Google/Reader - Nearly There, Nearly There...


I've been checking out the new Google/Reader UI, and although I'm not about to switch away from newspipe, am pretty damn impressed with it - it is vastly more usable than the previous iteration.

It's still a bit green, though - for instance, using Safari, clicking on an item's "e-mail" link occasionally gives a "Bad Request" error.

There are also two odd omissions:

  • There is no explicit "Archive" feature (sure, you can star stuff until the cows come home, but that won't get you anywhere), and you can't use Gmail as an archive, since you can only e-mail plain-text versions of news items.
  • There is no search feature. Nothing. Nada. You can't search inside feeds (new, starred, whatever), which is kind of odd coming from Google.

But the "shared items" feature is great - it lets you quickly edit a custom feed/newsletter covering the stuff you like and share it with friends (or the world, if you're so inclined) and add them to your blog's sidebar.

If Reader let me archive news items (complete with inline images, so that images don't go away when the source site removes them) and store them in Gmail, it would be perfect for me (provided, of course, that I could get used to the web UI).

Still, maybe there's a place for it in my news reading routine - I could conceivably use newspipe as an ad-remover, digest generator and archiving mechanism for "shared" items. As it turns out, Reader's even got a pretty decent mobile UI (although it's a pain to log in to it and it doesn't adapt images to fit on my phone's screen, something that my own solution has solved a good while ago).

Still Rolling My Own

Which reminds me, one of the first hacks I did while on vacation was to add accesskey support to my dinky little web-based front-end to newspipe (it's basically a little IMAP front-end that renders items from my news inbox and re-sizes images for mobile devices).

Turns out that Opera/Mini has no support for accesskey, but that the NetFront 3.3 browser in my K610i likes them, so I've been using NetFront for a couple of weeks now and loving having single-key access to flagging, deleting and archiving items.

Here are some blurry screenshots of the "webpipe" UI:

I'll see if I can update the newspipe CVS with it sometime soon (I've been meaning to tweak the icons for a while now).


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