This is a technology success story. Due to my status as an XML maven, I got sucked into a long-running debate over an XML news syndication format called RSS (I could provide a link, but you'd do better typing "RSS" into a search engine). The subject was how to use namespaces, but the result was that I got interested enough to go looking for an "RSS Aggregator Program" for my own use.

A bit of poking around took me to Ranchero Software's "NetNewsWire" program, which is based on Cocoa and thus Mac OS X only. It's lightweight, quick, nice-looking, and gets out of the way.

Of course, when you click on a news item it sends the browser off to display it. Unfortunately, Cocoa has very limited tools available for browser control, and if you're using IE or Mozilla, it pops up a whole new browser window for each story, which is irritating and slow. If, however, you download the excellent Chimera browser for Mac OS X, Gecko-based but built with Cocoa, you can get it to open each new story in a tab, which is much faster. Altogether a seamless, low-overhead, and excellent news grazing environment.

When browsing around the lists of RSS news sources, I chanced across "World Press Review" - this is a magazine that my parents subscribed to when I was a child - it was called Atlas then - and is still around, consisting of nothing but material harvested from non-US publications around the world. As I type this, items are available from The Daily Mail & Guardian of South Africa, Pan-African news agency of Dakar, Senegal, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The Guardian, Le Monde, Arutz Sheva (pro-settler publication from Israel), and the Islamic Republic News Agency from Iran. This is pretty darn cool.


author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
September 18, 2002
· Technology (86 more)

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