This is an area I’m never satisfied with, and I seem to fiddle with it every few months. I find Inoreader is a mixed bag as a reading environment, though I’m continuing to use it because it’s unparalleled for filtering massive numbers of RSS feeds to find a few details that I need for my work.
So I’m experimenting with moving more over to newsletters, and then comes the question of what’s the ideal tool for reading newsletters. Inoreader? Matter?? Readwise Reader
I’m finding, to my surprise, that the ideal tool for reading newsletters may be … wait for it … email.
I do not share the general Mac power-user enthusiasm for tools that parse articles to strip out ads and make everything look the same. I find they introduce enough problems that they’re not hugely superior to the originals.
If I understand you right, I do something similar. There are feeds I have for professional reasons that I’m basically mining for keywords. I want to see almost nothing but what I’m looking for. Heavily filtered RSS works best for this. Then, there are feeds I just want to read either for pleasure (or if for professional development, pleasurable professional development.) Nice newsletter interfaces that have fewer filtering tools work best for this, and that includes the newsletter section in my email client.
I hear you on this, and I always come back to Reeder with iCloud sync.
I hear the email argument. While it may work for a lot of people, I’ve never been big on newsletters or mailing list messages clogging up my Inbox. No matter how useful that mailing list appears, I find it lasts about 3-4 days before having to deal with that email each day becomes a chore that outweighs any useful tidbits I may glean from the article.
For me personally, the ads being removed from the articles are the only way I can stomach the content. If it comes down to reading the article with ads or not reading it, I’ll leave it be.
Given your post above, I’d suggest Flipboard as a potential if you don’t mind ads. It lays everything out in a nice manner, but it also takes you to the original articles on the web and doesn’t try to format things in a standard fashion – though that is an option if you dig deeper…and not implemented as seamlessly as other apps.
If it’s more newsletters, I am finding Readwise Reader sucks these in pretty well. While I don’t think it’s ready to be my RSS manager just yet, the ability to send emails to it is quite handy and they do a good job of it.
Yup, that’s exactly it. I have a large number of feeds I filter for professional reasons, mining for keywords and reading maybe 1%. Maybe 0.01%. And then the feeds I read for pleasure or personal growth, of which I read 30-40%.
What do you use for filtering feeds? And what do you use for reading newsletters?
@AppleGuy Sure, getting rid of ads is great but I find every read-it-later tool with a built-in parser ends up introducing its own errors. And they also flatten out design choices that give an individual article or website personality.
The reader view built into Safari seems to be by far the best of the bunch.
Filtering: Newsblur and DevonThink (different kinds of filters, though working very slowly on consolidating in DT.) I’d probably choose Inoreader over Newsblur if starting today, even though Newsblur is a lot cheaper.
Reading for fun: Newsblur/Reeder (slowly weaning off), Readwise Reader (experiment that I can’t quit) and The Feed in my Hey email (love Hey just for the emailing, so this use feels free.)
Sometimes I think I’m being old-fashioned, but I still have a “don’t cross the streams” mentality when it comes to RSS and Read It Later. Like you’ve all said here, my RSS is mostly just collecting articles that I need to sort through. My Read It Later App should be content I’ve already curated that just needs reading. They’re different actions, and I think there’s value in having different apps for that.
Email is the bane of my digital life. I love anyone who writes in Substack, which has RSS. The rest languish in my inbox until I occasionally remember to move them to my Read It Later.
Mostly I’ve accepted the problem probably isn’t RSS or email, it’s me. Stuff goes into the Read It Later app, and then rarely comes out.
Actually I saved this link earlier in the week which I might read in a year’s time, the headline caught my eye and I suspect I am guilty of whatever they’re talking about: Unraveling the “Aspirational Aspect of the Save” (it’s an interview with Pocket’s CEO).
I use Reeder for RSS. I still mourn the loss of Google Reader (it’s now a decade since Google destroyed its best ever product - time flies when you’re busy ruining the internet).
I use Readwise Reader for Read It Later. It’s not the app’s fault I’m not actually reading it later. (Sometimes I think they should allow the notification badge and show me my 1000+ unread articles so I feel shame. But I’d probably just disable it.)
My read-it-later app is actually a maybe-read-it-later app. I’m OK with that.
I recently heard an interview on Ezra Klein with woman who wrote a book about cultivating a readers’ mind. She and Klein were both very sensible about it. They said social media is great but social media cultivates skimming. Reading is a different activity. Particularly for books, but also for articles.
I find the same is true for RSS. When I’m reading RSS, I’m skimming headlines and blurbs. Occasionally I’ll actually read an article if it’s not too long and looks lightweight. But if something looks like it requires focus, I drop it into my read-it-later app.
I’d like to do better about setting aside articles I really do need to read later, and separating that stuff from my maybe-read-it-later list.
To add to the discussion , I have another challenge which is interoperability.
I used to rely entirely on feedbin for rss and email ingestion and then sort through it and curate the read later list within reeder.
It worked rather well in terms of workflow velocity and experience.
But recently I added an android eink device to my devices and I like to use it for reading . It’s great for books but I would like to consume my read later list on it too.
I went with Readwise reader which seems to be ok . I am just struggling for some reason to import my reeder read later list using Readwise CSV import.
If Readwise invested in a snappier interface and more advanced RSS management features it could become my all-in-one articles reading house - maybe even PDF and books are they seem to also go in these waters.
Was the lady Maryanne Wolf? I haven’t read her latest book, but she writes sensible things about the science of reading.
I like that you’ve brought this up, because I’ve been feeling guilty about Reader since I commented in this thread last week and have been reading in it a bit, but in doing so I’ve realised (re-remembered?) that there’s an unsatisfactory issue with Read It Later apps that I haven’t yet implemented a solution for. For me, there are 3 kinds of digital “read it later” action:
Things I have to read later
Things I’d like to read sometime
Things I’m saving to explore (e.g. an interesting website) (I.e. I’m not really saving the page, I’m saving the whole site to have a look at)
I need to figure out clear workflows for these I think, because I don’t know that there’s an app that’s making that clear distinction between “have to read/want to read” yet (I know tags exist, but I don’t have a habit of tagging at the point of saving). And really, the “have to read” shelf should get to inbox zero, but the “like to read” shelf may always have items in it, and that’s ok (mine definitely would).
I’m also realising with Reader that although it can handle PDFs and ePubs, I actually probably don’t want it to. Like my desire not to cross the streams with RSS and read it later, I think I’m coming to the realisation that books and PDFs are better in their own app. The act of reading is not the same for web articles and books, and I can’t get in the right mindset when they’re mixed like this. (I also find it very distracting to open Reader to continue with a PDF only to see my big list of unread web articles, which are often more tempting…)
I have been wondering whether I do need two Read It Later apps, with different uses. I used to have Pocket before I switched to Reader, which I didn’t really have any opinion on (it did its job and I liked it’s clean interface).
Again though, I am wondering if the problem is me. Do people usually run more than one Read It Later app?
I’m not aware of an app that would be a perfect fit for you.
I use GoodLinks. It does an excellent job of clipping articles (much like Safari Reader, Evernote, etc.) which you can tag or star. And the iOS/iPadOS version allows you to export articles as PDF, Plain Text, or Markdown which might be useful if you decide to ‘roll your own’ solution.
I am torn between Inoreader and NetNewsWire. I like NNW as a separate app on the Mac (vs a browser tab). However it does not pick up certain articles - specifically Kottke.org’s “quick links”. I am not sure why. So that is frustrating. I don’t like Inoreader’s interface as much, it just feels not as intuitive. I’m not sure where I’ll end up.
For unread stuff I usually just leave it “new” until I read it. I don’t have a large enough backlog to warrant another app.
I was a Feedly user but left early this year, prior to that Newsblur.
This is exactly how I use Readwise Reader and GoodLinks.
Reader is for anything I want or need to read with intention, be it a book, an article, a newsletter, or, very occasionally, a carefully selected RSS feed. It’s for anything I suspect I will highlight and take notes on. The fact that Reader will automatically port my highlights into Obsidian seals the deal for me.
GoodLinks is my read-it-later app for casual grazing—for the kinds of “hmmm … looks interesting” stuff that I might want to read in line at the grocery store or in a waiting room or while I’m waiting on interminable hold.
I use News Explorer for my RSS feed. It’s for grazing. There is nothing in there that I must read, just things that I might want to read.
Note: I don’t rely on RSS for all (or even most) my news or reading material. I’m a paying subscriber to a couple of newspapers and several magazines and journals. I’m trying to craft a disciplined workflow that will take me to these places first before I dip into my RSS feed.
The death of Tweetbot has really helped wean me off of empty calories skimming.
This is a great conversation. I’ve found that I don’t like Readwise Reader’s parsing, and was leaning toward Matter. But then I thought I like Readwise Reader for organizing links, annotation, and occasional book notes, so I want to keep that too. This was seeming like too much complexity and financial expense.
I think Goodlinks is the answer. And maybe DevonThink for annotations, rather than Readwise Reader? I already own DT.
I think there are three types of clipping for me:
Must read. Often these are articles I need for work.
Want to read. Stuff about productivity, my favorite TV shows, favorite writers and books, history.
Might want to read. Example: I saw what looked like a funny article this morning about why you should check bags rather than limit yourself to carry-on.