Ipad ebook:The Best NEW Reader for the IPAD! - Reeder Review - AppJudgment
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The RSS reader Reeder, which I use every day in refining sources for TeleRead articles, has put out a couple of updates for its iPad and iPhone versions in the last few days. The iPad version is more on the nature of an incremental update, fixing bugs and improving full article view, but the iPhone/iPod Touch version adds support for using Readability to fetch the full text of articles—something which had already come to the iPad version, and which I had been missing from the iPhone version ever since getting another iPod Touch.
As with the iPad version of Readability, it fetches the complete text of the article and presents it in the same font and background as other RSS postings, rather than forcing the device to spend the extra time to fetch and render the webpage version. Since my iPod Touch is with me wherever I go, this is going to be a lot more useful for spending spare time on the go catching up with and evaluating articles for blogging here.
On a related note, Charlie Sorrel at Wired’s Gadget Lab has a look at ReadPad, another RSS reader for the iPad, which shares a lot of similarities to Reeder and is just as easy to use. It sounds like a useful reader, and I’m tempted to check it out, but it doesn’t sound like it has Reeder’s Readability support and that puts Reeder way over the top for me.
I just got around to doing a software update on my iPad. Among others it fetched a new update to the Reeder RSS reader, containing a remarkably useful feature that I am extremely glad to have. Although I mentioned the Reeder vs. MobileRSS controversy last week at the time the update actually came out, the nature of the update escaped my notice until now.
Reeder has added a Readability button to its user interface. When I encounter a RSS feed that does not provide the whole article (some feeds are especially obnoxious that way—most notably The Bookseller’s, which only provides the first seven words of the article), I just hit the button and it uses Arc90’s Readability to fetch and render it into an easily-readable text version within Reeder’s normal interface, indistinguishable from a full-feed RSS post. Which means I no longer have to bother visiting the site, waiting for it to render, and squinting at the page trying to read it. (Or just starring the article and going back to read it later on my computer.)
Of course, this doesn’t help with feeds such as Techmeme or Google News that contain links to other articles rather than the text of the articles themselves, but for reading feeds like The Bookseller or Ars Technica, I’ll take it gladly.
Of course, I doubt that Ars Technica is any more pleased with this innovation than it was with the similar Safari Reader (which also used Readability code). Ars’s Editor in Chief Ken Fisher was upset enough with the Safari Reader function only giving ad impressions from one page, but Reeder users now don’t have to see any ad impressions at all from the site. (Also, full text RSS feeds of Ars Technica are only available to those who pay money to subscribe—which Reeder now essentially bypasses.)
This actually seems to be the opposite of what social reading app Flipboard has done with a recent update of its own: whereas you used to have to click a button to launch a browser and read the full text of a scooped article on the web, now you actually see the top of the actual webpage in the lower portion of the iPad screen and can just pull it up to start reading. With the Reeder update, you never have to see the webpage at all.
Given the controversy that surrounded Flipboard’s permissionless scooping when it first came out (though there ended up being few actual publisher complaints), and the the similar controversy involving Pulse’s incorporation of a publicly-available New York Times RSS feed, I’m a little surprised Reeder hasn’t come in for complaints from sites that use abbreviated feeds to try to entice people into visiting their sites and displaying their ads. If it did that to web cartoons instead of textual articles, the webcomics community would have been all over it.
Yesterday, the developer of the Reeder RSS reader (which I’ve found to be the best RSS reader for either iPhone or iPad) noticed that MobileRSS’s latest version had added some disturbing similarities to Reeder’s interface. He posted some comparison shots on his site and tweeted about it, and the forces of indignant social-network-using Reeder fans went to work.
It wasn’t long before both Instapaper and Read It Later, two of the major bookmarking/reformat reading services, both threw their support behind Reeder, and shortly afterward MobileRSS’s developer said it would be resubmitting the app with the similarities to Reeder removed.
One of the things I find most interesting about this is that it’s a case of a “ripoff” similarity that was resolved not through costly, lengthy legal action, but rather through the voices of indignant users and curious press—and resolved within a day of its announcement, at that. If you’ve got the community on your side, do you really need the lawyers?