Sunday, 9 December 2012

RSS Feeding Frenzy

I’m looking for an RSS feed reader that will just generate a list of all the different feeds’ articles’ headers and, when clicking on a header, will show the contents in a separate pane in the program.

I’ve found a lot of RSS readers (both browser-based and as standalone Windows programs), but they all seem to show some lines of the articles’ text in the list, which isn’t what I want (I know I may be asking for much :).

Last but not least, if I could also synchronise the information (articles read vs not read) across PCs and perhaps even with my Android tablet or phone thrown into the mix, I’d have it all.
So you’re actually looking for an 'RSS feed aggregator' as they call it. I’ve done some snooping around and have two solutions for you.

As you already use Android, I take it you have a Google account that you have setup on your devices. If I’m wrong, and you object to having a Google account (mind you, you could set one up just for usage on your Android devices, but that’s your choice), I don’t have a solution that includes the Android environments, but do have one that allows you to have the same data used on different PCs.

Solution 1: the easiest way, requiring a Google account.

  1. Setup Google Reader via http://google.com/reader
  2. In Google Reader, subscribe to the feeds you want
  3. On your Windows PCs, install RSSowl from http://www.rssowl.org/ (RSSowl is freeware, in case you were wondering :)
  4. Setup your RSSowl installations to synchronise with your Google Reader; notice that you may want to create a folder in RSSowl (in the program) and drag your feeds to that folder, to have them all in one list. RSSowl provides a plethora of display formats; have a look at the help or just play around with it.
  5. On your Android devices, install gReader from the Google Play Store (a.k.a. Market)
  6. Setup your gReader installations to synchronise with your Google Reader
  7. Presto – you’re done!
Solution 2: the slightly less easy way, not requiring a Google account, but with synchronisation for multiple Windows PCs.

  1. 1. If you don’t already have it, install Dropbox (it is free!) from http://www.dropbox.com and setup an account; install it on all PCs on which you want the same view on your RSS feeds
  2. Install RSSowl from http://www.rssowl.org/ to a folder within your local Dropbox folder (RSSowl is freeware, in case you were wondering :)
  3. Within the RSSowl folder, create a folder called ‘MyData’
  4. In the ‘configuration’ folder within the RSSowl folder, edit file ‘config.ini’; change the ‘osgi.instance.area.default’ line to ‘osgi.instance.area.default=MyData’ (without the quotes)
  5. Setup your RSSowl configuration: add the feeds you would like to follow; you may want to create a folder in RSSowl (in the program) and drag your feeds to that folder, to have them all in one list. RSSowl provides a plethora of display formats; have a look at the help or just play around with it.
  6. On PCs other than the one on which you are performing these steps, install and setup Dropbox, give it some time to synchronise its contents, and then create a shortcut (on your Desktop or wherever you like) to the ‘RSSOwl.exe’ program
  7. Presto – you’re done!

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