X1 and NewsGator Get Together

X1 Technologies, Inc., the hard disk indexing guys, have teamed up with NewsGator Technologies, the RSS-in-your-Outlook guys, to allow fast searches through your subscribed RSS feeds and Usenet newsgroups.

This basically involves an extra element in X1, which “lets a user sort through the aggregated messages and find the content they want, narrowing and displaying results as they type the search terms.  Results are displayed in the X1 preview pane for a quick read or, with a double-click, can be
opened in Outlook.” For now, folk buying X1 Search get NewsGator, which normally sells for $29, free. NewsGator users can buy X1 at a 30% discount.

So how good is this? Robert Scoble, the Microsoft blogger, adds his seal of approval in the X1 press release, calling it “a little bit of Longhorn for you before it ships”. I’m a bit more cautious: Although I’ve written glowingly of both products before, I’ll air a confession: I don’t use either on a regular basis. Why? First off, I’m not a big Outlook fan. It’s big, slow to load, and doesn’t do things I want it to. I use it for contacts, but not for email, so having RSS run through Outlook doesn’t really make sense for me.

And X1? I think X1 is an excellent product, and the guys behind it have raised the bar in terms of listening to users and making something that really works well. Are they there yet? I don’t think so. A couple of things holding me back: It’s not powerful enough to launch or store complex searches and its file viewer is nice but doesn’t remember changes to the way you view data. Don’t get me wrong: For ordinary daily use it’s perfect, but if you’re a power searcher, I don’t think it’s the one. Yet.

Box: New to Newsfeeds

 New to Newsfeeds? RSS for beginners
 
How do I get started reading newsfeeds? Newzcrawler and Feedreader, both mentioned in the main article, are the best programs to start with. Feedreader is still in development, but felt pretty stable to me. To add a Really Simple Syndication, or RSS feed, just paste in the link [more on this in a bit] and it should start showing up immediately. Newzcrawler even lets you send stuff from other people’s feeds to your own blog, or on-line journal, or RSS feed. Each program adds the feeds in a slightly different way, but in most cases you’ll be asked to copy a link [the Web site address that appears at the top of your browser] into the newsreader. These links usually end in a full stop, then three letters: RSS, RDF or XML (don’t worry which; they all do the same thing).

This sounds scary. If all this is a bit daunting, try Serence’s KlipFolio (www.serence.com), which is a bit more polished — though still free to the end-user. Now into its second version, it supports Korean and Chinese language Klips. Download the software and then browse the various Klips on offer. An Outlook user? Try NewsGator (www.newsgator.com) which folds all your RSS feeds into an Outlook folder. Or if you’re brave, check out clevercactus (www.clevercactus.com), which is an Outlook-style personal organizer with RSS built in. Here’s a provisional list of newsreaders: www.hebig.org/blogs/archives/main/000877.php

How do I find interesting feeds? A couple of places to start: Feedster (www.feedster.com) is the Google of the RSS/blog world. Another option is Syndic8 (http://www.syndic8.com/), a more select, and searchable, list of feeds. You’ll notice a lot of sites offer their own feeds so you don’t have to go hunting for them. Can’t find a feed for a site you’re interested in? Check out MyRSS (http://myrss.com/) which allows you to build a custom feed for any site, even if it doesn’t have a feed. It’s pretty straightforward, too.

How do I set up my own newsfeed? First you need material, which means setting up a blog. That’s easy enough: my favourites are Weblogger (www.weblogger.com) or Blogger (www.blogger.com). Once you’ve set up a blog, both sites offer simple options to add an RSS feed automatically. That’s it. If you’re a company thinking of setting up a feed, you may want to talk to the pros. The coding is quite simple, but there are ways to add your logo, and other corporate stuff, to ensure some quality control.

Tell me more? Can’t, sorry, I’ve run out of space. Here’s where you can find out more about the whole thing, however:www.faganfinder.com/search/rss.shtml