Hack 39. Read News and Blogs on the BlackBerry


RSS and Atom feeds offer a smaller version of a web site, but some or all of the same content. By using an aggregator, you can cluster all sorts of related sites together and read news and other data from a variety of sources large and small.

There are a variety of ways to get your RSS feeds onto your BlackBerry, but my favorite is to use Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com/).

Bloglines is a web-based RSS reader, which sounds kind of goofy in a way because you're trying to leave the web browser behind when you're scouring over your feeds. Fact is, Bloglines is quite brilliant due to one critical reason: it keeps track of what you're reading no matter where you're logged in from. When you log in via your desktop PC, your PowerBook, a computer at a friend's, a public terminal, or your BlackBerry, you'll never see the same article twice if you use Bloglines (unless you mark it "Keep New"). Using Bloglines will cut down dramatically on the flood of things you are confronted with at any given time, and certainly helps make your RSS feeds more useful on the go.

Using Bloglines via its default web interface isn't the best way to view it on your BlackBerry, however. You may like using Bloglines Mobile (http://bloglines.com/mobile/) in the BlackBerry browser, which will work fine.

An alternative is using Berry Bloglines (http://www.thebogles.com/berry_bloglines.html), a fantastic utility that connects you to Bloglines via a little proxy server that converts news items into easier to read formats for the BlackBerry. It optimizes the content it receives via some magic with Python. Although Phillip Bogle did not toot his own horn about this application in this book, I'll do it for him: Berry Bloglines is awesome.

There is a possible alternative to Bloglines Mobile called litefeeds, which is still undergoing development (see http://www.litefeeds.com/). They have a BlackBerry client application in the works, and, last I checked, it was a service with a lot of promise. Keep an eye on it. Litefeeds is specifically geared for mobile RSS, and it is always possible that Ask Jeeves (the current owner of Bloglines) will make Bloglines lame in some way, so it'll be very nice to have a service to step up should the worst happen. Best case scenario, Bloglines isn't the only game in town anymore and the two of them can keep each other on their toes.

If you prefer the traditional way of reading RSS feeds using a dedicated client application, try Newsclip from Virtual Reach (http://www.virtualreach.com/) and Berryvine RSS (http://www.berryvine.com/). In my opinion, they're the best of the breed for dedicated RSS feed reading on the BlackBerry. The other applications in this category just don't even come close to it. Both Newsclip and Berryvine's RSS have trial versions available, letting you examine all their features without any cost to you.


Newsclip

Virtual Reach includes a nice index of possible RSS feeds for Newsclip users, much like NetNewsWire or other desktop RSS aggregators. You can also add your own RSS feeds to subscribe to, and read them on the go. What tends to work best for me is to put only the critical RSS feeds on my BlackBerry in Newsclip. This usually means a couple of my favorite Craigslist RSS feeds and some work-related feeds that let me feel like less of a slacker while in line at the DMV.


Berryvine

You can differentiate feeds in Berryvine RSS by applying colors to them green for General, orange for Entertainment, etc. You can also categorize feeds and view feeds by category, which is a helpful trick as well.

It's quite easy to get your feeds on a BlackBerry. It is one of the areas where a lot of development hours are being burned, which is fortunate for all of us BlackBerry users!

R. Emory Lundberg



BlackBerry Hacks
Blackberry Hacks: Tips & Tools for Your Mobile Office
ISBN: 0596101155
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 164
Authors: Dave Mabe

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