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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I’ve been avoiding RSS/ATOM/Whatever like the plague for the last couple of months. I tried paring down my subscription list from 180+ to 102 at present, but I still faced the problem of Shrook being a total pain in the ass piece of software to use.

I think an explanation of my general philosophy of software is necessary at this point. My primary deciding factor for a primary application in a particular category is its interface. If I like a program’s idiom, I’ll choose it even if it’s not the most featureful software in the category or if it costs money. For example, I use OmniWeb even though Safari is free and Mozilla is more powerful. It’s a great app and it’s getting better.

That’s not to say that the best program is static. I’ll gladly switch programs several times as new entrants come onto the scene. For example, I have a substantial library and I’ve always dreamed of cataloging the entire collection in order to really know what body of knowledge I’ve got on my shelves. To that end, I have purchased licenses for BookTracker and Library. But I’ve become recently enamored of Books very open way of doing things.

To those ends, Shrook is my news aggregator of choice. I’ve purchased a license of MacReporter, a Dock application that does the same sort of thing without using RSS, and used NetNewsWire since its beta days. I still use MacReporter on a daily basis, but NNW stopped impressing me once I discovered Shrook. Despite Shrook’s considerable flaws and insufferable performance, I still used it exclusively.

That is, until I couldn’t take it anymore. I had dutifully installed every point release of Shrook in the vain hope of ending the miserable performance (it would take twenty seconds or more to quit the app and it degraded the longer it was open, thus negating the power of a news aggregator—leaving it open all the time). Each time saw the addition of new and interesting features, makeup on a pig as they say.

Tonight I called up Shrook’s homepage and saw that the developer is posting a 2.0 preview. “Enh,” I thought to myself. “What have I got to lose? I’ve already paid for a license.” Katie bar the door! This preview of Shrook rocks. It quits like a regular program and the developer redid the interface in an even better style. Regrettably, he changed the keyboard shortcuts yet again but my muscle memory’s already picked up the changes, which have become more mnemonic thankfully.

If you’re looking for a different kind of news aggregator, I can’t recommend Shrook highly enough. It even has a web-based component that integrates nicely with the client for easy synchornization. And support good software!