Nobody loves a Mac value more than me. Nobody pushes RSS as a valuable tool than Mac360 (except maybe for those selling an RSS news reader utility).
Some of us like Safari (it’s simple and free), some like NetNewsWire or NewsFire. Some of us like free. The best RSS utility is free. It’s Friday, so it’s gotta be free. Alex knows her place in life.
In case you’ve been living on another planet, RSS is a nifty tool that brings news to your Mac, so you don’t have to click and browse to get it.
RSS, arguably, stands for “really simple syndication” and it means web sites, such as Mac360, provide a little feed of updated headlines and a summary for everyone online.
Your Mac, via Safari or another RSS reader, checks Mac360 regularly for updates, and downloads the headline and summary so you don’t have to click to the home page and scan for what’s new.
In other words, our news comes to you. There’s no more efficient way to grab more news in less time than RSS. Over the years we’ve preached RSS and reviewed a number of superb Mac utilities that “just work.”
For example, Jeffrey spent a whole week changing his online news reading habits and came up with a good review of the popular and once expensive and now free NetNewsWire, a worthy RSS reader. He called it the best news tool ever.
Jack and Carol highlighted the benefits of RSS and various feeds, especially as regards Safari. For RSS, it’s hard to beat free, and that’s what you get with Safari’s RSS reader.
A few years ago our anti-diminutive literary leader extolled the virtues of virtuous news reading with a quick look at the Mac’s more popular RSS news readers at the time. Bambi loves RSS.
Over four years ago, Mac360’s founder and original techno-babe, Tera Jean Patricks, pushed the benefits of using an RSS reader long before the great unwashed masses on Macs could spell it or knew what it meant.
Today, RSS news reader utilities are everywhere, and do everything. Mostly.
The one thing most don’t do well is do nearly everything and do it for free. NetNewsWire does. Vienna does.
As the reigning Mac360 Value Vixen™, it’s my sworn duty to uphold value, truth, free utilities, and the Appian Way (they make pastries), wherever possible, and whenever called upon.
Vienna is an RSS news reader utility in a different class. That means it does more than Safari does for RSS but at the same price (did I mention that Vienna is free?).
Vienna is open source yet provides a feature set comparable to the commercial RSS readers. Seriously.
First on the list is ease of use, simplicity, lack of clutter. Vienna uses the now familiar left column, middle column, sometimes right column design. You feeds are on the left, you read on the right.
Support is present for RSS 2.0 and Atom news feeds, the two most popular. All you need to do is drop in the RSS link, and Vienna takes care of the rest of the deciphering and formatting.
Second is support for smart folders and folder groups. That’s become the defacto way to organize information on the Mac and Vienna delivers an intuitive interface.
The problem with switching to something new is the learning curve and entering data. Again. And again. Vienna imports OMPL format data from most other RSS readers so making a switch is mostly painless.
What I like about certain Mac applications that meet my Value Vixen™ Seal of Approval is the attention to detail. You’d expect it in a commercial utility, perhaps less so in an open source tool. Vienna just doesn’t disappoint.
Articles can be filtered. There are multiple pane layouts, so you can move links below, articles to the right, whatever works. I’ve gotten into the hang of flagging articles for future reference and popping them into the “Marked Articles” smart folder.
See what I mean? Plenty of features, stability, dependability, familiar interface, easy-to-import function, and priced right. As in free. As in beer.
Vienna is pretty slick, advances RSS beyond the basics in Safari, yet competes with some of the more popular commercial RSS readers. How does it compare to the reigning king of RSS, NetNewsWire? Both are free, both do the job, NetNewsWire has the beginning of feature bloat. Vienna does not.
What’s your favorite RSS utility? Why? How do you use it? How many RSS feeds do you subscribe to and how much time does RSS save you daily?