I have written a number of times about the joys of using RSS newsreaders compared to standard web browsers. When it comes to viewing information that is available in RSS format (such as this newsletter), RSS newsreaders offer numerous advantages over a standard web browser.
For one thing, most RSS newsreaders automatically poll the web sites you wish to monitor so that you do not have to spend time visiting each site. This is often called "pre-fetching." All the information is periodically stored on your local hard drive and is available instantly whenever you want it. You do not need to wait for the various delays you encounter when using Internet Explorer or other web browsers. In fact, dial-up users need an RSS reader even more than those who use broadband. You can even read all the information later when you are offline. That feature alone can save a lot of money for those who use long-distance connections or cell phones to connect to the Internet.
RSS newsreaders can be used to view this newsletter, thousands of other newsletters, blogs, and material from numerous news sources, including the New York Times, CNN, BBC News, and hundreds more commercial services. You can also read the latest weather forecasts for your hometown as well as current stock market quotes. The data is transferred as a background task whenever your computer is connected to the Internet and your RSS newsreader is in operation. You simply view the information whenever you wish.
In addition, there is no spam, spyware or other, unwanted material in RSS newsfeeds. You control what information is transferred to your computer. If you find that you no longer wish to receive material from a particular newsfeed, you click a couple of times with the mouse, and the feed is deleted permanently from your newsreader.
Finally, reading RSS feeds is much more reliable than reading articles sent via e-mail. There are no spam filters involved, so you know that you always receive 100% of material that you want.
I have written about several RSS newsreaders in the past, but this week I found a new one that I like even better than my previous favorite. Blog Navigator is a freeware RSS reader for Windows that has a lot of features found typically in commercial-only RSS readers. It supports things like podcasting, dynamic blog feed creation via searching, blog grouping, off-line reading, and a bunch of other stuff. And, again, it's free.
Actually, there is a "Pro version" of Blog Navigator that costs money, but its added features will appeal only to those who write blogs. If you only read newsletters and blogs, you will have no need of the Pro version. I believe the free version will suffice for 99% of the readers of this newsletter.
Blog Navigator has numerous features not commonly found in free RSS newsreaders:
- Users can create automated searches using Feedstar and other search engines and put together the results. In other words, you can put together your own equivalent of a blog, based upon keywords that you specify.
- Tabbed Browsing: Blog Navigator can open up multiple blog windows in its own Internet Explorer-compatible browser. Alternatively, different blogs can be displayed as tiled windows.
- Blog Baskets: Users can drag and drop articles of interest into blog baskets for safekeeping to reference later.
- Export articles: Users can export articles or entire blogs to disk to read later or send to others.
- Auto RSS feed detection: Most RSS readers require users to explicitly type in the RSS feed URL. Blog Navigator can detect the RSS feed from the actual blog site that has properly supported the RSS protocol (i.e. http://www.eogn.com) so that you don't have to hunt around for the RSS feed.
I downloaded Blog Navigator, double-clicked on the newly-downloaded file, and answered a couple of questions that appeared on my screen, and then Blog Navigator installed itself quickly. I was ready to use it within a few seconds after downloading. I like it and find it is easier to use and has more features than the previous RSS newsreader I was using. I have now switched.
You should note that Blog Navigator is designed for Windows XP or Windows 2000. It probably will not work properly on earlier versions, such as Windows 98 or ME.
All in all, Blog Navigator is an easy-to-use RSS newsreader with great features and a very attractive price: free.
For more information, or to directly download Blog Navigator for Windows, go to http://www.stardock.com/products/blognavigator