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NewsBlur’s Twitter support just got a whole lot better

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It was a little under a year ago that I declared Twitter back, baby on this blog. In that time, NewsBlur users have created over 80,000 Twitter feeds in NewsBlur. Since it’s such a popular feature, I decided to dive back into the code and make tweets look a whole lot better.

Notice that NewsBlur now natively supports expanding truncated URLs (no more t.co links).

And NewsBlur also supports native quoted tweets, where a user links to a tweet in their own tweet. NewsBlur expands the quoted tweet and blockquotes it for convenience.

Plus retweets now show both the original tweet author and the retweeting author. This means that you can quickly scan tweets and see where the retweet originated from. And retweeted tweets that quote their own tweets also get expanded.

It’s almost as if NewsBlur is inching closer and closer to becoming its own full fledged Twitter client. While NewsBlur already hit Zawinski’s Law (“Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.”) by supporting email-newsletters-to-rss, Twitter is coming up fast.

Speaking of which, I have this idea I’ve been noodling about better supporting Twitter habits that need to become less of a habit. I want to be able to automatically follow people from my Twitter tweetstream in NewsBlur based the frequency of their posting. I want to be able to infrequently dip into Twitter but still read the tweets from people who only post once a week or once a day.

In other words, I want Twitter, the RSS killer, to better integrate with an RSS reader so that I can pull out the good stuff from the unending flow of tweets. RSS means never missing anything, but Twitter’s main use case is anathema to how we use RSS. I don’t like to preannounce features, but this one intrigues me and if you agree, please share this story to let me know or to give me feedback on how you would like to see NewsBlur be a better Twitter client.

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chattymac
45 days ago
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popular
45 days ago
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Groxx
45 days ago
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I read every tweet, and twitter makes that very hard to do (which is why I'm a happy user of Talon), so that sounds great :) Infrequent tweeters are often my favorites.

Personally, I'd be happy with a twitter folder, with a "feed" for each follow. With a bit of thumbs-training (and a per-folder focus setting? or something) I'd probably never go back to twitter.com at all.
TheRomit
45 days ago
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I like the last idea (I current have some users as columns in Tweetdeck but RSS may be a cleaner solution).

How about Yahoo Pipes-like combination of some users' Twitter feeds that make one RSS subscription?
santa clara, CA
samuel
43 days ago
Well you can read multiple twitter feeds in a folder, and with Focus mode, you can already filter them. And folders have RSS feeds, so you could then pipe that out somewhere else.
TheRomit
40 days ago
Ah! That's a good idea. Thanks for the tip!
samuel
45 days ago
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I'm thinking something more automatic than post freq as training. A slider or segmented control and you are subscribed to users who post at the frequency or below. Possibly even multiple sub folders with different frequencies: 1 week, 1 day, and then all the rest.
The Haight in San Francisco
eldritchconundrum
45 days ago
You say "RSS means never missing anything", but to me that isn't true. Posts more than 30 days old cannot be in an "unread" state. The marking as read that occurs automatically after 30 days is literally "missing something". I can't find it anymore among the rest, once it's been marked as read.
samuel
45 days ago
I think a month is a fine line to draw. Everything on the Internet, at a high enough level, is measured in monthly usage. If you're not using NewsBlur once a month then you're not really using NewsBlur.
eldritchconundrum
45 days ago
Certainly one month is fine, for news items. But if I want to e.g. accumulate one hundred of updates of an ongoing story-intense webcomic, then read them all in one go, then I have to track manually where I last stopped, because unread doesn't mean unread. In other words, NewsBlur is not a general-purpose RSS reader, it is specialized for reading recent news. Well, the name says it upfront, so I guess I can't complain. News... And Blur.
samuel
45 days ago
To be fair, those stories aren't gone, they just aren't unread. That's why the default is "All Stories" and not just "Unread Stories".
superlopuh
44 days ago
The unread stories effectively disappear into the void though. I've definitely lost posts that I would have liked to read at some point this way. It would be cool if there was some sort of banner for recently/soon-to-be autoread posts. Automatically sending them to pocket would also be a useful feature.
eldritchconundrum
43 days ago
They are not gone, they are lost in the haystack. If I can't find them, that's the same thing.
tingham
45 days ago
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I think I'd like to have my entire feed in a separate drawer here and then be able to use training to push users I follow down (or up) in the visibility stack. Right now NB and TW are the only two pinned tabs in my browser. Getting this down to one would be fantastic. Post frequency as a function of training would be a really nice feature compression.
Cary, NC

Premium fonts, comment-less shares, in-app Safari, and way, way more in version 5.0 of the NewsBlur iOS app

10 Comments and 12 Shares

Holy geez, this is a whopper of a release. Version 5.0 of the NewsBlur iOS app has lots and lots of new features, fixes for some long standing issues, and major performance improvements for reading stories.

The biggest new feature to hit the iOS app is the introduction of premium fonts from type foundry Hoefler & Co. Whitney, Gotham Narrow, and Chronicle have been added to give NewsBlur a more pleasurable reading experience. Take a look for yourself.

Comment-less shares have also been added to the iOS app. You can now share a story and your friends can now reply without you having to write anything first, just like on the web and on the Android app.

Here’s the full list of new features and improvements. Make a cup of tea first because this list is a doozy.

  • The app has been iOS 9-ified.
  • The iOS app now has the same great fonts from the web: Whitney, Gotham Narrow, and Chronicle. These each look fantastic.
  • The Text view is now sticky based on the last view you used. It’s per feed but it also respects individual feeds when reading by folder. This is unlike the web, where the Text view matches the feed or folder. Now it’s sticky to the feed, which makes it much easier to read through a folder of stories.
  • When switching between the Text view and Story view, the loading indicator is now at the bottom of the screen instead of directly on top of the story.
  • Stories now remember your last scroll position. When you go back to a story, you are taken back to the same place you left off.
  • New Safari-based browser for the original story. These views are faster and support content blockers on iOS 9 and use your browser’s cookies. However, they look like Safari and not NewsBlur, so the default in-app browser is the original browser. The new in-app Safari browser is a preference, along with Chrome, Opera, and the full Safari app.
  • A new option to mark stories as read when they are scrolled past. Defaults to off.
  • Sending stories to third-party services now uses full Text if available. Useful for storing full story text in Evernote or Pocket.
  • Comment-less shares are now supported, allowing you to reply to shared stories that have no comment.
  • The feed trainer now shows trained titles.
  • 1Password integration on login.
  • iPad Pro is now supported.
  • Date and times of stories now uses the system locale, so everybody who isn’t in the U.S. will see dates as they should be.
  • 3D Touch actions: Add site, all site stories, search stories.
  • Voiceover support.
  • iOS 8 is the minimum supported version for this release.

Hot dog that’s a lot in one release. Version 5.0 is now ready for you. Download it for free on the App Store.

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chattymac
582 days ago
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Dark theme please!
popular
583 days ago
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udolfo
581 days ago
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+1 for this. I run on the iPhone's "Invert colours" setting, but it screws up photos. It would be the cherry on top of this very fine cake if a night-mode were available.
JayM
582 days ago
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Woot.
Atlanta, GA
gradualepiphany
582 days ago
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Oh dang. That is a whole lot of work, Samuel. Thanks for your continued dedication!
Los Angeles, California, USA
skittone
583 days ago
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But can I make the text even bigger (XXL or XXXL) for a "more pleasurable reading experience"?
jqlive
583 days ago
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I hate to be the broken record in the room. But will "mark newer/older stories read" be added in a near future update? ... Aside from that feature, I'm really loving the update 😀. The fonts man, the fonts; Awesome.
Beijing/Hong Kong
samuel
583 days ago
Yes, it's slated to come very soon now.
BLueSS
583 days ago
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Exciting updates! Here's to hoping the Android version gets some of these updates soon too!
samuel
583 days ago
Android already had a few of these features. I seesaw between the two platforms in terms of priority.
spiffylogic
583 days ago
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Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.
Philadelphia, PA
wreichard
583 days ago
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Wow!
Earth
samuel
583 days ago
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From the feedback I've received, the next big feature folks want is a night/dark theme.
The Haight in San Francisco
brs165
583 days ago
agreed!
emdot
583 days ago
Thanks for all you do, Samuel.
Dcacace8
583 days ago
Sure but this is a huge release, you should be proud! Congrats!
korg250
583 days ago
Is dark theme available on the web?
Cafeine
583 days ago
I don't care much about the dark theme but awesome release 😎
Splike
583 days ago
Dark theme for the web please! (:
leonick
583 days ago
Said before but lets say it again, web too please.

Josh Topolsky on Leaving Bloomberg

4 Comments and 5 Shares

Josh Topolsky:

The reality in media right now is that there is an enormous amount of noise. There are countless outlets (both old and new) vying for your attention, desperate not just to capture some audience, but all the audience. And in doing that, it feels like there’s a tremendous watering down of the quality and uniqueness of what is being made. Everything looks the same, reads the same, and seems to be competing for the same eyeballs. In both execution and content, I find myself increasingly frustrated with the rat race for maximum audience at any expense. It’s cynical and it’s cyclical — which makes for an exhausting and frankly boring experience.

I think people want something better, something more meaningful. Something a lot less noisy.

Sounds good to me.

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chattymac
703 days ago
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Sign me up
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jhamill
703 days ago
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That was what The Verge was supposed to be.
California
trekkie
693 days ago
it was, for a bit, but now I've stopped reading it because they put a ton of fluff and crap from every other site in there. It's weird to me that one service wants to be 'all the things'. I hope Ars stays where it is.
laza
703 days ago
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Amin!
Belgrade, Serbia
AaronLMGoodwin
703 days ago
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Yup.
Apple Valley, CA

Chad Kroeger's 'medical emergency' forces Nickelback to cancel North American tour

2 Comments
UUU

Canadian rock band Nickelback has scrapped its tour after lead singer Chad Kroeger was diagnosed with an operable cyst on his "voice box," the band announces.

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chattymac
731 days ago
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This is great news!
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dreadhead
731 days ago
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RIP
Vancouver Island, Canada

A real solution to the deprecated YouTube API

17 Comments and 32 Shares

YouTube, owned by Google, deprecated their v2 APIs on April 20th, 2015, which means that RSS news readers can no longer watch for new videos. What a bummer!

Except it’s not at all a big deal because here at NewsBlur we’re making sure that your videos keep coming in. Previously enterprising users setup hacks and workarounds for the API, which was a somewhat tedious solution as you had to update each feed and prone to breaking in the future.

But there’s good news today because NewsBlur now has a custom-built solution for YouTube videos. All of your existing YouTube RSS feeds are automatically ported over to the new YouTube video fetcher.

And that’s not all. The improved YouTube video fetcher now displays a big embedded video so you can watch the video right in NewsBlur.

To subscribe to new YouTube channels, just enter in the URL of the channel in the Add Site popover.

When Google takes away your tools, NewsBlur builds them better than before.

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chattymac
785 days ago
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Ya same here. Very cool
popular
785 days ago
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sirshannon
749 days ago
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When Google takes away your tools, NewsBlur builds them better than before.
sarcozona
782 days ago
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<3
stavrosg
784 days ago
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...And this is why I'm subscribed since basically the beginning :D
Rodos, Greece
jimwise
784 days ago
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Heh.
jlvanderzwan
785 days ago
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.
redheadedfemme
785 days ago
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How cool! Thank you Samuel.
aaronwe
785 days ago
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I don't even subscribe to YouTube videos in NewsBlur, but I'm going to now, just because Samuel's so awesome.
Denver
nevergirl
785 days ago
Ditto! I had no idea this was even a thing.. subscribing immediately!
gazuga
785 days ago
I subscribe to several, and thought I'd have to delete them all. Now they're not only usable again, they're an improved experience. Down with Google, up with NewsBlur!
levenzhang
777 days ago
I subscrib
levenzhang
775 days ago
test reply
Jashugan
785 days ago
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You win Newsblur
eldritchconundrum
785 days ago
Excellent!
Cthulhux
785 days ago
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InoReader had it before. :p

No, seriously, one more reason to love NewsBlur. Good job!
Fledermausland
lelandpaul
785 days ago
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Newsblur: The killer app for YouTube, apparently.
San Francisco, CA
digdoug
785 days ago
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"When Google takes away your tools, NewsBlur builds them better than before."

Thanks for considering US the customers and not random ad-buying robots.
Louisville, KY
Brstrk
785 days ago
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Now that's how you solve all the things.
AineLindae
785 days ago
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That's awesome.
denubis
785 days ago
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woot.
Sydney, Australia

The New MacBook and the Original MacBook Air

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Dylan Tweney, writing for VentureBeat, thinks the new MacBook is underpowered and needs another USB port:

Cult of Mac writes that the MacBook is a down payment on the future of laptops. Other PC makers may mock the MacBook today, but in a year or two, Apple will address some of the more glaring flaws (maybe adding a second USB-C port), drop the price, and mop up the competition. It followed this playbook with the initial MacBook Air, which was ridiculously overpriced and limited when it first came out, but which is an affordable workhorse today.

If Apple is indeed moving towards a more tablet-centric future, I have a suggestion: Make that Retina screen into a touchscreen, and make the keyboard detachable.

The key to understanding the new MacBook is that it didn’t replace any existing models in Apple’s lineup. In fact, the 11- and 13-inch Airs and the 13-inch MacBook Pro all got speed bump updates last week. If you need more ports or better performance, or if you frequently need to work while your MacBook is plugged into a power outlet, this machine is not for you, today. That’s why it didn’t (yet) replace anything in the lineup.

I thought Tweney almost had it, in the first of the two paragraphs quoted above. The original 2008 MacBook Air was slow, expensive (based on specs), lacked storage, only had one USB port, was the first Apple notebook without an optical drive, etc. It was not for everyone. It was not for most people, in fact. But some people loved it. The new 2015 MacBook is the same thing — some people will love it today, and it shows us Apple’s vision for the future of the notebook form factor.

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chattymac
830 days ago
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Same as Samuel down here. Don't need any ports ever really. If I do, $20 USB adapter isn't a big deal. Would enjoy the weight and screen more than a bunch of ports. Take my money.
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the7roy
830 days ago
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Me too
Mountain View
aaronwe
830 days ago
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Yes, it's all of those things. And it still needs a second port, or at the very least the power brick needs to also be a USB/video hub, rather than making users buy a separate dongle with power passthrough. That's just goofy.
Denver
samuel
830 days ago
It's perfect for me, since I never plug anything into my laptop other than power. I'm buying this macbook the second I can.
aaronwe
830 days ago
Yeah, I think they're going to sell a boatload of them -- it's the convenience of a Chromebook for OS X fans. The writing's on the wall for the Air... within a year or two, you'll buy a MacBook Pro if you need ports, and a MacBook if you don't.
wmorrell
830 days ago
I expect to see several third-party power bricks offering a few USB 2/3 ports and HDMI within a month or two. The stock Apple 29W brick looks just slightly larger than the 12W iPad brick, and I have a 20W powered USB hub about the size of a Macbook 60W brick. Somebody should be able to find a way to make it all fit, though they may wait until more than just Macbook and Pixel use USB-C.
satadru
829 days ago
The comparison to the first MBA is really perfect. I'm really looking forward to 3rd party usb-c chargers in the future (hello Anker?) that can charge a laptop and a phone at the same time.
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