Archived entries for rss

Speaking of NetNewsWire

Since I’ve been less than complimentary about NetNewsWire in the past, I thought it only fair to say that I’ve returned to using it as my primary newsreader. I decided to take yet another look because of all the stories on Newsgator’s making it free; since I’ve had a paid license since somewhere back around version 1.0, this wasn’t my primary reason for trying it again.

As to my biggest gripe with the software, the absolutely horrible syncing with NewsGator online, I solved that problem by opening a new Newsgator online account and simply importing my Google reader subs into that new account. So far it has worked well. I’m not entirely happy that the only way to get it to work right was to start completely afresh, but it is what it is. Overall, though, I’m glad to be using NetNewsWire again.

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Syndication package tracking

Something I’ve been waiting for a long time: package tracking as RSS feeds. Adagio Teas, who I order from frequently, are making FedEx tracking available via RSS:
FedEx! RSS! Whee!

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NetNewsWire and Syncing

I hope Brent Simmons got a lot of money for selling NetNewsWire to NewsGator, because he’s thrown the software’s reputation to the wind.

I mostly read news on 2 machines, a Powerbook and a dual G5 at work. Sometimes I also use the iMac we have upstairs in the study. Sometimes I’m on a machine I don’t own with a web browser. What I want is the ability to read a feed item on one machine and have the other machines know that I’ve read it and not show it to me again as new.

If I subscribe to a feed on one machine, I want the others to know that and show me that feed when I read feeds on another machine.

In short, what I need is reliable synchronization across machines.

I don’t think these are particularly unique needs. But NetNewsWire can’t handle this scenario.

In the days when I ran emacs over a terminal connection to and read Usenet in gnus, this was easy. Whenever I quit, my .newsrc got updated with my read/unread counts, and that was that. It worked.

NetNewsWire once worked pretty well in terms of synchronization. I could synchronize my Bloglines subscriptions with it, and life was good.

Then NNW got sold to NewsGator, and I was magnaminously offered a free 2 year subscription to NewsGator online. Not only that, but they ALSO had an online newsreader, so I could still read either on my Powerbook, my work machine, or a web browser, if I happened to be away from my own machines.

So I switched over to NewsGator syncing.

It has been an utter disaster ever since. NewsGator’s web based reader is an horribly broken shitty piece of crap. I have just spent the last hour making multiple attempts at deleting a folder in my feeds list. I right-click the folder. I select “Delete folder.” The folder disappears. I wait a few minutes to see if the change “took.” I refresh the browser. The folder reappears.

I delete it again. I wait. I quit the browser. I restart the browser and go to the NewsGator reader. The folder is there again. I repeat the process. I quit that browser and open a different one. The folder is still there.

I decide to attack it from the NNW end. I open NNW and tell it to overwrite NewsGator. It merges the list with the online list. There’s the folder still.

During my many replacement attempts, NNW/NewsGator appears to do things in an entirely arbitrary manner, randomly deleting feeds and setting read/unread counts on my feeds.

I do not appear to be alone. A search for “sync” on NewsGator’s NNW support forum yields 178 topics. And from what I can see there, the support staff has no idea what’s going on either. The typical entry has a user complaning about the same sorts of things I am – basically, that the syncing is just plain broken. In one hapless schmuck’s case, after trying every last “fix” in the book, we get this total left-field Hail Mary play from the support guy:

This is just getting weird! Is there any chance that someone else could have your username/password and be using the account at another lcoation? We’ve seen this happen when people sell computers etc and leave the software on it.

Even if you don’t think that is the case, can you try changing your password in NewsGator Online, and also NNW and see if that helps at all.

Of course, in the next reply, the poor user says that that didn’t work either, and then all is silence. This is the worst kind of “support” – the kind where it’s everything and anything’s fault except the software’s. Among the excuses trotted out in the support forum is to check with your IT administrator to see if SOAP headers aren’t getting through your firewall, that people are closing the application before it has a chance to complete the sync, and that perennial favorite – you’re not using a current enough beta.

Google Reader may not be a river of news, take full advantage of Mac OS X services, or be up to Gruber-caliber HIG snuff, but it has one distinct and overriding advantage:

It works as advertised.

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My continuing NetNewsWire woes (no link, only working software gets links): this morning manual feed refresh just stopped working. I choose refresh all and after a few seconds the action completes and nothing has happened. Not only that, NNW is practicing a particularly nasty form of lock-in: it won’t export my feeds correctly to OPML. I read about 500 feeds or so, and when I export, whether I export to all in flat format, all in groups format, selected in flat or selected in groups, it manages to export only 181 of those files. Pretty good way to make sure I don’t switch to another newsreader, eh? Not only this, but according to this bug report, this has been an open bug for better than a year. I have always liked the feel of NNW and it has been a good piece of software in the past, but this kind of sloppiness for a paid product is unacceptable. The NewsGator “sync” has been awful from day one. About the only thing I’ve liked about it is that my additions or deletions from my feed list have also been synced, although like every other aspect of this software, it’s done it inconsistently. As soon as I can figure out a way to cleanly (and completely) export my OPML from the program, I’ll take my feedreading elsewhere. BlogBridge is looking damn good at the moment.

UPDATE: Ironically enough, I can export all the feeds from NewsGator online. But this is crazy: what if I didn’t have a NewsGator account? I’ve reimported everything back into Bloglines, and I’m trying out other RSS readers. I’ll post more about this when I’ve had some time to play with them all a bit. Until then, I’m just using Bloglines for now. It at least works.

Yet more NNW woes

Recently I wrote a post about switching to Newsgator syncing when using NetNewsWire. I was not too happy with it then, and I am even less happy with it now. Because it doesn’t work. My setup is a Powerbook at home and a G5 tower at work, and I’d be overly generous to describe the syncing as “spotty.” Items that I know I have marked read at work show up again at home, and vice versa. I have been assiduous about making sure to send changes both ways, but it just isn’t working. When I can find some time, I intend to go through the tedious process of re-importing my Bloglines settings. It’ll be tedious because for some odd reason, NNW doesn’t import groups from an OPML file (or at least the one I get from Bloglines) – everything just gets dumped into the top level, which means I will have to spend an enormous amount of time resifting everything into folders. Sigh. If only I had waited another day.

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More on NNW syncing

Well, neither of the reasons in yesterday’s post were right. Bloglines syncing started working for me again yesterday morning. However, in the meantime I had switched over to NewsGator syncing, and at the moment I am not inclined to switch everything back again. The Newsgator syncing, though, is annoyingly slow. There’s a very long delay when you start the sync, which I assume is due to Newsgator authentication. Once it starts syncing, the speed is acceptable; but on the whole it feels much slower than Bloglines syncing did. The synchronization itself also seems somewhat buggy. When I synced this morning from home, I saw a number of articles that I had read from work yesterday.

Is this the end?

Started up NetNewsWire 2.1 this morning. I’ve been using Bloglines syncing ever since it was introduced. I signed up for a NewsGator account during the beta, but since Bloglines syncing appeared to continue working, I kept using it.

Until this morning. Every time I try to refresh all, I get a sheet asking for my Bloglines login and password, which I keep entering, and it keeps asking. No joy. It’s not that Blogines is down; I can still access it fine over the web. My suspicion is that either NNW no longer works with Bloglines, or more likely, that Bloglines is blocking requests from NNW, figuring that they don’t want to support the competition. Either way, it’s time to do an OPML export and switch over to syncing with NewsGator. Sigh.

What’s the best meter?

After a number of years I’m in the market for a new glucometer. I’ve been using the Accu-Chek Advantage for a few years now, long enough that mine has been replaced by a newer, smaller iteration. I may be looking for a different model, though. I’d like to be able to download my results into my Powerbook, and the Compass software Roche offers is Windows only. I tried finding Mac software that’d work with the Advantage and came up short. Lifescan, who make the OneTouch line, appear to have opened up their interfaces, as I saw a few third-party programs available. One, Sweetsheet from Children with Diabetes, looked promising until I looked at the screen shots. It appears to be Classic only; I’d really prefer to get something running under OSX.

My ideal meter would have an open API, allow me to publish my results as an RSS feed, and would have both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interfaces. Might as well build in an MP3 player as well. Call it the iSweet. Toss in GPS.

Unfortunately the reality is that you still need to buy serial-to-USB adapters for most of the meter data cables. Guess we need more diabetic geeks.

Is there anything even close to what I want? Small is also good; I’d really like something I could slip into my pocket, rather than having to carry a bulky case around. Alternate site testing is not really a concern; I’ve gotten used to fingerpricks.

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