If you are looking for a new way to “nibble” on your news, you can try Snackr, an Adobe AIR-based app that creates a ticker across the bottom of your computer screen that teases random articles and blog posts from RSS feeds of your choice. The app works on both OS X and Windows.
Once installed, the Snackr user interface is nothing more than a plus sign where you add feeds; an icon for options including manually adding and removing feeds and changing feed preferences such as the ticker speed and placement; an icon to expand or collapse your ticker, and an X to quit the app. Tiny, compact, virtually unobtrusive.
The great thing about this tool is that I am getting my RSS feeds in a way that feels much more consumable to me. I can dive in at any time and read up on the latest articles and posts to keep me on top of my game as a Web worker.
The ticker, however, while placed “out of the way” is not so unobtrusive.
No matter where I place the Snackr ticker and no matter how slowly I set it, the darn thing just keeps going and going and going and going. For me, it becomes distracting as my eyes jump to the moving titles and images.
Maybe over time, I’ll get used to it. But I find myself collapsing it after a minute because it is subliminally sending my brain into a frenzy. The ticker is probably much less pushy on a larger monitor. On my MacBook, the ticker is hugging the bottom of my browser window so it is hard to not notice.
Also, I’d really like a Pause button so I can have a dozen article and post titles across the bottom of my screen for a while that I can pick through at my leisure instead of feeling like I’m missing something.
Set up is easy (thank goodness).
Go to your feed reader and look for an export feature to make an OPML file. I use Google Reader so I clicked on “Settings,” then “Import/Export,” and finally “Export your subscriptions as an OPML file.” The file was created very quickly.
Then Click on the tiny Options icon, click Import, and voila!
So how does Snackr compare to Newsfire, the OS X little feed reader app that Mike Gunderloy wrote about in March? Well, when I went to test out Newsfire, I couldn’t figure out how to import the OPML file that I had exported from Google Reader. Whatever Google Reader spit out was not compatible with Newsfire, so I couldn’t do a comparison.
I like my apps to work with minimal struggle on my part so despite the lack of a pause button on Snackr, I am actually enjoying it in little, tiny bites.
(P.S. Just got a tweet from the Snackr folks: “Planning to add some less-distracting animation options, like fading in new items instead of the continuous scroll.”)