I try to keep my tech posts here at GATM to subjects that also allow me to explore some religious theme or element, but in the case of Newsify, I just want to sit you down and tell you that I have, after a long search, finally found my ideal iOS newsreader.
RSS feeds are essential to my work. It’s the only way to track hundreds (sometimes thousands) of headlines as I try to keep abreast of several major subject areas: games, technology, religion, archaeology, and science. Dozens of RSS readers, both PC and mobile, have passed through my life in the last decade or so. Sometimes we’d see each other for a while. There were good times, laughter, the thrill of new love. But they always ended in tears and heartbreak, and a “It’s not me, it’s you” speech.
I moved to Google Reader reluctantly, since I dislike the assimilationist tendencies of the Googleborg. It is, however, the only truly efficient way to manage and synchronize RSS feeds over multiple systems and devices. It’s now an integral part of my work routine.
The native Google Reader page is just fine for managing the feeds on a computer, but my iOS demands had never been met. I had the best luck with MobileRSS, but it went buggy. Feedler was meh. Pulse and Flipboard are designed backwards: aesthetics first, then usability. They’re awful and all the ballyhoo that greeted them simply proves that people are putting too many eggs in the design basket without thinking enough about power users.
Newsify, however, does it all. It handles the newspaper-style layout far better than the over-hyped Flipboard, but still manages to integrate a sidebar that allows rapid switching between groups and feeds. This is it, folks: a find as important as plutonium and s’mores … combined! The last mobile news reader you’ll ever need. At least until the developer breaks it with a new “upgrade.”
Newsify works because it’s both simple and powerful. You log into your Google Reader account, and it instantly populates the app with both folders and feeds. The app works well on a Touch or iPhone, but it really shines on an iPad. Navigation among folders and feeds is a snap with the slide-away sidebar. It’s easy to choose all folders, individual folders, individual feeds, starred items, or unread content. Newsify loads all the items faster than any similar app I’ve used. The headlines and summaries are laid out in either an unending scroll, or newspaper style format. Full text loads super-fast in a window.
It’s very attractive and readable, with the ability to modify fonts and colors, but without the fussy graphical flourishes that tend to slow down apps. Items can be marked as read as you scroll by them, or in batches, or not at all. It works exactly the way I want it to work: fast, simple, powerful.
I don’t usually blow 500 words here on a pure piece of productivity software, but if you follow a lot of Catholic blogs and find yourself looking for a more streamlined way to manage them, this is your answer. Feed them into Google Reader, open them in Newsify on your iPad, and you have a morning blog-newspaper every day. It’s fast, cheap ($1), and simple.