2 Amazing Google Reader Replacements You Haven’t Heard Of

It’s that time my friends.  Time for us all to shuffle ourselves off of Google Reader.  I’m very sad because I’ve used it every single day since it was offered to Google users.  It replaced BlogBridge, my favorite RSS client due to its lightweight server side always-available-on-every-platform appeal.  But it’s shutting down within the next few weeks.  These are sad times my friends.

We’ve all seen the discussions on sites like Lifehacker, PCWorld, and TechCrunch all claiming that there are multiple replacements and/or alternatives.  I’ve cycled through the gamut of them and found two relatively unknown gems I’d like to share with you.  I’ve used both of these for a couple of days and I can honestly say…depending on your focus when using a reader, they’re quite nice and can replace Google Reader completely for you…and chances are you haven’t heard of them.

Let me start by saying if you’re a fan of magazine style flipboard readers, nothing beats Feedly.  However, I don’t really think Feedly fits exactly with what Google Reader did.  So while I don’t mind using it for say, things to post on Pinterest…it’s not exactly what I need to get through tons of news quickly.  I find the magazine style pictures distracting when I attempt to make it through hundreds of feeds daily with a focus on news reading.  If you’re not like me, Feedly will work fine for you.  If you are like me, read on and I’ll show you 2 fantastic Reader replacements that you probably haven’t heard of.

InoReader, the Best I’ve Found

Let’s start with the best reader I’ve found to replace Google Reader…InoReader.  InoReader is a free online reader that allows unlimited feeds with a nice, minimalist UI.

InoReader

I can’t find anything wrong with the look and feel…it’s very comforting since it is very Google Reader-like.  There are some amazing options available…for instance, if you care little for social networks, you can disable anything social from appearing in your feeds:

DisableSocial

Other options you might be interested in is the ability to eliminate double posts.  This means that if you have a couple of feeds that feature redundant posts, this will eliminate one of them.  Handy if you read tons every single day:

ArticleFilterDouble

I’ve found the speed of displaying feeds to be fantastic…it’s every bit as fast as Google Reader was.  I’ve also found keyboard shortcuts to be functional and fast.  There are 2 feed layouts available and that is full articles (expanded view) and lined articles (list view).  This is perfect for someone with as many feeds as I have.

Do you want statistics?  InoReader has them.  It’s very comparable to Google Readers Trend section.

Inoreader StatsAll in all, I’ve found InoReader to be EXACTLY what I need in a Google Reader replacement.  I’m sure some people will find small, niggling things that stick out for them…but for me, it does everything I need it to.  I was able to import my Google Reader subscription file from Google Takeout in a matter of seconds…this in itself is head and shoulders above another reader I tried called “The Old Reader” which took 2 weeks to import my feeds.

InoReader also has a mobile version of its website that autosyncs with my feeds in the browser which is nice when I’m using my tablet or phone.  While there is no Android application as of the writing of this article, the mobile site is quite nice and simple and allows me to do everything I need to do and looks very similar to Google Reader’s mobile site.  There is a Chrome App also available in the Chrome Web Store.  Add things in like ability to search through your feeds, multilanguage support, as well as Pocket and Instapaper integration and you’ll understand why I think that this is the best Google Reader replacement available.

Final Verdict? It’s going to be sticking as my reader for a very long time.

Pros:  Fast, simple, good mobile experience, Android App due for release in July, Standalone login or Google authentication, uses own engine to drive feeds, sound alerts, desktop notifications, ability to change skins/themes.

Cons:  No tags yet (planned for later), Reordering of feeds not yet available (also planned), a few other small things detailed here.

Homepage:  http://inoreader.com

Red Tree Reader – Beauty in Simplicity

Maybe InoReader has too much going on for you.  If that’s the case, you’ll love the minimalist approach of Red Tree Reader.  Please be aware that Red Tree Reader is DEAD simple…as in, there are absolutely NO distractions or features that get in the way of your feeds.  The news is front and center.

red tree readerWith both whole article view (expanded) and a compact view (list) you can cycle through news quite quickly.  Red Tree Reader supports the same keyboard shortcuts you’ve come to know and love in Google Reader.  It’s creators GUARANTEE it is bug free…and you can read more about this nice minimal reader here.

If you’re looking for a reader that matches Google Reader but doesn’t attempt to plug into every social network on the planet while implementing whiz bang bells and whistles that you’ll never use or want to use, Red Tree Reader is for you.  I tried the mobile site in my phones browser and found it functional but all together NOT ideal.  If mobile RSS is your thing, give it a go and see what you think…I think this would work better on a tablet than on a phone.

My final verdict on this reader is that it will find a home with those of us who hate fluff and think content is king.

Pros:  Lightweight, fast, support for keyboard shortcuts, minimalistic, imports feeds quickly and imports google feeds in seconds, quick feed displays

Cons: Not for social network people, very plain and thus not for people who want anything flashy, can’t reorder feeds, no feed icons, mobile site isn’t the best feed experience at all but works.

Homepage:  http://redtreereader.com

Summary

These 2 RSS readers have a lot going for them and I haven’t seen any of the big tech news websites say anything about them.  This is really a shame because they’re two of the best ones I’ve found over the past few months since I started looking.  I hope this post helps you make a decision in your quest to replace Google Reader.  If you have further questions about these readers, I’ll do my best to answer them in the comments.  Thanks for reading!

Lightweight Command Line Downloading with Aria2

Sometimes you just want a quick and easy way of downloading  large files.  If you’re like me, you want this with as little of a memory footprint as possible.  Aria2 gives me this ability.  When downloading a torrent for a recent Linux release, I was able to do this with only 5MB of memory being used.  No other download programs can give me this.

What’s nice about aria2 is that you can download the same file from multiple sources (mirrors) and cut your download times with each source.  You can also open multiple pipes to the same download which shortens the time as well.  Let’s take a quick look at what aria2 can do for your downloads.

Downloading with Aria2

For this test I used KDE4 iso’s from OpenSuse.  First, I established a baseline using wget:

wget http://www.gtlib.gatech.edu/pub/opensuse/distribution/12.3-RC2/iso/openSUSE-12.3-KDE-Live-Build0094-x86_64.iso

This took 15 minutes 47 seconds to complete.  The file size is 941MB.  My Internet connection at home has a max download of 10MB and upload of 1MB.

Using aria2, the same file took 10 minutes 32 seconds to complete.  Here is the command I used for this:

aria2c -x2 http://www.gtlib.gatech.edu/pub/opensuse/distribution/12.3-RC2/iso/openSUSE-12.3-KDE-Live-Build0094-x86_64.iso

The -x2 in the above command pipelines the download of the ISO into 2 separate threads.  This speeds things up considerably.  Be wary of using too many threads though because many websites out there will throttle you down in speed should you open more than 3-4 threads.

Aria2 supports more protocols than you can shake a stick at including magnet links, bittorrent, metalink and even ftp.  There are many command line flags and options you can use and you can even call aria2 using JSON-RPC and XML-RPC through the web.  All together, aria2 is scalable, flexible and lightweight…there isn’t much it cannot do.  If you’re looking for a lightweight download utility, aria2 has you covered.

Sony Violates the LGPL3 and Steals KDE Icon

Looks like Sony has gone from prosecuting pirates to becoming one.  Only days after the PS4 announcement too.

Over at the KDE Blog, Jonathan Riddell explains that Sony is using a KDE icon in violation of the LGPL3 license under which it is released:

“Nowhere on their website terms of use does it list the LGPL 3 licence it may be copied under (It does say “Any unauthorised use or copying of site content, or use of site content which breaches these Terms (or their spirit) may violate trade mark, copyright and other proprietary rights, and have civil and criminal consequences” although it also says “You must seek and obtain the written consent the operator of this site before creating any link to this site” so I don’t give that page any legal credit.)”

The page in question is a ‘Choose your Vaio‘ webpage on the Sony UK site.

What does one do in cases like this?  It seems that legal action would be a waste of time and money…hopefully, Sony takes note of this and corrects the issue.  They’ve been heavily invested in Linux and Open Source for many years now with their platforms and I’d like to think they’d have learned from their rootkit debacle that you should act quickly to fix things before they blow up on the internet.

Comic Books, Linux and KDE 4

Sometimes I read comic books.  I would hope that some of you do as well.  I collected the paper version of comic books when I was a kid (Mostly Superman and Spiderman) and I’ve graduated up to the digital version now.  Comic books in digital format usually use the .cbz or .cbr file extension.  To read these in Windows or on my Linux desktop (I was running XFCE for the year or so) I had to use a specialized application…a comic reader…to do this.

The program I used in Linux was called Comix and it did a great job when I used XFCE.  I know you can also use Evince and I’m sure it does every bit a good job as Comix does.  Both are GTK applications though.  Since I now use KDE 4 on my primary workstation, I wanted to see if there was a Qt application that I could use and I was very disappointed when I didn’t find any.  So, there I was with comics in my Home Directory collecting dust with nothing preferable (read: Qt based) to open them up to read them.  I double clicked on one of them in frustration….and I was surprised when it opened right up.

Okular, the do-it-all reader for KDE4 opens up every comic book I throw at it.  I was saved…rather, my comic collection was saved.  Very handy that the KDE4 devs put in such a great tool to open so many formats.  So if you’re looking for something that can handle your comic collection, look no further than Okular which comes preinstalled with most KDE4 based distributions.

okular

Okular with PDF

Ubuntu 12.04, Amahi, and Linux Not Detecting Hard Disks

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve had this much trouble with Linux detecting a hard drive.  It brought me back to Ye Olde Linux days when 14 floppy disks housed your distribution and more times than not you didn’t have compatible hardware and had to find out via BBS what modem worked with what kernel…sometimes, it was a major pain…and that was the fun in it :)

In today’s installation of Linux…I thought I’d left those days behind.  I was wrong, unfortunately.

I downloaded Ubuntu 12.04 to install so that I could put Amahi on my video/picture/file/tv/movie share Linux machine.  Amahi is pretty much the best program on the face of the planet to use for this purpose…I’d put it up against any ‘samba-like’ distribution of Linux out there and I think it would come out on top.  Anyway, I went to install Ubuntu 12.04 and I immediately hit a problem:  it wasn’t detecting my hard drive.  I got out my notes for when I last installed an operating system on this server and it happened to be the last release of Amahi on Fedora…which was Fedora 14.  In that instance, I had to pass the nodmraid option in order for my hard drive to detect.

Easy enough.  I went into the Ubuntu options for booting.  Chose F6 and then selected nodmraid.  It booted fine and I went to a desktop.  Once there, I clicked the install icon.  Things were looking good until I went to the part of the installer where you choose a hard disk…which didn’t give me any hard disks.  I tried this process again and again…often times putting in other options such as noapic, nolapic and other awesome boot parameters using the F6 portion of the boot prompt.  No joy on any of these tries.  What could it be?

After a few minutes of brainstorming, I realized that Ubuntu wasn’t actually honoring the boot parameter for nodmraid.  Since this was the case, the hard drive wasn’t detecting.  In order to get the hard drive detecting, I should remove the dmraid information from my hard drive and see if this made a difference.  So, here’s how I fixed this problem:

  1. Instead of booting to install Ubuntu, select the option to Try it first
  2. Once there, hit up the dashboard, click on all applications, and search through all 78 until you find Terminal
  3. Once the terminal is up, type sudo su and hit enter.  You’re now root.
  4. type fdisk -l and take note of the letter designation of your hard drive that is having problems detecting (sda in my case).
  5. type dmraid -E -r /dev/sdX where ‘X’ is the letter designation of your hard drive.
  6. Answer yes to the question it asks of if you wish to remove the dmraid information on the drive.
  7. Reboot and Install Ubuntu.  It should now detect.

Not a hard thing to figure out…but it might be for some new users…and I’m almost certain Amahi users will run across this…because many of them are converts from Windows Home Server.  In this case, they’d probably be pretty freaked out having to drop down to a command line and issue commands.  Hopefully, this article will be a handy tool for them to use in order to get Ubuntu and subsequently, Amahi installed on their computer.  Thanks for reading!

Oddity with Delicious Bookmarks and RSS Feed

So today, bookmarks posted from delicious.com onto the Yet Another Linux Blog RSS feed.  This isn’t normal…I don’t post bookmarks from that service here…in fact, I haven’t used them since they were bought out.  I remember experimenting with bookmarks posting to your blog for the first month I had my delicious account…but never kept it on.

But suddenly, somebody’s bookmarks post and show up in the RSS feed here.  For that, I apologize to my RSS readers.  Rest assured, it shouldn’t happen again as I’ve deleted my delicious account.