Related link: http://www.newsfirerss.com
I admit it: I’ve been bitten by the RSS bug. Gone are the countless hours I’d waste browsing around all of my favorite sites throughout the day. Waiting for Slashdot to post some new nerdy news. Hoping for a new CPU article over on Ars Technica. Poring over the latest essay from Paul Graham. I’d spend so much time flipping around in all of my bookmarks, needing an information fix.
Then, I started hearing about RSS. The first time I dabbled with it, it was with Ranchero Software’s NetNewsWire. An excellent little app that helped me automate the retrieval of my sites. A great way to help me divert my attention to other tasks instead of waiting for the latest gizmo to appear on Engadget. Obviously I wasn’t the only one enjoying the app; Brent Simmons brought home the gold in O’Reilly’s first Mac OS X Innovators Contest.
Since then, a lot of other news readers have come onto the scene, including Shrook and PulpFiction. There is a growing number of RSS tickers, such as Stickler. And it seems like they’ll give just about anyone an RSS feed these days.
However, a friend of mine recently pointed out NewsFire and I decided to take a look. While not exactly ground-breaking feature-wise, NewsFire has some delicious eye candy and breathes fresh air into the news reader UI. At first appearing rather minimalist, I found its implementation of article browsing to be fantastic. It’s still a two pane interface, but can present item bodies and item listings in the same pane, depending on the view. Here are some screenshots for the curious:
While still in a very, very early release, NewsFire looks like a promising little app. And it’s definitely a gorgeous UI, much like David Watanabe’s other app, Acquisition. I only have a few little gripes. For example, when viewing an article, there are two buttons in the upper right corner. These buttons allow you to move back and forth between articles, but I wish there were a third button: Next Unread. Sure, there’s a keyboard shortcut, but RSS is a mostly mouse experience for me.
It would also be nice if the number of unread articles was displayed on the Dock icon. Smart groups certainly wouldn’t hurt, but I think I’m nitpicking. It’s too early to judge exactly where this little app is going, but it’s certain it’s going somewhere great.
Given NewsFire a spin? Wish it had some killer feature from your favorite RSS reader?