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the evenings out here - Thoughts, rants and musings about absolutely everything except photography. Or cats.

Too pretty for its own good

The Times RSS reader doesn’t float my boat.

in Mac , Tuesday, April 07, 2009

So I decided to cough up for this year’s MacHeist bundle. Since there was at least two applications I wanted anyway (LittleSnapper and iSale) I was basically getting over 10 other quality applications for free. Some of them looked interesting, some less so.

The first one I tried was the radical new RSS reader, Times.  Times is a complete departure on the RSS reader paradigm. It presents pages, where feeds can be assembled in such a way as to look like a newspaper page. Here, for example, is a page with 3 feeds from Iceland:

TimesScreenSnapz001.jpg

Pretty, isn’t it ?

Unfortunately, that’s about all it is.  At a very basic level, Times is a nice idea. However, the user interface, in my opinion, crosses the boundary between inventive and non-standard too far. The process for managing feeds becomes tedious very quickly. The gratuitous “inner pages” on the left margin of the window might be ok if they were somehow functional, but they’re not.  The page idea would be great if the layout could be customised, but apart from some minor scope for resizing areas, it can’t be.

Page content (from feeds that is) is retrieved, where possible, but there is no way to read or respond to comments without exiting to the default web browser.

And, sadly, it is also fairly sluggish and unstable.

So, nice try, but no banana. For a moment it makes NetNewsWire look pretty tired, but the huge imbalance of style over functionality ends up making it look like one of those applications that give Macs a bad name.

(Oh yeah, obviously, it’s Mac only)