Monthly Archives: May 2011

3

RSS Feeds are an important part of website interaction. Subscribing to a page will let you get updates, see new information, keep up with current events or just see something funny when it is posted on a blog. Whatever it is you are looking for, these eight applications can give you a useful way to keep up to date, 100% free.

1. Fluent News

Fluent News

Fluent news isn’t actually an RSS reader, but rather an alternative to one. If you have found yourself annoyed by the way readers only show some of the most recent headlines, and you want something for news sites that provide a more comprehensive look on the days events, this is a nice app to download.

Both the New York Times and CNET were highly impressed with this reader, and gave it the “App of the Week” award.

2. The Feed

The Feed

Google and Apple are welcome known for having more than an innocent feud. The iPhone versus the Android (with tablets following from the competitors) have pitted the two against one another in the smart device category. But this app is a Goggle approved ereader that works on the iPad, providing a simple way to get RSS feeds.

The newest version fixed some of the bugs that users complained of with the first release.

3. Feeddler RSS Reader

Feeddler RSS Reader

Feedler comes in two versions, paid and free. The paid is $9.99, and is very feature heavy, so worth the cost if you plan on using your feeds a lot. But if you just need something basic, the free version should be more than enough.

4. MobileRSS HD

MobileRSS HD

Another Google reader, the MobileRSS HD is widely considered one of the greatest available, especially for free. It has specialized in keeping feeds synced up, so you won’t have to deal with the constant reloading of some RSS programs.It is also compatible with Google accounts.

5. Flipboard

Flipboard

This app was named App of the Year by Apple, and it does more than act as a feed reader. It also flips through photos, programs, account updates (such as on Facebook and Twitter) and more. It is an excellent program, though there have been provacy complaints. According to some users, the app scans the iPad to see if the user has jailbreaked the software to allow for third party applications not sanctioned through the iTunes store.

6. News Reader for iPad

News Reader for iPad

This is a really basic app that is almost identical to most other feed readers. But it is small, gets the job done, and is good for anyone that has nothing else they want it to do. I would recommend it for basic news sites only.

7. ReadSquare

ReadSquare

ReadSquare is more social networking minded. It connects things that you and friends on sites like Facebook enjoy. Once these are synced up it keeps it all in one place, letting you quickly get updates and find information fast. Everything is hooked by tags, making it all easy to search.

8. Pulse

Pulse

Pulse is a visual display RSS feed reader that you used to have to pay to use. Now it is completely free, and it offers an interesting way to get your info. It uses pictures instead of basic text headlines, and it is attractive and easy to sift through.

RSS Readers of the Future

These readers are a good example of how feeds have changed, and how simple it is to keep up. If you have been looking for a good, free app to let you watch your updates at the touch of a screen, these should give you more than enough to choose from.

4

Remember what cell phones were like before iPhone and Android? Basically cell phone users fell into 2 categories—those who wanted the tiniest phone they could get their hands on (remember Nokia?) and more serious, adult users who went the way of the Blackberry.

The Blackberry was touted as the personal digital assistant. It made it easy to keep a calendar, message, and send mobile email. Anyone who was everyone had a Blackberry. President Obama had one. Elaine had one on the semi-Seinfeld Reunion that took place on Curb Your Enthusiasm, prompting Jerry to ask if she was “one of those Blackberry people” who would text and email in the middle of conversations. Even my dad has one—and refuses to switch over to Android or iPhone.

And while 2010 showed a sharp increase in Blackberry sales, the fact is that the phone isn’t enjoying the popularity it once was. It’s having to share stage time with all those fancy smartphones that companies keep throwing out at us.

All of this leads me to pose the question: is the Blackberry dead?

Blackberry’s strength

No doubt, the Blackberry has hung around for quite some time. In fact, the first one came out way back in 1999, the year I graduated high school. And here I am, 12 years older and more than 12 pounds heavier, and I’m still talking about the Blackberry. That said, it must have some strong selling points–right?  Something that puts it over the stiff competition…but what is it?

I wracked my brain for quite awhile trying to answer that question. And after about an hour of pouring through news articles and techy blogs, here’s what I decided: the number one feature that puts Blackberry above its competition is its messaging capabilities. Emails fly faster from Blackberry to Blackberry than from cpu to cpu. And the speed of Blackberry messenger can be matched by no other phone.

And that’s it.

Blackberry’s weaknesses

I can describe Blackberry’s weaknesses in two words: everything else. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I would definitely argue that Blackberry isn’t keeping up with the times in respect to web surfing, media, and all those other fun things.

And when they spent millions (or billions?) hyping the release of the Torch, they definitely garnered some attention. But let’s face it—the phone was a disappointment. In fact, it has been described by several as having a very buggy performance. There’s little doubt that anyone who is looking to surf the web and use various types of media is going to choose one of their other smartphone options.

My conclusion

As mentioned earlier, we’ve seen everyone from President Obama to the character Elaine to my own father using the Blackberry. And I’d like to suggest that therein lies the problem. Blackberry is failing to reach the younger, trendier market share. And while iPhone and Android and all those others are being snatched up by the younger crow, the Blackberry is stuck in the hands of the aging.

Do you see the issue here?

No, the Blackberry is not dead. But it’s aging fast and unless the creators over at RIM can find away to get into the heads of our youth, chances are it will die.

*This post was typed on my iPhone.

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