Most Mac owners use many of the same apps on a daily basis. Safari. Mail. Contacts. Calendar. iPhoto. iTunes. iMovie. More of us use the iWork suite– Pages, Numbers, Keynote– because they’re now free with every Mac.
Beyond the basics Mac users become more diverse and we use specific apps based on taste and need or job or school requirements. That brings me to an app, or rather, a type of app that every Mac user should have and use every day. Who among us does not spend a little too much time browsing through websites?
There’s a better way.
Actually, there are many better ways, all summed up in three letters. RSS. Alright, that’s just two letters, but one is duplicated. RSS has been around for many years and is the most efficient way to gather and sort through headlines, summary, and website webpages in the shortest amount of time.
Through the years I’ve tried a dozen or more RSS readers and most of them, despite a wide disparity in features, do one basic thing. RSS readers let you subscribe to a website’s RSS feed so you can see headlines, a summary of an article, or the entire article– without opening Safari, clicking on a bookmark.
The website articles come to you.
This week I’m trying out an updated version of an RSS reader that I like. It’s called Reeder and it’s almost devoid of a learning curve. List websites in the left column. Click on a site and the headlines and summary appear in the middle column. Click on one and the entire article appears in the main window.
This is the way browsing websites should be done.
Reeder’s left Sidebar displays the websites you’re subscribed to and lists how many unread articles are available from each site. Click on a subscription and you’re presented with the headline and summary in the middle column. Click on one that you find interesting and the whole webpage displays in the right main column.
That’s it. There’s no faster, easier way to scan through dozens of websites in a short period of time. Subscriptions are like bookmarks except that Reeder (as well as other RSS apps) check the website subscriptions automatically and download the headline and summary for you to view.
Reeder isn’t the most feature laden RSS reader, but it’s elegant and comfortable. Adding a subscription is just a click.
Wait a minute. Website reading habits have changed since the iPhone and especially since the iPad arrived on the scene. There’s a Reeder app for iOS– iPhone and iPad and it works much the same way. Only better.
Reeder 2 for iOS has multiple themes, and a long list of sharing services starting with Safari Reading List, but also includes Instapaper and Pocket, as well as Evernote, Pinboard, Twitter, Facebook and many more. Sync, though, is handled through Feedly, Readability, Feedbin and others, and I miss the landscape mode (the developer says its coming).
The Mac version, as of today, remains in beta but is downloadable and worth a try.