want to sync with Google Reader you don’t have to; NetNewWire can be a standalone app.

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      Reeder (Mac, iOS)

      This is my staple RSS reader for my iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Made by Silvio Rizzi, Reeder links to your Google Reader account and provides one of the simplest and approachable interfaces for an RSS reader (or any app for that matter) I’ve ever encountered.

      Reeder also allows you to quickly send stories to Instapaper, Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, Email, etc. It’s really great.

      FeedDemon (Windows)

      FeedDemon is a free Windows based RSS reader that syncs with your Google Reader account. Not only does FeedDemon read RSS feeds, but you can subscribe to podcasts, tag items for later reference, and setup “watches” to find news related to a set of keywords.

      The UI is simple, effective, and fast.

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      BlogLines (Web)

      BlogLines has been around for a while now and even though it is more of a dashboard type of site, you can definitely follow popular feeds. I like how BlogLines recommends some feeds off the top but also allows you to add a custom RSS feed if you want.

      There are also Twitter and Facebook widgets so you can have your social network fix mixed in with your news. The site is mature and is free.

        Snarfer (Windows)

        Snarfer is a simple, lightweight Windows reader that’s also free. Snarfer allows users to search their RSS feeds, subscribe easily, and organize their content effectively.

        If you want a dead-simple RSS reader for Windows that doesn’t need to be synced with Google Reader, Snarfer is your best bet.

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          Feedly (Web, iOS, Android)

          Feedly is one of my favorite web-based readers because it is so visually stunning. I really love good UI design and if you do too, you should definitely take a look at Feedly. Feedly is a free web app that also has Android and iOS apps that sync up with your Feedly account.

          Feedly offers a nice way to search different websites and topics and has some great recommendations for starting off with content. This isn’t the most stripped down reader, or one that will give you the most control, but it is beautiful and well-implemented.

          Pulse (Web, iOS, Android)

          Pulse is a little different from the rest of the readers that we looked at so far. It is definitely more of a mobile based application, encouraging you to “start” stories on your devices or using their bookmarklet on the web. After you have selected some content you can view it at your Pulse.me profile on the web.

          There is no “RSS reader” function on the web site, more of just an “Instapaper-ish” type of setup. However, on the mobile apps you can subscribe to different and feeds.

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            Flipboard (iPad)

            If you haven’t heard of Flipboard yet, then you must not listen to Scoble. Which is surprising because it’s hard to get away from that guy. Anyways, Flipboard has been dubbed by many a geek as the best way to look at content from the web. Flipboard allows the user to subscribe to content as well as their social networks and presents it in a “magazine” type of style. Users can flip through pages and tap stories to read through to them.

            It’s a great experience using Flipboard and if you have an iPad without this app I highly suggest you give it a try. It totally changes the way that you think about web content presentation.

            So, if you are fed-up with Google changing everything that you have gotten use to and the recent change to Google Reader has just put you over the edge, definitely check out these Google Reader alternatives. Is there any other RSS readers you use? If so, you know where to recommend them!

             

            More by this author

            CM Smith

            A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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            Last Updated on October 16, 2019

            11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

            11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

            Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

            Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

            Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

            In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

            1. ScheduleOnce

              ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

              ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

              ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

              Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

              Available on Web

              2. Calendly

                Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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                Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                3. Assistant.to

                  For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                  From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                  While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                  Available on Web

                  4. Acuityscheduling

                    Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                    It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    5. Pick

                      Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                      At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                      Available on Web

                      6. X.ai

                        For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                        This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                        Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                        Available on Web

                        7. YouCanBook.me

                          is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                          They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                          Available on Web

                          8. Doodle

                            Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                            It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                            You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                            While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                            Available on Web | iOS | Android

                            9. WhenAvailable

                              WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                              Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                              Available on Web

                              10. Rally

                                Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                Available on Web

                                11. NeedtoMeet

                                  Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                  NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                  While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                  Available on Web

                                  Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                  In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                  To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                  Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                  A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                  Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                  If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                  Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                  With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                  The Bottom Line

                                  Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                  Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                  Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                  Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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