Many flavours of RSS readers for iPad

title.jpgEarlier today Feedly was reintroduced to the iPad iOS world with significant buzz — Robert Scoble profiled the reader (check the video below).

One of the notable things about Feedly is its HTML 5 base — which allows the majority of functions to be device agnostic (Android, Windows Phone, etc).

But on iOS devices, there are a number of RSS readers that have made names for themselves, and are happily co-existing on my iPad.

All of these readers, in some way, tap into your various social media streams, as well as an existing Google Reader account — which is cool, as you can use the power of Google Reader to manage the feeds, then simply consume the content on your mobile device as is convenient.
 
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Some are my daily use RSS reader, and others, while interesting, just haven’t managed to keep my attention.
Here’s a few of the ones I like, and why:

 

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Zite
Currently my daily use news reader, grabs content from your Twitter stream, your Google Reader RSS feeds, and your Delicious bookmarks.

Zite gives you a very clean and polished interface consisting of algorithmically-selected stories from your content feeds.

Interestingly, you can rate and share the content. As you do this, Zite ‘remembers’ the content you’ve rated and will get smarter about displaying content to you as it learns. After a few weeks, you’ll have your own tuned and personalized digital magazine made up of the content you like to consume.

The only downside? The danger of too much ‘sameness’.  I do occasionally like to read outside my regular patterns, and I fear Zite will not expose me to some new and interesting things by only showing me more of what I like and review. Time will tell.

 

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FlipBoard
Initially my regular reader, now it’s down to about once a month. Nice display, nice method of reading, but not good enough to keep me coming back. Zite has replaced FlipBoard as my ‘visual’ reader.

 

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Reeder
The 500lb gorilla of RSS readers — quickly and efficiently manages your content. Displays RSS feeds cleanly and allows you to easily browse your feeds. Simple and elegant design has kept me using this as my regular RSS reader when I want to drill down to see what content I’ve missed from a particular source.

 

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Pulse
I have a love / hate relationship with Pulse. Nice display. Easy to use and share content. It’s my Number 2 RSS reader…except when it crashes. And it has, usually once a session when I use it, which is becoming less frequent.

 

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FLUD
An odd one that has stayed on my device, for the time being.

Similar to Pulse in layout, but not quite as efficient in handling feeds, at least from an end-user perspective.

 

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Feedly
The new kid on the block. Ties in to Google Reader, has a nifty swipe-sensitive interface to flip pages, and a very nice look and feel.

I don’t like the way the content is locked in a vertical orientation (portrait mode)…and am somewhat concerned as a blog owner that they’ve blocked out an area for inserting advertising in my blog content stream — yes they ask you to ping them if that’s your content stream, but what if I don’t — will they insert their own advertising on my content?

Regardless, Feedly is new, and has my attention for now — time will tell, especially as it grows on other mobile platforms.

Your turn — what mobile RSS reader is your daily go-to reader, and why?

Oh, and here’s that Feedly video I promised :smileyhappy:

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How your mobile phone or tablet could save your life

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Believe it or not, there are many ways your mobile smart phone could be used when you find yourself in the middle of an emergency situation,  aside from the obvious — making a phone call for emergency assistance, I mean.

The recent events in Japan and New Zealand have shown that when disaster strikes, getting the most accurate information is likely the best way to make choices that could save your life.

Browser
Provided the event hasn’t taken out the local mobile network, your mobile phone’s browser will help, linking you with many local, national, and international news services, as well as many different channels of communication (email, voice chat, twitter, etc).

Hardware
f1.jpgBut there are other ways your smart phone can help. For example, many smart phone’s display screens are bright enough to be used as a makeshift flashlight when the power goes out. Color Flashlight is a leading Android app and Flashlight 4 is one of the most popular ones in Japan right now.

As well, most phones these days know where they are in the world, either by triangulating between communications towers, wifi sources, or built-in GPS systems. Tie this in with any of the popular mapping applications and you have a good visual understanding of where you are. Helpful when you have to find an alternate route or transportation system in an unfamiliar city.

An app for that? You bet!
As you can imagine, there are many things that you could need in an emergency. And, of course, there are some apps that can help.

During the Tsunami warnings following the Japan earthquake, information like that provided by this Hawaiian-developed Disaster Alert app helped keep islanders informed about the impending waves.

And after an event, finding people and shelter is a priority.

Google launched their Google Person Finder during the Christchurch earthquake, and updated it for the Japan event.

And the American Red Cross has released their free Shelter View app.

So as you can see, with just a few bookmarks, perhaps an hour of app-store browsing, and a few dollars investment, you can have a pretty good emergency preparedness kit all tucked neatly into your mobile data phone.

I think it’s time I started on mine, what have I missed that I should add?
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Canuck going to South by South West (SXSW)?

If you’re going to South by South West (SXSW) in March, then consider checking in to the Maple Leaf Digital Lounge — a new concept that helps promote and highlight Canadian technology to SXSW attendees.

We are creating a cluster of Canadian technology that will be promoted at this event.  This is a unique concept and Canada is the only country to host a lounge at this conference. It will act as a catalyst in promoting Canadian innovation to a large technology and media audience.

The MLDL will feature Canada’s top Interactive digital media technology companies from the following industries: social media, mobile, marketing, multi-media, game development, web development or any related IT areas. At the event, each company will have a table set up/booth to showcase their technology over a two-day period.

So if you’re heading down to SXSW, the Maple Leaf Digital Lounge should be on your must-see list. And if you’re a Canadian tech. company, you may want to look at partnering.

Woot! New Canon Rebel T3 cameras

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Last year around this time, Canon introduced the Rebel T2i (also known as the EOS 550D). An awesomely speced-out camera, as all the Rebel’s are, aimed squarely at the consumer Digital SLR and home video market – yes, the Rebel T2i was a true hybrid.

Well, today Canon reprised that tune with the announcement of the two new Rebels; the Canon Rebel T3 (EOS 1100D) and Canon Rebel T3i (EOS 600D).

The T3 (pictured above) looks like a great, modern entry-level DSLR with some powerful features. Here’s a few that caught my eye:

  • High Resolution 12.2MP CMOS Sensor
    A 12.2MP (APS-C sized) CMOS sensor and DiG!C 4 processor captures high resolution images boasting exceptional sharpness, clarity, tonal range and noise reduction.
  • EOS scene detection technology
    Enhance Photos Easily – When you want to go beyond Automatic Mode, Creative Auto allows you to change the photo finish to exactly how you want it.
  • Live View Function
    Live View allows you to compose your shots using the large LCD monitor. This function is now available in ALL shooting modes including Full Auto and Movie Mode.
  • 63 Zone Dual-Layer Metering System
    This Metering Sensor analyzes colour and luminosity information surrounding the chosen AF points to optimize exposure and image quality.

That’s just a few of the features on the inside. On the outside the T3 is a very stylish camera too — available in Black, Red, Brown and Metallic Grey — some colour’s you don’t find often on DSLRs.

For a full-up preview and more details, check out DPReview’s writeup.

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Movin’ on up
But if you’re a more advanced photographer looking to graduate into a camera that offers you more creative options with more serious tech, check out the Canon Rebel T3i.

T3i_screen.jpgMore closely aligned with it’s predecessor, the Rebel T2i, the T3i breaks tradition with the previous Rebel models by adding this one cool feature; a large Vari-Angle LCD display screen – A First to the Rebel Series.

The 3.0” Vari-Angle LCD screen makes it easy to shoot from very high or low-angles. Features a 3:2 wide aspect ratio, and an incredible 1,040,000 pixel resolution, allowing for precise focus checking.

Flash!
Another neat feature when you’re using multi-flash lighting layouts is the ability to remotely trigger and control the power of external flash guns — the feature is called ‘Integrated Wireless flash controller with multi-flash support’.

Full HD 1080
And one feature that reinforces the hybrid status of the Rebel line is the ability to record full HD resolution movies at 1920 x 1080p.

Consumer or Prosumer?
Both cameras are part of Canon’s consumer line. Yet the line between consumer and professional equipment is getting quite blurred — especially with the introduction of powerful equipment like this. I can’t wait to get my hands on them and give them a workout :smileyhappy:
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Canadian Newspapers get an iPad App

Head.jpgEarlier this week several Canadian newspapers simultaneously launched a free iPad application focused on providing selected daily content from the print edition of the newspaper.

An iPaper?

Basically, the newspaper app really acts like Flipboard or Pulse in that it reformats the headlines, initial paragraph and perhaps a photo, for easy browsing, by section of the newspaper (News, Sports, etc). And, of course, there’s advertising — what newspaper would be complete without it? Happily it’s currently limited to smaller ads in the story, or full page ones at the end of stories.

Reads like a newspaper

Tap on a story on a main section page and the page reformats to display the entire story and images. Presentation can be tweaked a little bit by changing the font size, or rotating the orientation of the device, but that’s it. Pages are arranged in columns, similar to a newspaper layout, though on the iPad some stories will span a few pages.

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Innovation? Perhaps.

PostMedia, the developer of the application lists these as the main features of the app in their news release:

  • Heat Map – readers see and read “Stories Around Me” and check out which stories are most popular in their neighbourhoods and across the country
  • My Articles – saves and stores articles that users want to read later
  • Social Media Tools – the ability to comment live on stories and share with friends through Facebook, Twitter and email
  • Integrated Video Player – readers can view a variety of videos within articles
  • Photo Gallery – a wealth of high resolution photos and inline photo galleries

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For my money there are two neat features are My Articles, the ability to ‘save’ an article. Once you save a story it’s stored locally on your device to be read later.
As well, there’s a rather interesting Heat Map of ‘popular’ stories where a map is displayed with coloured dots overlaying your city — the ‘hotter’ the dot, the more that story was read in that area. I guess the intent is to show you what stories are hot in your area; an idea that has potential.

Likes

  • It’s free access to local and national news as curated by a bonifide news organization in your city.
  • Potential to be updated more often than the print edition, and available via your data connection when you want to read it. You don’t have to go to the corner store to get the latest news.
  • Download the latest edition for offline viewing.

Dislikes

  • You don’t get the content of the entire newspaper. According to the developer, “… feature customized newspaper content pulled from the best of the web and print editions as well as mobile specific content. Readers can download, save, comment, interact and customize the content, their way.”
  • No obvious way to search the content.
  • No way to print, or cut and paste content — which is available in the web editions through the tools integrated in the browser.

Will I use it?

Occasionally. It won’t be my ‘go-to’ app to find out what’s happening in my community, there are too many other live social media sources that give me the ‘now’. But if I need some indepth analysis or insight, I’ll boot up the app and see if the news I’m looking for falls into ‘the best of the web and print editions as well as mobile specific content.’ selected to be released to me for free.

Or maybe I’ll just Google it and see what the big G returns. It’s a tossup.[ad#Future Shop Post Attribution]

World’s workforce suffers huge productivity loss due to Google

Earlier today Google decided to see how much it could influence the economy and productivity of first and second world nations by unleashing a viral online attack against Internet-connected office workers world wide. Ostensibly promoted as a 30 year anniversary of a classic video game, Google is, in reality, bringing workplace activity to a crawl.

In Canada, on the Friday before a national holiday long weekend, the impact was realized when innocent office minions using Google’s website to search for information from the previously-trust-worthy search engine, were instead cleverly diverted  by an insidious interactive animation based on the ’80s arcade-game classic Pac Man.

According to a report by the Toronto Star:

Created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the creation of the video game icon, the interactive doodle actually features all 256 levels from the original monster game hit.

Just how much productivity will be lost by employers whose workers will get waylaid by the new distraction on its homepage while doing a search? Wendy Rozeluk, a Google Canada spokesperson laughed and responded: “I have no idea.”

At workplaces, universities, cube-farms, and computer science labs around the world, the Pac Man theme could be heard anytime someone tried to look something up using the popular search engine.

“This is getting annoying…” said one user, declining to give her name for fear of retribution.

But it looks like a reprieve from the Pac Man theme is close at hand. Google will remove the Pac Man Doodle mid-day on Sunday. Until then, perhaps keep the sound turned down on your system when ‘searching’.