Personalized Desktop News Feeds - gHacks Tech News

Personalized Desktop News Feeds

Update: Mindity is no longer available. While you may still be able to download the installer, account creation won't work as the service itself is no longer available. We suggest you check out excellent alternatives such as QuiteRSS or check out our best RSS reader guide.

RSS Feeds are probably the best option if you want to receive information about website updates. They arrive immediately after the webmaster has published an article on the website and there is no limit in regards to how many sites you can keep track of this way.

There are two core ways to process and view RSS feeds. The first is to use one of the many online services that display news feeds that you add to your profile. I do use Netvibes but there is also Google Reader for that task and hundreds more.

The second option is to use a desktop client to view the feeds and Mindity is the client that I'm reviewing right now. Feeds can be added by pasting a url of a feed into the interface or importing a opml file that most online and offline applications can create. I did import my opml file from Netvibes into Mindity for instance which speeds up the process and simplifies migration.

Before I was allowed to do that I had to create an account and verify the email that I specified during setup.

The import of 160 RSS feeds took several minutes and nothing was displayed after finishing the operation. I was about to give up when Mindity began updating the feeds and added roughly 1600 news items in a matter of seconds.

That was overkill at that time. New feeds after the initial download are announced with little overlay bars in the right lower corner of your system and the name of the website and the title of the article are listed there. A click on that story or in the feed reader opens an excerpt of the article.

mindity interface

A right-click on any item in the list opens several options like reading the full article, editing tags, marking the story read, recommending the story, feed properties and information who read that feed (only Mindity users).

If you click on Read Story a new window opens displaying the full story on your desktop (or in your browse if you change the option). Until now, Mindity has been just another desktop feed reader but it does have some interesting social features.

Users can vote for stories and the global vote count of a story is displayed in Mindity. In addition, those stories are displayed on the Mindity website. Users can get recommendations which are directly taken from other voters of the article that you are currently reading.

It is furthermore possible to view a list of subscribed feeds of users who voted for an article and several other means of finding new feeds that are probably interesting for you. You can also add friends to your reader which makes it easy to share feeds and news using Mindity.

What I like about it is that you are notified of updates in real time more or less while I only see new stories using Netvibes when I visit the homepage or refresh a tab that I have created. I probably will remove some of the feeds that I do not read daily from Mindity again to decrease the amount of updated feeds displayed per hour.





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    Comments

    1. Bob Jones said on January 15, 2008 at 3:49 pm
      Reply

      I use Bloglines. Netvibes didn’t cut it for me as it’d only show 10 items and you couldn’t mark them as read, so I’d constantly miss out on things on sites that publish a lot and on sites which don’t I’d constantly see the same stuff again …

    2. Tim said on January 15, 2008 at 5:22 pm
      Reply

      Have you tried FeedDemon from http://www.newsgator.com? It used to be a pay program, but just went free upon updating to version 2.6. In addition you can sync with a free account at newsgator.com so you can keep both up to date and synced.

      I’ve been using FeedDemon for a couple years. I actually paid for it back then to use the pro version. It has been the best newsreader I’ve ever seen and I did an extensive search for good newsreaders. In addition they have other programs that recently went free too including a mac newsreader.

      I personally use Feeddemon to download my podcasts I listen to or watch. It works better than most of the podcatchers out there, except it doesn’t play them… then again I usually play them on my mp3 player or on my tv so what do I need a player in the same program for?

    3. Jonas Martinsson said on January 16, 2008 at 10:07 am
      Reply

      Interesting! Finally someone, among the thousands of RSS readers, who does something innovative with the GUI.

    4. Antonina said on January 16, 2008 at 12:49 pm
      Reply

      I like it as well. It has very nice & innovative interface – it’s not like all other news readers out there.
      Some other things I like, not mentioned here:
      – news ticker (a little bit unstable right now, but cool)
      – speech output
      – Buzz (something like your local “techmeme.com”)
      – quick search

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