Review: Newsfire

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Date: Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007, 12:28
Category: Review

newsfire.jpg
They were talking about how RSS would change the world a few years back. Now it was actually time to download and use one for daily work.
Newsfire by David Watanabe is perhaps one of the best RSS readers available for both the novice and advanced user. Combining the better elements of a standard reader with a decidedly Mac interface, Newsfire catches the eye with a clear, focused appearance. Move the mouse over a story link and a nice highlighting feature helps further distinguish what you’re visually sorting through.
Hunting down RSS links has never been anyone’s idea of fun and Newsfire handles this in the background. Type in the basic web address for a site you want to follow up on and the program hunts down the necessary RSS subscription address information, then adds it to the list of sites to follow.
Not a bad feature in the least and Newsfire takes the technical work out of setting something useful up.
Click the jump for the full review…


newsfire.jpg
They were talking about how RSS would change the world a few years back. Now it was actually time to download and use one for daily work.
Newsfire by David Watanabe is perhaps one of the best RSS readers available for both the novice and advanced user. Combining the better elements of a standard reader with a decidedly Mac interface, Newsfire catches the eye with a clear, focused appearance. Move the mouse over a story link and a nice highlighting feature helps further distinguish what you’re visually sorting through.
Hunting down RSS links has never been anyone’s idea of fun and Newsfire handles this in the background. Type in the basic web address for a site you want to follow up on and the program hunts down the necessary RSS subscription address information, then adds it to the list of sites to follow.
Not a bad feature in the least and Newsfire takes the technical work out of setting something useful up.
Where Newsfire shines is in its smart feeds. Although this feature can be found in other news readers, Watanabe gives it a polished, friendly look that’s almost unrivaled elsewhere and editing criteria for the reader to chase after is as simple as the user could ask for.
Newsfire is becoming a Swiss army knife of a utility and the effort is appreciated. Users can download podcasts and configure other uses for the program as well as use it to keep abreast of what’s happening in terms of their interests. An integrated player for podcast downloads comes in handy, as does iTunes support. This might not be critical, but it is a cool bell and whistle.
Unfortunately, there are problems to be sorted out. The current version of Newsfire (1.4), while easy to configure, doesn’t seem to follow up on its smart lists as well as one could ask for, both on the Mac Pro and MacBook laptop running Mac OS X 10.4.9 used for testing. Upon mentioning this to the developers, I was told I was the only one having this problem. New sites added to the watch list also refused to update and synchronize, capping the number of watched web sites, a problem I’ve never found with NetNewsWire. Others have said some extremely good things about the feature and all I can do is hope for this to be corrected in an upcoming version said to be coming down the pipe.
Newsfire is available for an $18.99 shareware registration fee that enables the user to have access to additional features such as use of smart feeds and the ability to follow additional web sites. The program requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher to run and is programmed as a Universal Binary, running natively under both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
Even with its bugs, Newsfire is a beautifully designed program with an amazing amount of potential, something that would be my favorite RSS news reader if it did everything I needed it to do. David Watanabe is off to a good start here and I’m eager to see what comes next.
Final score: 3.5 out of 5 bolts.

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