20
September
2006

Shrook love 11:09 on Wednesday

Hello, I am Niko and I have a blog problem. I spend too much time with my blog and even more so with the blogs of others. I have almost 500 feeds and receive over 300 new entries every day. I have realized something needs to change.

I have played around with an idea for my own feed reader application, but not being a web and even less a native app developer, I’ve had to turn that option down. Instead, I switched from NetNewsWire to Shrook.

Oh why, you might ask. For the simple reason that no other reader but Shrook lets me filter posts by date. I tried every OS X reader and online reader I could find, and this is the only one. You see, there are certain things that characterize my feedreading:

  • I have a compulsory need to “empty the inbox”, to take a batch of items and be through with them.
  • I rarely read posts that are longer than 300 words. Usually this is about 3 to 4 paragraphs. (Half the size of this post!)
  • If the writer or headline is interesting, I might scan read a longer post. If it turns out to be interesting, I’ll flag it for later reading and never read it. My head is satisfied from knowing the interesting bits are collected, even if not read…

Shrook allows me to create smart folders that only display the posts received within the last 24 hours, limiting my reading to the most recent stuff. From this smart folder I can also filter out friends’ Flickr photos, newspaper headlines, Gizmodo and other “nice to have” feeds, leaving only the “important” (yeah, right) stuff. With this filtering there’s a remote chance to go through “everything” posted on a given day and be satisfied for “staying on top of things”.

Even better, for the days I don’t have at least an hour to peruse my feeds, Shrook has Learning Groups. Learning groups use bayesian filtering to automatically select the stuff I really, really want to read. And it’s easy to influence the filtering by clicking on Good Example and Bad Example buttons on posts, or by dragging items on top of the group.

Oops, I forgot: a bonus for people who like to look for keywords, every blog entry is searchable in Spotlight.

Sounds excellent. So what’s the catch?

First, Shrook is slow. I have a frikkin dual 2.17Ghz Intel super engine under the hood and the beachball / spinning pizza of death is getting all too familiar. When Shrook starts to fetch posts, my MacBook gets too hot to handle, fans whir up, and reading posts becomes very sluggish or impossible.

Second, Shrook sure looks like an OS X app… from OS X version 10.1. It’s got the Mac look, but in a gramps style. Brushed metal, somehow non-smooth look — beauty-wise I’d much prefer the look of NewsFire or NewsMac Pro.

Third, you can create but you can’t edit smart groups.

I’m very happy with the organizational capabilities of Shrook, and would recommend it to anyone wanting a bit of help from their feed reader in prioritizing what to read. But it needs to grow up.

2 Responses to “Shrook love”

    Links from my other posts:

  1. /personal » Blog Archive » Trying out Google Reader
  2. Comments:

  3. Byron Smith Says:

    I have loved Shrook for the last few years and it does just what I want from a feed reader, but its rapidly* growing lethargy will be the death of it or me before too long.

    *The only rapid thing about it.