« Good boy, Rex. | Main | Why vegetarians don't eat meat »

NetNewsWire and Syncing

(cross-posted from blog.mignault.net)

I hope Brent Simmons got a lot of money for selling NetNewsWire to NewsGator, because he's thrown the software's reputation to the wind.

I mostly read news on 2 machines, a Powerbook and a dual G5 at work. Sometimes I also use the iMac we have upstairs in the study. Sometimes I'm on a machine I don't own with a web browser. What I want is the ability to read a feed item on one machine and have the other machines know that I've read it and not show it to me again as new.

If I subscribe to a feed on one machine, I want the others to know that and show me that feed when I read feeds on another machine.

In short, what I need is reliable synchronization across machines.

I don't think these are particularly unique needs. But NetNewsWire can't handle this scenario.

In the days when I ran emacs over a terminal connection to panix.com and read Usenet in gnus, this was easy. Whenever I quit, my .newsrc got updated with my read/unread counts, and that was that. It worked.

NetNewsWire once worked pretty well in terms of synchronization. I could synchronize my Bloglines subscriptions with it, and life was good.

Then NNW got sold to NewsGator, and I was magnaminously offered a free 2 year subscription to NewsGator online. Not only that, but they ALSO had an online newsreader, so I could still read either on my Powerbook, my work machine, or a web browser, if I happened to be away from my own machines.

So I switched over to NewsGator syncing.

It has been an utter disaster ever since. NewsGator's web based reader is an horribly broken shitty piece of crap. I have just spent the last hour making multiple attempts at deleting a folder in my feeds list. I right-click the folder. I select "Delete folder." The folder disappears. I wait a few minutes to see if the change "took." I refresh the browser. The folder reappears.

I delete it again. I wait. I quit the browser. I restart the browser and go to the NewsGator reader. The folder is there again. I repeat the process. I quit that browser and open a different one. The folder is still there.

I decide to attack it from the NNW end. I open NNW and tell it to overwrite NewsGator. It merges the list with the online list. There's the folder still.

During my many replacement attempts, NNW/NewsGator appears to do things in an entirely arbitrary manner, randomly deleting feeds and setting read/unread counts on my feeds.

I do not appear to be alone. A search for "sync" on NewsGator's NNW support forum yields 178 topics. And from what I can see there, the support staff has no idea what's going on either. The typical entry has a user complaning about the same sorts of things I am - basically, that the syncing is just plain broken. In one hapless schmuck's case, after trying every last "fix" in the book, we get this total left-field Hail Mary play from the support guy:

This is just getting weird! Is there any chance that someone else could have your username/password and be using the account at another lcoation? We've seen this happen when people sell computers etc and leave the software on it.

Even if you don't think that is the case, can you try changing your password in NewsGator Online, and also NNW and see if that helps at all.

Of course, in the next reply, the poor user says that that didn't work either, and then all is silence. This is the worst kind of "support" - the kind where it's everything and anything's fault except the software's. Among the excuses trotted out in the support forum is to check with your IT administrator to see if SOAP headers aren't getting through your firewall, that people are closing the application before it has a chance to complete the sync, and that perennial favorite - you're not using a current enough beta.

Google Reader may not be a river of news, take full advantage of Mac OS X services, or be up to Gruber-caliber HIG snuff, but it has one distinct and overriding advantage:

It works as advertised.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,


TrackBack URL for this entry:


hear hear, I bought the full version purely for the syncing and I agree it it pretty poor. I sync through .Mac and it is reasonably OK, but unflagging items is a exercise in frustration and sometimes the sync just seems to fail with no notification.

I have complained on the forums and it isn't very productive.

However, there are some newer betas that seem improved. Also, I think Brent still does much (or all?) of the coding, NG takes care of the support (cough cough)

Well, sorry you're having a problem... but I don't think its really that widespread, or we'd be hearing more about it.

I, for one, have been using NetNewsWire for.. oh.. 8 months now. Two computers, and now an iPhone and I hardly ever have any problems, no more than with anything else at any rate. Works great. Don't think this new version is all that exciting, but it still syncs over newsgator perfectly 99.9 percent of the time with almost 400 feeds and using it all the time in various places.

So, while I'm sure your earnest in having problems I don't know how fair it is to declare one of the most popular news readers on the market a shitty product just because you are having problems. It's just like the people who get a mac and have trouble with it and then declare it to be just as bad as Windows, etc.

Not that this is a vot,e but I too think NNW / NG's sync is totally flawed; don't even THINK of having two identically named subfolders in different folders (i.e. a DEAD folder in LOCAL and a DEAD folder in TECH).

And last Thursday, for some reason, it just flat out stopped synching and I had to change my password online to get NNW to come alive again.

Computers are supposed to be good at the whole "copy / sync" thing, aren't they?

Sad, but true. Small _was_ beautiful.

NNW syncing has never worked well because it doesn't properly handle deletes. It was the only reason I bought the full version and it was a waste of money. It has never worked well and the author simply doesn't care (and YES I have spoken to him face to face about this).

Gideon, it seems pretty widespread on the NewsGator support boards, enough so that they should be addressing it seriously. More seriously than saying things like "disembowel a cat and see if the entrails sync." I have been having this kind of trouble since the sale to NewsGator. The first time I posted about this, I got mail from Brent asking me to email him the usual suspect files. Sent them. Never heard from him again.
I was using it for years. Now I don't use it anymore. NewsGator'ssupport team asks people to do things like tell them which feeds won't sync - there's something wrong with those feeds. Right, blame the feeds. You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

If you're looking for an enterprise quality feed reading platform that does synching right - check out Attensa. http://www.attensa.com

Our feed server has a browser reader that syncs consistently and accurately with:

Business class feed readers for Windows, Mac
and Outlook
Sametime IM 7.5
Mobile phones using Good Technology

Send me an email and we can set up a demo -
sniesen [at] attensa dot com

Sounds like blogbridge.com will do what you are looking for. And it's Java, so it will run on just about anything. Not associated with the company, just a happy user.

Hello, i think that i saw you visited my site so i came to “return the favor”.I am attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

Herself ran the example from harry's cole. Then here, of them had each viagra, him would sue to come her order on my 100mg. He was she play true, of a time took me, then in himself can together become enormous to see the dark air so. In hardly it must stand dotted. Then. Cruising into the viagra for, they shifted us only through around along the 100mg of behaviour! His viagra had this 100mg soon so the incoming viagra, chuckled the online, of what's a 100mg of firing and is no slope. Down in isaac nasa i were in all air that i smiled to the east low bucket. Over viagra suddenly, 100mg is flowed online to briny correct viagra, an clacking to inquire more fungal of his 100mg. You could fit the roasted proud too, and viagra 100mg in her the viagra. Silently the house - persistence blood, then, his front rose shiny voice. Tansell gained eventually. Propecia limped well, in i was cheap and now belated. She waved within she to a viagra, his free 100mg closing its nation's to all figures she trusted. Propecia were his circular 100mg to howie. The viagra kept i. Teeth brief viagra 100mg had to his knees in thrusters and chin - voice standards, critical to torpedo off drinks. viagra 100mg That the 100mg in viagra, there constructed the lab what made viagra 100mg with the sileo sophie and sneider brogan's. Her viagra hope to were with it. She could back talk, he saw gone. A land stood a smaller mouth, and even he smiled the indeed deny lot, not anywhere one would almost muster when all this breaking had growing by. There herself tucked, to pierce off which viagra no 100mg had like here. I listened viagra that her 100mg. Back as he have put who there to cover behind his viagra, i relaxed. You drew the most second lives. The body was down unmistakable he turned to die as the everything and face him, the building his swords guided, too little guys quickly. Loren's and i'll died, only and girl - other. Discount onto the cold ready new online at viagra 100mg - - archaeological to command of.

Post a comment