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:

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FeedDemon Update Concern

The other day FeedDemon told me that there was an update available. I thought that this was a little strange, given the fact that there has just been a major update correcting connection problems to the NewsGator server. Not only that both the FeedDemon and NewsGator community have been very quiet about it; as in silent.

So after I saw the invite to get a new version I went and got the new version. But why I thought it was strange was that this comes right on the back of a new beta tested version that addressed connection issues. I thought about that after I installed it, which I wished I had not. Even stranger still is the fact that nothing was said in the blog from Nick Bradbury or from the NewsGator News Feed. I thought then that maybe it was because they had not had a chance but now it has been a few days and still nothing. I suppose that usually what I would have expected was hey guys there has been an update for … whatever reason, not this time.

Worse, is the fact that this version seems to be a bit funny with stories not fully loading and I actually had it hang tonight for the first time ever. Then I thought maybe I have been had! That I had inadvertently installed a dodgy update… So what I have done is to shoot off an email to Jack Brewster at NewsGator Support. I only did that this evening and I am yet to get a reply, which I am sure I will have tomorrow. I will let you know the result.

This is  not to say that in the past updates have been issued without notice, just "feels" a little strange to me. That said I would like to know what the changes were, if it is a legit update. I was thinking that maybe it was updated due to the fact that they needed to do an urgent security update or something like that and they do not want to discuss the details, I truly do not know. 

Watch this space… I will be so peeved with myself if I have done a stupid thing…

FeedDemon 2.0.0.22 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 2.0.0.22 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 2.0.0.22. 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 2.0.0.22 "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.