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ReadKit 2.3 Launches with Streamlined Sharing and a Snazzy New Icon

ReadKit 2.3 Launches with Streamlined Sharing and a Snazzy New Icon

ReadKit [1] has become my favourite desktop app for reading my RSS feeds, and reading and managing articles I save for later reading and/or sharing. ReadKit sports a clean, intuitive user experience, and supports a wide range of feed, read-later and sharing services, including Feed Wrangler, Fever, Feedbin, Feedly, NewsBlur, Pocket, Instapaper, Readability, Pinboard and Delicious.

I first started using ReadKit as a clean desktop app for both Instapaper and Fever. In the case of the latter, it was an interim solution until the long-awaited Reeder for OSX update which promises to support Fever and more.

Today the Webin team have released version 2.3, and along with a snappy new icon, it now supports a feature that I’ve long wanted – a one click ability to move an item from a web feed (such as Feed Wrangler or Fever) to a bookmarking service such as Pinboard or Delicious.

In fact, I requested this very feature via an App.net conversation with the ReadKit team back in May, with the following post

@readkit In v2 beta, is it (or would it be) possible to have a single click to create a bookmark from a Fever post, bringing up the dialogue box to save to Pocket/Instapaper/Pinboard, etc? Thanks!

Within minutes, they came back with this reply:

@desparoz you can drag the posts between accounts. Just drop it on the unread folder of the read later/bookmark service.

My reply indicated I was aware of this, but outlined why I still wanted a one-click process:

@readkit I realise that, but then I have to go to extra steps to bring up the box to type in description, etc. I use IFTTT to pull from Pinboard to App.net & Twitter. So it adds steps to my workflow.

I loved their response:

@desparoz I see. We’ll solve it soon 😉

This is a great example of a developer paying attention to the needs and wants of its customers. I’m hardly the most prolific of bloggers [2] and this simple automation allows me to the quickly share some posts I’ve found to be important and/or interesting.

The ReadKit team has put a lot of thought into my this process as simple as possible. Clicking on the share buttom brings up a list of choices that now includes Pinboard and Delicious. Selecting Pinboard (in my case) brings up a dialogue box with options to edit the title, tags and description. The title and description information defaults from the article being saved.

Simple Pinboard sharing with ReadKit

So far this works brilliantly. The only feature request I can see to date is to have an option for selecting whether a post should be private or shared from the dialogue box.

I now use Pocket instead of Instapaper, and Feed Wrangler instead of Fever. Even though Pocket has a beautiful OSX app, the simple integration of these services, and Pinboard, makes ReadKit an absolute winner. I’m no longer waiting for an update to Reeder for OSX [3].

If you’re using an RSS service, read-later and/or bookmarking services and you’re a Mac user I strongly suggest you give ReadKit a try.


  1. Affiliate link. Thanks in advance!  ↩

  2. I do try to be more regular, but there is a lot of good stuff going on in my world at the moment. So I’ve had focus my limited time and attention.  ↩

  3. I love Reeder for iPhone. On the iPad, I prefer Mr Reader. These and ReadKit on OSX allow me similar workflows to quickly share items using Pinboard with an IFTTT recipe to share to App.net, Twitter and LinkedIn.  ↩

A New Dawn for RSS

A New Dawn for RSS

It’s morning here in Sydney, Australia on the 1st of July 2013. In a few hours time, Google Reader will be no longer.

As an RSS power user for many years, Google’s evolution from embracing to dominating then ignoring and finally abandoning the RSS market has been astonishing. I first started using RSS well before the advent of Google Reader, initially with web based tools then Google Reader through the browser and most recently to Google Reader as a backend to tools like Mr Reader (for iPad), Reeder (for iPhone, iPad and OSX) and others.

Like most people, I was disappointed but not entirely surprised when Google abandoned Googe Reader, but I have cometo the opinion that this move might well be a good thing for the future of web feeds, and might have interesting and positive benefits for personal privacy issues.

For web feeds, once Google dominated the RSS market, in many ways it stopped innovating and there was little effort to build further on top of the nascent capabilies in RSS. The barriers to entry for others to get in were high – Google held near 100% market share, and provided a free offering. For its own part, Google had few options to monetise a free offering, especially when many users (myself included) simply used it as a backend to smart phone, tablet and computer based apps.

So advertising revenue (Google’s primary income source) was limited. I can only assume that Google could not find a way to extract value from knowing what information sources its users were subscribing to, reading and clicking through on.

On the personal privacy side, I am a great believer that we, individual users, need to be more responsible when it comes to how we share our information. I think it’s responsible to not put all our eggs in one basket (be it Google, Facebook, Apple or any organisation), especially when dealing with free products. With such free products, we are not the customer, but the information we provide and generate is the product the company sells to its actual customer – the advertiser.

So I now spread out my digital footprint across multiple services, and I favour those that charge a realistic and fair price, and who have a good privacy policy. This may cost a little more in subscription fees, but it means no one company has a complete picture.

So what do I use now?

I have two back ends that now work with an identical set of front end apps.

For the back end providers, I user the cloud based service Feedbin and a self-hosted Fever installation. Overall, I like the idea of the self-hosted service, and the developer has done much to create something unique. But, Fever is low on his list of priorities, and I am not confident there will be regular, continued development of new functionality. Already, the app API does not support subscription management, something I consider important.

So Feedbin is my primary RSS management system, and for $2 per month ($24 per year) it meets my needs nicely. It works well (especially since an infrastructure upgrade last week), and has a nice web interface supported by an API that has a good legion of apps.

At this point, my primary tools for accessing my Feedbin feeds are Mr Reader on the iPad and Readkit on OSX, supported by Reeder on iPhone when I am out and about. These apps all support both Fever and Feedbin, giving me a consistent user experience (in so far as this is supported by the API).

I really like fact that there is serious competition in the RSS marketplace now. I am keeping an eye on services like those offered by (or soon to be offered by) companies like Feed Wrangler, Digg, News Blur and others. Whilst my platform of Feedbin/Fever and Mr Reader/Reeder/ReadKit support my needs well now, I will be keeping a close eye on further developments and evolutions, and am excited by the future of RSS.

My return to Google

My return to Google

In June of last year (2012) I posted about how I was concerned about how Google was becoming “creepy”. At that time, I decided that I didn’t want any one company to have all my data. This would prevent Google (or anyone other company) having a complete picture of me, and also it would mean I wouldn’t be too exposed if any one company was to go away.

I was also concerned that as a user of Google’s services, I was more of a product than a customer. This may be the case for the free versions of those services, but as a paid Google Apps user, I may have over-thought this a little!

To achieve my move away from Google, I moved my email, calendar and address book to iCloud, and I moved my RSS feeds to a self hosted Fever installation. I also started playing around with alternative search engines, including DuckDuckGo and Bing. I thought’d it be interesting to check in with how that process has gone.

Let’s start with search. I found DuckDuckGo and Bing to both be excellent – I was particularly surprised by Bing, which I didn’t think would hold much chop. At this time, Bing is my default search engine on my iPhone, while Google plays that role on my iPad. It’s not possible to make DuckDuckGo the default search engine in iOS, but I do use the app, and have made it the default on my MacBook. All are good, but in general I do tend to find that Google continues to excel in giving accurate, fast and relevant search results. I’d say 70%-plus of my search goes to Google.

As for RSS, I continued to happily use Fever for sometime, but the lack of choices for quality apps, particularly on iPad and OSX continued to grind. Navigating the web interface on iPad was bearable, but clunky. Reeder for iPhone was and is an excellent choice, but interestingly Reeder for iPad and OSX has yet to be updated to include Fever support. In the meantime, other apps were released to support Google Reader, but none have Fever support.

Notably, MrReader became more and more recommended by many power users, and my curiosity grew. In particular, it’s support for URL schemes made it compelling. So around New Years, I made the call to switch back. It was nothing to do with the excellent Fever platform, but with the lack of quality front end app support. I may well switch back if app support for Fever takes off. 1

The most recent switch back has been to move all my email, contacts and calendar back to my paid Google Apps account. There were three things that gradually became show-stoppers for me with respect to Apple’s iCloud:

  1. The lack of ability to host your own domain with iCloud. I don’t want a me.com or icloud.com email address when I have my own domain. I want my contacts and calendar fully integrated with my email, so they all travelled together.
  2. iCloud calendar sharing outside iCloud is difficult, at best. I want to share calendars with colleagues easily. Google App’s systems are generally more open.
  3. Security. I am of the opinion that any online site which I use for storage of personal, sensitive, business-in-confidence or confidential information needs to have more than simple password security. A minimum of 2-factor security is my requirement, especially since the security attack on Evernote.

I know that there are other options for hosting my online world, but with a paid Google Apps account with 2-factor security enabled, I believe this is the best option for me, going forward.

As for my documents, these are for the most part in Dropbox. I have a small number of files in iCloud’s Documents in the Cloud service. These are a small number of iWork and specialised documents for which I really appreciate the fast and seamless syncing. But since most of my writing is in plain text using several different apps for iOS, OSX and the web, these best live in Dropbox. I am not considering using Google Drive for these.

Any choice of services utilised is a fine balancing act, considering a range of factors, including security, open-ness and functionality. At this point in time, Google offers the best options in the email, calendar, contacts and RSS for me. I also consider Google the primary option for most search requirements.


  1. Update on 2013-03-14: Google announced the closure of Google Reader, effective 1 July 2013. I will definitely be moving back to Fever between now and then, probably as soon as either Reeder or Mr Reader supports Fever on iPad.