Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Now that summer is over, I guess I should start taking this blog a little more seriously. After all, blogging is serious business (if Gates says it, it must be true, even if that story is from over two years ago). My how things have changed.

To start things off, I thought I'd write about something dear to my heart: RSS readers. One of my readers suggested I give the open source reader Vienna a try. I usually pride myself on keeping tabs on the Mac open source community, but somehow, this nifty little app slipped under my radar.

I started my RSS journey with Safari and was soon hooked. And while Safari's RSS capabilities are limited, I was quite happy with them--until I gave NetNewsWire a real workout, that is. NNW changed the way I used the Internet; many feel it's the gold standard by which all other RSS apps--Mac or PC--are judged. And with good reason. It's a really excellent, full-featured RSS reader. What makes it so powerful is that along with regular feeds and podcasts, you can also subscribe to tags, scripts, search engines queries and the like.

Now Vienna doesn't have NNW's full feature set, but if, like me, you don't really use most of that fancy stuff, then you might want to consider Vienna. It does pretty much everything that NNW's free cousin, NNW Lite, does, and it does it with style. You can arrange your feeds into groups, you can modify how articles appear and you can create smart groups. However, like NNW Lite, Vienna doesn't do podcasts or syncing, nor does it allow you to subscribe to tags or search engines.

The latest stable release of Vienna is 2.0.4, but this version doesn't allow for manual sorting of feeds; instead, it sorts feeds alphabetically by default. For me, this was a potential a deal breaker; happily, though, the latest preview version, which as of this posting is 2.1, does offer manual sorting, and thus far, it has been quite stable.

The nice thing about Vienna is that because it's open source, it will only get better. Personally, the only main feature it lacks is syncing, and frankly, I can live without it. Give it a try. I think you'll like it too, and you'll be supporting the open source community.

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