May 17, 2011
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July 30, 2010
In the early days of RSS I spent some little time scouring the web and a little less time trialling a series of different RSS readers. Few have come as close to ‘home’ for me as SharpReader. Simplicity itself SharpReader’s display is crystal clear; the updates arrive at regular, definable intervals; it is devoid of the advertising noise typically associated with RSS aggregators and the application size is low so it doesn’t hit your PC performance unlike leaving a web-based aggregator open throughout the day.
Subscribing and unsubscribing to feeds is a simple right and left click. By supporting OMPL (Outline Processor Markup Language) SharpReader makes your reading easily transferrable between aggregators or devices for those with a wandering eye or work location.
Some of my favourite features:
• Drag and drop feed subscription enabling you to consume the output of simple syndication or complex Boolean search algorithms for the Jonny’s of the world
• Grouping – to easily follow similar resources or discussions
• Manageable pop ups
• Sits in the system tray so I can grab it when I snack on news
• Images appear quickly within the same interface
April 20, 2010
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For me, the Q&A threw up two areas of real interest. Number one is the open admission that Google is becoming a competitor to many of its partner companies. How do you manage that sort of relationship? Schmidt talks about the upcoming Chrome operating system and how it will realise the vision of cloud-based computing, removing the need for expensive hardware and bringing down the cost of device ownership. How do you square that vision with the device manufacturers that Google is working with? They’re locked in a constant battle of technical one-upmanship on specs yet Google is talking about a future where less is more. Surely there’s trouble ahead?
Secondly, this piece clearly shows that Google is on a collision course with Apple. We know the relationship has already soured with Schmidt quitting his place on the Apple board, but with him describing Google as an “information company” and talking upfront about the importance of applications, Google seems to have moved on from the world of search and is now on a mission to bring portable, connected, affordable and engaging computing to everyone and anyone that wants it – and that is surely where Apple wants to be as well. There’s a good piece on the ensuing ‘war’ between the two giants on Electricpig.
All told, I find it hard not to like Schmidt and the vision he paints for Google. There’s a simplicity about the company that stretches from the single search box at Google.com right the way through the products and services and into Schmidt’s vision for a more simplified way of connecting and communicating. The question is, do Google’s current crop of partners feel the same?
March 26, 2010
So, after months of deliberating and speculation, Murdoch has today come out and announced that access to The Times and Sunday Times’ online content will be charged as of June – with daily access for £1 and weekly for £2.
New websites will be launched in May for each title – replacing the existing timesonline portal – and it sounds like there’ll be limited free access to entice readers once the paid content sites launch.
That a major publication has come out with a paywall is hardly a surprise, but it is certainly high risk. The reception has been mixed – certainly if you simply consider the newspaper content on its own, it seems slightly extravagant to charge for what is currently free; that idea’s not going to get very far in the Dragon’s Den.
However, the Times has quietly upped the ante with its acquisition of digital partners and content providers and it could be these added ’membership’ style benefits which could tip the balance between simply paying for news content, and being part of an entertainment hub – the Times is certainly already associated with quality culture and cultural insight.
The major issue this development throws up however is that Murdoch, despite being something of a publishing leviathan, doesn’t own everything online, and if other newspaper publishers go down the same route, the market will become incredibly siloed and surely disenfranchise the customer. (We’ll not mention the problems having multiple access / subs to every newspaper would throw up for a PR Agency).
If key sites have to be individually paid for, it’s going to get very expensive very quickly for a consumer – and micro-payments will only work if there’s a unified platform to base the content on, (rather like a pre-paid Oyster card network for news), which of course doesn’t exist.
We’ve seen the problems similar approaches have encountered in the mobile space with the walled garden approach – surely content owners will have learnt its lessons here?
The internet has democratised information and made knowledge ‘free’ to an extent – does it really need to be boxed back up again?