I’ve come across a lot of great feed readers before, but I don’t believe any of them match up to a new one that I was introduced to by Pieter in the CyberNet Forum. It’s called Newzie (Windows-only), and it has a strong focus on making feed reading as easy as possible. I wasn’t quite sure how good this would perform when I first started using it, but I quickly fell in love with the features it offered.
Many of you may consider discarding this post simply because you’re content with the desktop feed reader that you’re currently using, or maybe all of your feeds are on an online reader. Newzie has things that I’ve never seen before in a feed reader, and I can guarantee that some of them are sure to impress you. So at the very least scroll through the article and checkout the screenshots…you won’t be disappointed.
Oh, and I should mention that the interface definitely reminds me of iTunes!
One of the most unique things with Newzie are the various methods available to organize your feeds. Of course it has the standard tree view that most desktop feed readers have, and you can create as many folders and subfolders as you would like.
More uniquely, however, is the time-sorted view that shows the most recently updated feeds first. It groups feeds in update intervals, such as 30-minutes to 1-hour, so that you can view the most recent news first.
There are also a few "folders" that are created by default which can be used for temporary storage. These are the "My Favorites" and "My Readings," and together they let you breeze through all of your feeds quickly. You can then come back to the news of interest when you have more time.
In terms of feed viewing there are three different modes available:
- Report View – This is often referred to the "River of News" view because it shows one story after another in their entirety. If it becomes hard to read that way you can always contract the posts, and then expand them as needed.
- List View (Top) – This is similar to what you’ll see in an email application with a subject-only view above the content of the posts.
- List View (Side) – This is also like an email application, but the list is placed on the side of the content. Widescreen users would probably prefer to use this method.
And don’t worry about the oversized buttons located at the top of the application. I originally thought it was a huge waste of space, and then I saw a button that collapsed the header down to almost nothing:
Newzie makes it extremely easy to scan your feeds without actually having to read them. One of the ways it does this is with its unique hover window that is displayed when your cursor rests over a feed in the sidebar. It shows you how many unread posts there are in that particular feed, when the last article was written, the last time it checked for updates, and the titles of the last 5 articles. I love when tooltips like this are actually made useful. :)
This is like a stock ticker, but for your news. Anytime you hover over the News Bar, it will pause so that you have time to take action on the item(s) that are currently scrolling across.
There is a highly configurable Today Panel available in Newzie for those of you that don’t like the News Bar. This isn’t quite as compact, but it can show more information.
–Search & Filters–
There are several more advanced search features included with Newzie that help make it so great. Besides being able to search your feeds for text, you can also filter your subscriptions in using special commands that have been created. Here are some examples:
- title:cybernet – Searches the title of feeds for matches.
- updated<5day – Finds feeds updated in a specific period of time.
- priority>60 – Finds feeds that are within the specified priority interval.
More information on how these work as well as more examples can be found in the Newzie help file.
–Monitor Sites, too–
Just when you thought Newzie already did everything, it goes and does even more! Not only can it aggregate all of your feeds into one central location, but it can also check websites to see if there have been any changes made.
There are several different options for choosing how the websites are monitored, such as looking for the addition of keywords, text being inserted, hyperlinks being added, or new images appearing. Or you can just go the old fashion route of monitoring every aspect of the website to see if it changes.
When you view a site that has been changed, Newzie will automatically highlight the changed portions so that you don’t have to try and figure out what’s new. Now how cool is that?
Newzie tracks what you read and how many items it brings in each day. It then puts it all together in a pretty bar graph so that you can realize just how addicted you are to the feeds (obviously my stats aren’t all that extravagant in the screenshot since I started with a fresh profile for the review):
I think that I touched on almost everything that Newzie can do, but there are still some other things that might appeal to you. For the sake of being thorough I’ve included those additional features here:
- I found it to be one of the fastest-updating feed readers available (in terms of checking feeds for new content).
- Browse your feed items in a slideshow fashion. This is cool, but not something I can see myself using.
- Minimize to the System Tray
- Keyboard shortcut customization
- Assign priorities to feeds
- Change the rendering engine (uses IE by default)
- Setup keyword watches on your feeds
- You can monitor IE favorites for new feeds
- You can add feeds from a Bloglines account
Some of you may still prefer the online feed readers such as Bloglines or Google Reader, but I have to say that this is hands-down the best desktop feed reader that I’ve used. It’s packed with features and focuses heavily on making reading feeds an effortless process. I highly recommend this desktop feed reader to all the news junkies out there!