Oh, dear neighbors, the terrible tangled webs you weave when you ask me for customer support for your new Mac. Welcome to another adventure of Kayhill Labs, the house at the end of the cul-de-sac where the neighbors come to for Mac support.
This is the story of RSS and Google Reader and the little Mac apps that want to make your web browsing life better. Yes, we love RSS at Mac360. No, we don’t have much love for Google, but their services are usually priced right.
The Choice Between Good And Evil
It’s the 21st century and RSS remains the best way for a Mac user to scan the headlines of hundreds of sites, click to view a summary, and click to view the details in all their glorious pixels.
If you’re using RSS to check on your list of web sites, then you have my blessing and support.
Google Reader is that place in cyberspace which stores all your RSS feeds so you can scan and read anytime you’re in front of a web browser.
If RSS is so cool even in Tony Bennett years, and Google Reader is so uncool in Joan River years, then what’s a die hard Mac user to do when perusing the galaxy of RSS feeds for fun and profit?
Two words: RSS readers.
Just visit the Mac App Store and search for google readers and look at your choices. From free to WTF? you’ll find a Mac app to sync up with your free Google Reader account and give you yet another reason to avoid using a web browser to peruse RSS feeds.
Reeder: By far my favorite with a price tag. Reeder is clean, neat, easy on the eyes, syncs quickly, and even works with Readability.com. Think of Reeder as the magazine that keeps itself filled up with new articles.
Cappuccino: For aficionados of free, Cappuccino is a fair choice, but suffers from icon-is-better-than-experience syndrome.
MobileRSS: Not so free is MobileRSS, which is a Google Reader that has iPhone and iPad brethren so the reader experience is somewhat similar across iDevices.
Notice the difference with Reeder. MobileRSS has a more graphic interface which also requires more physical interaction to find the feeds you want.
Caffeinated: Following in the footsteps of Reeder and Cappuccino is Caffeinated, which does the typical RSS routine: Subscriptions on the left, headline and summary in the middle column, all the gory details in the right side of the app.
FeedBoard: Dirt cheap and just as ugly is FeedBoard. With an interface inspired by Microsoft DOS circa 1986, FeedBoard’s dubious distinction is the ability to zoom into and from each RSS item. Zoom away!
MiniReader: A few bucks will get you MiniReader for Google Reader. The claim to fame here is the Menubar’s pop down menu of your RSS feeds from Google. They’re thinking different, that’s for sure (as in, not many features, but a handier interface).
Tab for Google Reader does something similar. It’s in the Menubar. Click to read the feeds.
RSS Ticker is a standalone Mac app for Google Reader. The article viewer is built-in, but usability suffers in comparison to the more expensive readers.
If I had to pick, and I get to because it’s my show today, and I tend to follow the stars (Reeder gets more stars), I’d go with Reeder.
In fact, Reeder is a delight to use. Clean and elegant even (if anything that actually touches Google can remain clean). There’s also an iPad and iPhone version you’ll like, especially if you have more money to spend.