Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Taming The Obsolete Blackberry

If, like me, you are an RSS junkie, reading updates is your favorite use of a smartphone.
I have been exploring some of the means to reads on my weakass old BB 8310. Limited by speed and memory, but unwilling to give up the dozens of feeds, I tussled with the Guordian Knot. Here is what I found.

First, I limited my exploration to apps that are free, require no more subscriptions, and have a hope of running on this old Blackberry.

The pre-eminent and ubiquitous Viigo was first. Too big, too many non customizable fields. Then Viigo's news only version. Just OK, still big and inelligent.  Even the plethora of games on iPhone are not as satisfying as gettin down with the news about my interests.  So old school web.

Next Google Mobile. Have to take the whole thing to get Reader. Gigantic. Slow, always have to open the browser to read a story, so what's the effing point?

Then Bolt Browser to look at my Reader page in a full web rendering. It works, but the scrolling made me mad. And slow.

Then the native BB browser. I know, it is an accepted fact that that browser sucks. I am ashamed to admit it, but it works, albeit slowly. I mentioned my BB is an 8310, right? My gripes, when marking stories read, the server returns an error. And navigating through stories online is aggravating, just like the Google Reader experience on my laptop. Stupid Google Reader.

Reinstalled Snaptu. Efficient program. Many options to delete or use, like weather, facebook and Twitter. All in a tiny footprint. The news reader is quite good, a nice collection of headlines, leading to a first paragraph, then a link to the original story in the browser. That takes you directly, simply there. Clean, efficient.

So I'm back to using Snaptu. I like the RSS reader. The interface is OK, though inputting anthing is Java-ugly. The fact that it works on regular cell phones is amazing, and the lack of power and fancy interface a limitation I accept, a limitation of my device. I admire the Twitter and facebook clients, they work, sacrificing a few features of the native apps and their elegant interfaces, but they work well for basics.

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