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Chill Pill brings RSS Fever to your desktop

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 02:10 PM

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#2 User is offline   jcwacky 

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 11:13 PM

Fever does look very cool, and I'm close to moving to it from Google Reader, but from what I can see I'm going to really miss 2 things in particular:

1- The ability to cache articles for offline reading on my iPhone (using Byline). Amazingly useful when on holiday.

2- The ability to view the web page of an article in the reader rather than having to open it separately (via Better Google Reader Firefox extension).

Looks great though!
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#3 User is offline   David Chartier 

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 06:11 AM

View Postjcwacky, on 08 September 2009 - 11:13 PM, said:

Fever does look very cool, and I'm close to moving to it from Google Reader, but from what I can see I'm going to really miss 2 things in particular:

1- The ability to cache articles for offline reading on my iPhone (using Byline). Amazingly useful when on holiday.


I can neither confirm nor deny that offline iPhone apps are in the works for Fever. Yep. Can't confirm it, can't deny it either. The tragedy. ;)

Quote

2- The ability to view the web page of an article in the reader rather than having to open it separately (via Better Google Reader Firefox extension).

Yea I really appreciated this with NetNewsWire, but FWIW, I learned to get over it, since I think Fever is worth it. Plus, I use plugins like Glims that add auto-session restore to Safari, so I just open Fever stories in tabs and keep them around or send them to a service like Instapaper for reading later on my iPhone.
This isn't who it would be if it wasn't who it is. - Trey Anastasio
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#4 User is offline   TheMacAvenger 

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 10:32 AM

Some thoughts from someone who bit the bullet (i.e. - ponied up the $30 for Fever, and downloaded Chill Pill):

First off, let's dispense with Chill Pill: it is an unqualified plus for Fever. I used to run Google Reader as a Fluid instance, but it never really worked right when I listed "Google Reader" as my default RSS reader in OS X. The advantage to desktop readers, whether they're NewsFire or NetNewsReader or any other, is that they can be used in place of Safari as the default news reader application. Fluid instances can't really do this well.

But Chill Pill can.

And, as the review points out, it also allows you to do a number of nifty things with Fever that you just can't do in a standard browser. So, thumbs up for that! I don't know how the folks at Conceited Software made this free, I'm just glad they made it, period - and the "free" part is merely icing on the cake.

Now, on to the not-so-good news. I completely understand why Fever's developer would feel the need to charge up-front for the app, and not offer any refunds. He's got to make money, and it's too easy to steal the source code once it's in your hands, so from a protection-of-intellectual-property (not to mention profitability) standpoint, it makes perfect sense.

Unfortunately, it also means that in the age of Google's very capable - and free - reader, it's going to make a lot of people think twice before shelling out $30 on an RSS solution when there's such good stuff available free or nearly free. And that goes DOUBLE because they can't do the usual two-week (or feature-limited) trial period like they can with most other software on all platforms. You want to try Fever? You've got to spring for the entire thing, and sorry, pal - no refunds. Like I said, I understand why the developer does it this way - I just think that with such stiff - and free - competition from well-known developers like Google, it's going to be difficult to get people to buy a $30 pig in a poke.

That's the biggest part of why I'm offering these thoughts. If you want to see what Fever looks like, or get a basic idea of how it works, I recommend the video <a href="http://www.feedafever.com">on the app's homepage</a> - it's about as thorough as you can get without actually having a hands-on chance to use Fever yourself. It goes a bit quickly through things, and thereby glosses over some of the areas where you might be tempted to say "wait, hold on, how does __X__ work, again?" But overall, it gives a pretty detailed look into the operation and looks of Fever.

From my experience, Fever does what it says it will do: function as an RSS reader that has the add-on feature of weighting links which are referenced repeatedly into a "hot" category. And there are obvious benefits to hosting the thing yourself on a server for which you own the rights (or maybe actually physically own the server itself). Fever's fit-n-finish is top-drawer, with nary an oversight or bug that I could find in the GUI. And the iPhone-specific interface is just as good, feeling much more like a native app than a web app.

Unfortunately, that's where the problems start for me. In the desktop-browser version of Fever (or even more so in Chill Pill), there are easily-accessible commands that allow one to email or tweet links, or file them away to Instapaper and/or Del.icio.us - what I would expect of a competent desktop RSS app. I could quibble about the lack of ReadItLater support, but that's a minor issue, overall. The real problem comes in with the iPhone version. It may be an issue with the limitations of web-apps themselves, but unless I missed them completely, those links into other services are gone in the iPhone version. I am often away from my desktop Mac, and I don't carry a laptop; I rely upon my iPhone for mobile needs. Yes, it's far more cumbersome and time-consuming than a laptop or desktop, but there are plenty of native iPhone RSS apps that come with hooks into various social media sites. iNews uses Instapaper, ReadItLater, Del.icio.us, Twitter (both with and without commenting), and I may have even forgotten one or two others. With the Fever web-app? Nada.

That's almost a deal-breaker for me. I don't know whether, for your $30 (a not-inconsiderable sum), Shaun Inman ought to write a genuine standalone iPhone app that hooks into Fever but also has the functionality of being able to send links into these various social sites, or whether someone else can/should write such an app. But I do know that if I've got to rely upon Byline or iNews or Feeds (and therefore Google Reader) for my mobile newsreading, and THEN use Fever on my desktop, it's actually a step BACKWARDS for me.

Bottom line? I really want to like Fever - it frees me from the "all-seeing eye of Google" as someone elsewhere put it, and lets me have total control over my RSS experience...but if I can't duplicate the desktop experience (or most of it) when I'm away on the iPhone, it makes it much more difficult for me to fully commit to the system - which is a stone bummer of a thing only be able to figure out AFTER I've shelled out $30.
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