I really love NetNewsWire – it fits the bill for (almost) all of my aggregation needs. It even has a rather sophisticated syncing mechanism, which got even more advanced after the the product was purchased by NewsGator.
But syncing isn’t really for me. Don’t get me wrong, I want to read news from more than one machine – just very irregularly. And sometimes suddenly. I don’t want the overhead of syncing all the time just so my subscriptions will be available when I happen to pop out of town for a few days.
The fact is, 95% of my news reading happens on my main development machine, and maybe 5% happens on my laptop. So my special low-tech version of “syncing” involves two simple steps:
- Make sure my laptop has the same subscriptions as my desktop.
- Make sure the “unread articles” on either machine match my last reading.
I found myself doing some pretty crazy things, like simultaneously “catching up” on one machine and then “marking all as read” on the other. Finally, I realized I didn’t need to be so particular about things. I could do just fine if I knocked out “almost all” of the posts I had already read on the other machine. How to do this? Pretty simple. Just mark everything as read, and then mark everything after a certain date as unread.
I decided to take that certain date from a cue article. That is, an article I’ve selected in NetNewsWire. By running Mark Unread Since Date while I’m looking at any article in NetNewsWire, I instruct the program to mark as unread every article released at that time or later. So I can browse through some recently read feed, select an article, and “go back in time” to the unread articles from that era and later. By identifying a particular post as “something I read,” I’m guaranteed that nothing I haven’t read will be omitted (assuming I finished “catching up” on the other machine).
This really works for me. I’m careful to pick articles from a time that is “roughly a few minutes before I stopped reading on the other machine,” and have the easiest time of staying “in sync” between the machines.