Off Topic: One app to rule them all!
Posted by Ranni, the Flamingbard
I read a post over on Dragons and Whimsy this morning that touched on something that’s had me in a tither for a bit now. I’ve been using Feedly since Google Reader shut down and although there’s much to like with it, I still dearly miss Google Reader. It’s enough so that I check out other readers from time to time, looking for that *thing* that’s going to set one apart from the others. She talked about giving Flow Reader a try, a reader I hadn’t yet heard of so I decided to check it out.
Flow Reader isn’t every thing I want, yet, but it comes pretty darn close. The layout is very easy on the eyes (I love the black text on white look) and allows you to customize how your feed is presented with three options: Expanded view, Compact view and Read view. I do not see a single difference between Compact and Read view but perhaps I’m missing something? The ability to create categories to sort your feeds is typical with many readers but Flow Reader allows you to add a feed you’re subscribing to into the desired category (can create one or choose an existing one) as you’re adding the feed. Feedly, on the other hand, allows you to preview the content on a feed before you add it, something that can be very beneficial. I am typically already aware of what the feed will show, content wise, and find the preview to be unnecessary. Personal preference, no?
You can add your Twitter feed and view both your RSS feeds and Twitter time line all on the same page, something that immediately got my attention. There’s a delay in seeing tweets in real-time but they’re aware and working on it. I found my notifications were up to 5 hours behind while my timeline (tweets from people I follow) was only 2-3 minutes behind. It was seeing both my Twitter time line and RSS feeds on the same page that suddenly made clear what I’ve been wanting for a long time now: I want one app to rule them all!
I routinely have several tabs open at any given time during the day. One tab is Twitter, one for Gmail, my (own) blogs are often open, Feedly and Google+. I want an app that would show RSS and social media feeds all on one page with the ability to close one or all of them if I want without changing the page in my browser/app, if that makes sense. A long time ago we called this sort of thing “trees” (usenet/newsgroups, you could open fully all the conversations on a particular group or just one by clicking the + or – symbol). Flow Reader is removing Facebook from the app, from what I understand, because of new changes FB is making with a new API that would make it, if I’m understanding this correctly, a lot harder to get information to the users that wanted it. I have no idea how Google+ works but I’d love to see my G+ feed/s displayed in Flow Reader along with my Twitter and RSS feeds. If the app could also display my email I’d be over the moon!
Especially if I could have more than one email account show within the one application! #dream
OH! I forgot to mention that all pictures within the feeds would NOT automatically show. I’d have to click to preview or open the tweet or G+ post before seeing the picture.
This desire to simplify is strong and the biggest reason I keep going back and forth about merging my blogs. I want ONE blog to sign into and write from but when I’ve finally decided to go for it, I talk myself out of it because I don’t know how to set it up the way I’d want it. (I’d want this 8-bit background, complete with my flaming balls header, to show for the gaming section/category and another for my personal posts section/category. No clue if that’s even possible, just that it’s a bit over my head. Oh, and a magazine style landing page for the ‘main’ or starting page to my site. Confusing?) I’ve already gotten rid of several email accounts in an attempt to simplify my online life and now wonder why I thought I needed that many to begin with. I had six accounts … for one person … because I wanted chaos and clutter in my life apparently.
I’m enjoying seeing RSS and Twitter feeds in the same application, on the same page, for now. Flow Reader has a lot of potential and knowing it’s a work in progress has me excited for it.