Times RSS: Your Personal Newspaper

Following your favorite website doesn’t require checking it every hour or two for new stories. RSS readers provide one-stop websites, or applications, that gather all the posts from your favorite blogs or news portals. Several great applications exist for the Mac for organizing your RSS feeds, from Apple’s own Mail, to NewsFire, NetNewsWire and the web based Google Reader.

All of these applications (or web sites) are similar, displaying the unread stories in your feed like an e-mail inbox. However, Times provides an entirely different reading experience. Using your favorite websites, or the great set of default RSS feeds, Times formulates a digital newspaper, providing a more natural reading experience.

Main Times Window

Main Times Window

Setup

The first time you open up the application, it will download the latest news stories from it’s default set of feeds. The feeds are organized into five sections, Technology, World, Science, Entertainment and Sports (however these pages can be renamed or deleted).

Managing News Feeds

Managing News Feeds

If you’re new to the RSS world, it is very easy to add feeds: either drag the feed’s URL from your browser onto the drop zone, or add it manually. If you’re managing a lot of feeds, there is a handy search feature. Once a feed has been added, you can drag it to the section of your choosing. Times also includes both an import and export option, should you be moving from another RSS reader.

Reading and Saving

Double clicking on a story brings up the entire article, which is feature not found in most RSS readers. Because Times archives all of the articles on your computer, you can also catch up on your favorite news stories while offline, which is useful for travelers or those who aren’t always near a WiFi hotspot.

Reading RSS

Reading RSS

Saving articles couldn’t be easier. A handy button opens a shelf where you can drag and drop stories onto. The shelf stacks articles, one on top of the other, and is surprisingly easy to sift through, even if you have tens of stories bookmarked for later. However, there is no easy way to save multiple stories at once, requiring you to drag and drop each article onto the shelf.

Saving News

Saving News

Spread the News

Once you’ve found a perfect story to send to all your friends, you’re only a right click away from doing so. Times has built-in options to post the story to Twitter, e-mail to a friend, and send it to Digg, Facebook or even your blog.

Sharing News

Sharing News

It isn’t as intuitive as it could be, which may make it difficult for some users to get all the settings straight for their own account, but this connection to social networks is promising.

Other Alternatives

Newsfire and NetNewsWire are now free applications (they were previously shareware). Both offer application-wide searches for finding articles, smart folder organization options, and a dock icon that reflects the number of unread stories. NetNewsWire also offers a free iPhone compatible version, with syncing between the two devices through their News Gator service.

Google Reader is also a good alternative to Times. It offers a clean interface, ability to search for websites by name and not RSS feed URL, the ability to watch trends, and multi-platform support: viewable on a Mac, Windows computer, iPhone or just about any other web enable device.

However, none of these applications offer nearly as simple and Mac-like experience than Times.

Conclusion

Times is a great RSS reader, but it isn’t perfect. The intuitive layout doesn’t allow for too many RSS feeds, which may pose a problem for some users.

I enjoy using Times, which is great for checking in on the few sites I follow closely. If you’re new to RSS, Times is a great starting point, allowing you to share stories with friends through social networks and offers an easy way to save stories for later.

Times (version 1.1.3) is available now, from Acrylic Software. A single license is $30, and a 5 user family pack is available for $75.

If you got Times in the Machiest 3 bundle or have already tried it out, let me know what you think! Do you think this will beat out NetNewsWire and become the go-to RSS reader for the Mac?


  • Doda

    This app rocks, i consume him everyday of my life. Its beautiful and simple as everything should be.

  • David F.

    It’s possible to add new pages (File – New Page).

    • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

      Good catch, thanks. Article updated.

  • http://kimsokol.com Kim

    I got Times through MacHeist; found it more gimmicky than anything. I’ll stick with my Google Reader anyday. Then again, I suppose it may be okay for somebody not planning to read all their feeds and just looking to browse, as you would a real newspaper…

    • http://samanthaarmacost.com Samantha Armacost

      This sums up my thoughts on Times exactly.

    • http://www.brand_o.net Brando

      Agree with you. Times is nice but if you have lot of feeds or you’re an advanced user Google Reader and NetNewsWire are better programs

  • Mike

    You might also have a look at http://www.feedly.com, the Firefox add-on.

    “Your personalized newspage. Provides seamless integration with Google Reader, Twitter, Friendfeed, Delicious and YouTube.”

  • http://www.briancasel.com Brian

    Looks cool… but it would be COOLER if it could continuously sync with Google Reader. That way I can always access my feeds anywhere. I also have Google Reader synced with my iPhone App, Byline… you know, so that I can’t go more than 2 minutes without some kind of access to my feeds!

  • wcdel

    yeah, I got it from MacHeist. I have tried NetNewsWire as well and Times is head over heals better. Full articles can be viewed, not just short excerpts, which is an amazing tool. I never had any incentive to read whole articles till I got Times. Videos are viewable. The shelf is a great way for articles – even those from two weeks earlier – to be stored for later reading.

    Is it worth the $30. Only for a real news, RSS buff, I think. In my opinion though, it is a huge upgrade over NetNewsWire.

  • http://twitter.com/AdrianHerritt Adrian

    I like the design and layout, but it has been consistently buggy for me. It’s easy enough to add pages and feeds, and choose your positioning – when those functions work properly. Also, notification of updated articles doesn’t work consistently. Submitting a bug report a little over a month ago resulted in nothing. No responses, no updates. Thankfully I bought Times via MacHeist so didn’t buy it @ full price. One day, when the app works properly for me, I will definitely use it. It’s perfect for visual scanning of your feeds, just like a newspaper.

    For RSS, I use NewsFire (which you can tweet with also).

  • http://flickr.com/fiz FiZ

    I really like using Times. While I love Google Reader, I find it more useful for my niche-interest RSS feeds (design blogs, tech news, etc). While Times is great for catching up on general world and national news.

  • http://pw-software.com NetOperator Wibby

    This concept is awesome. Our methods of gettings news are getting to be where we are looking more and more online and not on physical mediums. This is just perfect to kind of bring that back, at least in format.

  • Duh

    I had a bad experience using Times. It keeps performing unexpected errors many many times.

  • http://www.hellopanos.co.uk Panos

    Got it through MacHeist too. I was quite excited in the beginning, as it does look really nice. It didn’t take me more than three days to realize that it is kind of childish and of no real use.
    Form follows function as many say (including myself), so back to Google reader on Fluid with the beautiful Helvetica Reader skin.
    Sorry Times. Nice attempt but it needs so much work, I doubt it will ever catch-up.

  • Shade

    Funny that you wrote about this today, I just set Times up on my machine yesterday. Not quite done adding all my feeds but i’ve got the majority of them… now to organize them properly….

    Before using Times i just used Apple Mail. I like Times though so far. Only thing that annoys me is that curved “paper” when you open an article to read, it’s annoying to me and a bit too far in regards to making it like a newspaper. Besides that though I enjoy it quite a bit.

    • http://www.jenworks.com Jennifer

      Change the paper “curl” to “slide” in Settings > General > Article Interface.

      • Shade

        Thanks for the tip :D Now i have no complaints about it, it’s great.

  • http://www.twitter.com/yppy joris

    I tried Times (it came with the macheist bundle) but I didn’t like it. After trying out some other RSS-readers, I came across Vienna. Freeware and open source, it is a much better choice IMHO. It is less graphical than Times, but the concept is much more useful.

  • http://www.nicktoye.co.uk Nick Toye

    My main issue with it is that you can only have 3 feeds per category, or am I missing something?

    • Shade

      You can have more than that, I do. It just doesn’t give you a fancy dotted line after you’ve added 3, just pops down below. Try it and you’ll see.

  • http://www.twitter.com/naorsuky Suky

    Stunning interface!
    It just sums up everything that’s great about the Mac OSX.

    Great review Quintin!

  • http://www.macafarian.com Justin

    I got it in MacHeist. I like the idea of it, but it is more gimmicky than functional. The space is limited and is too slow to be practical on my MacBook. I’m just using Google Reader in a fluid app.

  • http://ensaladageek.com Eduardo

    Nice app… But i still preffer Google Reader

  • http://laberso.ru laberso

    Great app. When I drink my morning coffee, I read my RSS like a normal newspaper. I realy like it.

  • http://www.alexanderdrewniak.com Alex Drewniak

    I use NewsFire and I’m really happy with it. I tried Times first but since I have so many feeds that I try to keep up with, Times is not the ideal option (just like you pointed out). Nevertheless, it is definitely the most Mac-like RSS experience out there.

    Would be very cool to get Apple’s take on an RSS reader sometime soon.

    Lastly, great work with the blog.

  • http://aethralus.net m7zhao

    This is one of my favourite apps from MacHeist 3. Clean UI and very useful.

  • http://www.sojusonsangnim.com Shadi Mirza

    I actually find myself reading more of my RSS feeds because of Times’ elegant layout. I used to use Newsfire, but found that it was difficult to skim the articles. Times allows me to quickly assess whether an article is interesting, and I love the newspaper layout. As someone stated above, you can create your own layout from scratch. The first thing I did was delete the five default pages and create my own.

    That being said. Times does crash on my computer once in a while. The dev team has released a few updates that have reduced the number of crashes, but the program still hangs on occasion. If you’re against paying for an RSS reader, I don’t think Times will change your mind. However, if you want an RSS reader with an elegant, customizable layout – and have the money to spare – get the full version of Times.

  • Antonio Lacerda

    Fantastic.
    I need to ready latter again

  • http://simplyblog.net Miguel | Simply Blog

    Hello, thanks for reviewing Times. I received Times because of MacHeist, I don’t use it everyday but it’s still fun. I enjoy Shrook as my RSS reader. :)

  • http://www.selectceremony.com/barmitzvahphotographer Bar Mitzvah Photographer

    I’ve been dreaming of creating something like this for a while. I was expecting google to be the first smart ones are re-format their google reader.

  • Noriker

    Also got it via MacHeist. What drives me nuts is that I can’t view the flash videos, while I have zero problem viewing them in any browser. It keeps telling me I need the newest version even right after updating Flash player. Kind of lame. What’s the advantage to a browser?

  • http://www.iamprojectmanager.com CUT HERE

    Hi,

    To check my rss feed, instead of Google Reader, I use Netvibes.com. Overall, it’s more easy to use online agregator to check and add rss feed from everywhere. That’s my opinion :)

  • Benny

    Use it on daily basis it might not be the fastest but the interface totally rocks!

  • http://www.albertkinng.com albertkinng

    For me, Times is the best RSS reader your money can buy. it’s an Apple kind of App, it looks great and it’s works great! I use it everyday, The thing I love most is not to open my browser to check the news. I just click on Times and all of them are there, a virtual newspaper. The only thing I would like on it is the possibility of add feeds just with typing the web address, sometime is tiring just to go to the page first and then copying the feed address and on and on and on… for the price it should do something for you like that. Everything else it’s awsome!

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  • Tyler Henson

    Apparently I’m the only one that is not able to add feeds at all??? Can’t figure out what the hell is going on! LOL! It won’t let me add this site’s feed, or Smashing Magazine, or any of the Tuts+ sites either!

    Anyone else experiencing this??

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