Monday, June 14, 2010

From TV and Newspapers to RSS feeds on my iPad

About 15 years ago (give or take a few years), if you wanted to catch up with the latest headlines, you had to tune into one of the free-to-air TV news programs at a specified time in the morning, afternoon and night. Or you could buy a newspaper on your way to work or delivered to your doorstep to peruse while you sip your morning coffee. You didn't have much choice in what news you would be exposed to since the media controlled all of that. If you wanted to read articles you would buy or subscribe to magazines to catch up on the latest fashion trends or the latest and greatest gaming rig around.

It seemed that if you weren't content with what the media showed you on TV, you had to go out of your way (and pay money as well), to get the news or information that you were interested in.

15 years ago, you had to find the news. In 2010, the news finds you.

This paradigm shift of information delivery has slowly but surely changed the way that we read about news in the 21st Century, in many different ways. Here is one such way:

RSS Feeds

An RSS feed is a standardised way for a website to show updated posts whenever they are made. It is the 21st Century "subscription." Many websites these days have an RSS feed associated with them and when you subscribe, you will be notified whenever that website posts up something new. It almost makes you feel silly for constantly checking the sites you visit frequently for new posts when all this time, RSS could do it for you.

The beauty of RSS (apart from being totally free) is that it's standardisation can be abstracted and presented to you in your own personal "reader" (magazine, newspaper) where you have not only one source, but many sources of information from all over the internet. Google reader is one such web app.

Great web app for searching up new RSS feeds with content that you like, but what if you wanted to take it mobile?

But how can I make this information mobile and available at my fingertips in a nice and easy form factor, like a traditional newspaper or magazine? (laptops don't count!)

Enter, the iPad.

The iPad has recently gained a plethora of RSS feed apps which have amazed me and inspired me to write up this huge blog post as it really made me think about how the Internet has personally changed my news-seeking habits. "The Early Edition" was an interesting take in which RSS feeds of your choice were arranged into a newspaper-like format. While you're at home you can load up the latest feeds and read it later offline on the go. It was more of a novel way of reading the news, if anything.

Organising RSS Feeds into a digital newspaper was fun for awhile, but didn't truly show off the elegance and ease of use of what an iPad app could be.

Then a few days ago, "Reeder for iPad" came out. This app is by far the most elegant implementation of RSS Feeds on any device, be it a full fledged PC or mobile.

This app turns your iPad into a news portal, but it is filled with information that you WANT to read!

The screenshot here does the app no justice. It's one of those things you just have to interact with!

It's not a newspaper or a TV program of which a majority of it is content you aren't interested in. It's articles that you want to read, with pictures that you want to see, and videos that you want to watch, because YOU picked it!

In one fell swoop, the iPad is now my newspaper; is my magazine; is my TV. All in one app.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

agreed! Great apps!