FeedReader Now Supports Enclosures

FeedReader Logo_OldI was talking to my brother-in-law tonight and giving him a crash course in RSS feeds and podcasting and just how great the whole thing is. I think I left him sufficiently confused but excited about what it could do for him. That aside I was recommending a feed reader for him to try and I have always recommended FeedReader. I was very surprised to see that it now supports enclosures (and that includes podcasts!).

While I have not used this version which is FeedReader 3.02, I am sure that it is as easy to use as it was for me when I used it. I have used FeedDemon for some time now, one of the main reasons that I switched to FeedDemon was the fact that it is an all-in-one solution. It supports both feeds and lots of different types of enclosures including podcasts and I liked the idea of having it all in the one place. Essentially both these programs do the same thing; in that they now both support enclosures and read news and whatever other feed you wish to subscribe to. But now when I recommend a reader I won’t have to give an explanation as to why you can not get podcasts with it and why you need a program like Juice to do that. This makes FeedReader a very nice no cost alternative for anyone wanting to give RSS a go.

Juice is a very good Podcast aggregator. However I do think that it is not the easiest piece of software to use for a person that is new to RSS or podcasting. Now having the podcasting support in FeedReader means that a user only has to learn to use one program and not two. Both having very different interfaces. The other huge bonus for the end user is that FeedReader is still open source and still free! Which is great news all round in my book. The new version of FeedReader has some other great new and improved features so check it out!

So for my mates that I put onto FeedReader, go and update it to the latest version on the Download Page and shove your podcasts and feeds into it and let me know how easy/hard it is to use. I hope it makes it a lot easier for people to utilize RSS and enjoy podcasts.

What is RSS?

What is a podcast?

What is an aggregator?

Ok, so I have the software where can I go to find some great RSS feeds and podcasts?

That should be enough to get you going I am sure you will start to notice RSS links and feeds and podcasts everywhere now.

Don’t forget to add Rooster’s Rail to your subscriptions and Global Geek Podcast! Here are the RSS feeds for those. Right click and copy the link and paste it to your reader of choice when you have selected to make a new subscription:


FeedDemon Beta Tested: Positive Results

Tonight FeedDemon was tested with an unable to connect to server error. I was impressed with the performance, there were a few bugs but nothing major. This may or may not have been a NewsGator Server problem.

I fired up FeedDemon and got the "cannot connect to server message". I got the option to un-synchronize the feeds and to manually page each feed for updates. I selected that and I was presented with a message that informed me that the feeds would be updated directly from the feed URL's and that it would be slower. So I selected OK.

To say that the feeds would update slower is an understatement, it is really slow and I have a 1500/256 connection (that is pretty quick here in Australia), so bear in mind that with functionality comes a slowdown. That said it was not something that bothered me too much. One error that occurred was that when the feeds updated it imported "old" updates. I got posts from January 2006 and they were out or order by date and some were marked read and others not read even though I knew I had marked them as read previously. I did however get the new feeds at the top, which is what you want.

While this was going on Sebastian had asked me to listen to a podcast he had done the day before, so I went to the folder, I did have to manually update the folder with the "update feed" command; but when I did I got the new podcast listed. I clicked the "paper-clip" and FeedStation opened and started to download. It noted that it could not connect to "my podcasts" but it did not seem to bother the download. The podcast downloaded and synchronised to my sync folder on my local machine with no problems.

One thing that is not made as clear as it could be is how to re-synchronise your folders. Basically; you get an icon in the bottom left corner of FeedDemon that has a disconnected symbol on it – or something like that. You can click this icon and get options, one is to test the connection and another one to say you are not synchronised with a tick – selected next to it. I just presumed that to resynchronise you "deselect the box". I was right, but it is not indicated that you have; or are trying to synchronise again. The indication that you are trying to connect and have been successful is the fact that the synchronising with NewsGator splash comes up. I think this needs to be improved.

A new feature is the "test" connection option, again an option within the click icon at the bottom left. So every once and a while I tested the connection and I eventually got a "good" result back and I went through the resynchronise process described above. No problems. FeedDemon synchronised and updated the feeds and did not have a problem with the fact that I had read some new posts and download an enclosure. FeedDemon even marked those as read – so it performed better then expected there.

As far as the reason for the outage, I am not sure if the NewsGator server was down or that I could not connect to it because of the connection between my machine and the server. If it was the server, it was not down for long, which makes me think it was a connection problem. Well done Nick, this is what I expect from you guys, thanks.

Nick Bradbury says Blog Away on Beta

Had a few responses from the last Blog entry and it would seem that for some reason or another wires were crossed and I

If Nick says it is OK to blog about it then it is. So I am very happy about that. Thanks Nick for reading the blog and I hope that I can review this up and coming release with fairness and we can get some issues ironed out.

So in brief I have installed I am happy to say that it installed fine and without any problems. One of the great things was that all my feeds were already subscribed, which meant that I did not have to import my OPML file to set it it up. That is one feature of synchronization that is excellent. Updating feeds seems to be a little quicker but I don’t know if that is because of the build or just coincidence. At the moment I am only using the basic features to ensure stability and see if there are any problems.

One thing I have found out is that anyone that is getting text that show up like this:

Lowers Temp. by 30° Fahrenheit in just three minutes.

It is not an error in FeedDemon. It is the fact that you are using the Firefox hack to use Firefox in the browser window. I am not sure who wrote the hack but if it was Nick Bradbury I hope it gets fixed, It is stated that this feature is not supported in any version. If however it was the trusty open source community then we need to get some guru to fix it. The alternative of using Internet Explorer for me is not an option, I can put up with a few screwy characters.

My podcasts seem to be working fine and downloading without any problems.

When I know that everything is working fine I will start to “test” some of the things that should have been fixed in this version. I am planing to block access with the firewall. I am also planning to update all the feeds and pull the network cable and see how it handles that. I think it would be interesting to see how it handles a connection being unavailable from start-up. Just as important will be how it re-synchronizes with the NewsGator Server upon reconnect.

So thats for allowing up to blog about this and stay tuned for updates.

FeedDemon: Under Wraps

It's is official. I got an email today saying that NewsGator would appreciate it if beta testers would keep details about FeedDemon release "under wraps".

Well it is not a contract but a polite, please don't say anything. Which is fair enough. I understand why that is though. If say; this release crashes all the time or has some great problem (which it does not) then the last thing that NewsGator is going to want is for bloggers to plaster that all over the place. I can appreciate that.

So I have decided to be a beta tester. As I said previously I was undecided but after Jack Brewster got in touch with me and letting me know the details I was happy to do it. But I am sorry folks thats all I am going to say. But I did email them today asking if I could get a heads up before it is released so that I could post something before it was released. I would be bummed if I could not get the break on everyone else on something that I tested. We will see if I am allowed to do that.

I am flattered that I was chosen to review the beta version and I am enjoying putting it through it's paces… nuf said.

Keep looking out for news here and I will let you know if there are any details that I can devulge. 


Today, I had cause to drop down to the local computer shop to pick up an audio lead for the computer. I would not normally drop in there to buy this particular lead but it was five in the afternoon and needed it for the podcast and wanted to test it. (Yes I am impatient).

Anyways I got into a bit of a conversation with three of the guys at the shop regarding what I needed the lead for and I said: “You guys heard of podcasts right, what do you listen to?”. Would you believe the answer that I got back was “…err no sorry, nope..ahhh no never heard of that” (cue: blank looks). What the heck, can you believe that! I was totally and utterly dumbfounded beyond belief.

So the upshot of the conversation was the following points:

  • None of them had heard of podcasting.
  • What they thought was a podcast was in fact a webcast.
  • None of them had heard of RSS (or atom or XML or OPML!)
  • None of them had listened to a podcast.
  • None of them had a C L U E !!!

I told them that to be honest I was totally and utterly surprised and speechless. (even my mates have listened to podcasts and subscribe to feeds and they are not geeks). I then went on to tell them briefly what the whole business is about but generally sent them in the direction of links to Wiki and some open source applications to get them started.

But the main thing I learned regarding the whole experience was that if this is the state of knowledge of people within the consumer electronics and computer industry then no wonder this technology remains in the geekosphere! No wonder I confuse my friends and family when I talk about this stuff, how can I expect them to know what I am talking about when supposed “geeks” don’t have a clue?

This then gets onto how I can “share” this technology with the people around me, as this is the only place I can really influence. What I have been doing is just telling people in very simple terms what it is all about. If they show and interest about the podcast and how to get it, I don’t even mention downloading it from the site. First, I tell them about the free applications like Juice that they can use to do it. It isn’t much but it is my little bit that might help others to get as much out of the internet as I do. And if they don’t investigate it right away; that’s cool but it might twig their interest later and that’s enough.

As for the computer shop boys… I really was dumbfounded… all three! Bloody hell. I can only shake my head, in realization that we have a long; long way to go before any of this is in any way “main-stream”.