Thursday, December 30, 2010

NewsRob December Release / 4.6

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NewsRob December Release / 4.6

New Authentication

NewsRob now supports the built-in authentication mechanism for Android 2.1+ devices that have the Android Market.

For now the old approach, the classic method, still works too. However when your Google Reader session expires, after 14 days, you will be asked to use the new method. Please do that unless you encounter any problems or you use an old Google Apps For Your Domain account.

Google Apps For Your Domain accounts that have not yet been migrated to become proper Google accounts don't work with the new mechanism. You will not see any articles.
When Google finishes the migration of all the old accounts the classic authentication mechanism will be turned off for Android 2.1+ devices.

If you have any problems, let me know on the mailing list. At least in this release you can always logout and use the classic method.

Exact Syncing

You can skip this part if you are not frequently switching between NewsRob and the Google Reader web app / other 3rd party apps.

If you're not into details / techno mumbo jumbo you may also skip this section and hope that NewsRob does the right thing by default, which it probably does.

Unfortunately Google dropped an API that NewsRob was relying on to sync efficiently. The effect is that state changes for articles that are already on your phone will not be synced. More specifically the removal of those states will not be synced. In particular this is about the read, starred, liked and shared state.

Here is the essence: If you unstar an article after it is already available on your phone, the article on your phone will still keep the star.

This may be a big issue for you, if your workflow relies on that, but for most users it probably isn't.

There is a way for NewsRob to cope with that situation. Unfortunately it is less efficient in terms of computing time and bandwidth than it was before when the proper API was still in place. In the big scheme of things it is not a drama though. Downloading articles etc. still takes more time and bandwidth than the work around.

I called the work around "Exact Syncing".
It explicitly syncs each article's state with the server side.

By default it only runs when you are on WiFi or the last exact sync is more than 24 hours ago. However if your workflow relies on the exact states of the articles at all times then you should turn on "Always Use Exact Syncing", which does exactly that.


Besides a lot of small improvements and bug fixes NewsRob now also supports the ADWNotifier of ADWLauncher.

Due to popular demand the action bar is now also available for devices with small screens.
Because of bugs in Android 2.0, it is not available for devices with Android 2.0/2.0.1 anymore though. If you want to use the action bar please upgrade to Android 2.1 ... and sorry for the crash the previous version caused for Android 2.0 devices ;(

Thursday, December 2, 2010

NewsRob November Release / 4.5

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NewsRob November Release / 4.5

New Action Bar

NewsRob now sports an action bar that is more in line with what meanwhile seems to be the standard way on Android. It mimics the visual appearance and functionality of the Twitter app's action bar

From left to right:

Tapping on the NewsRob logo always brings you back to the Dashboard (the home screen).

Tapping on the title will give you some contextual information: On the article list it is the chosen feed, on the feed list it is the chosen label and on the dashboard a tap will reveal the last time a sync has run.

Tapping on the refresh icon will trigger a sync as before, but with a twist. The sync icon will turn into a circular progress indicator. Tapping it will reveal a detailed progress indicator. Tapping it again will hide it.

You can also interrupt a running sync by tapping on the "Stop" button.

This functionality replaces the sync-in-progress notification from before and so hopefully this will be the end of some devices randomly rebooting during sync.

Tapping on the check mark will mark all articles of the current view as read. Depending on your settings a confirmation dialog will be shown first.

Tapping on the circular button will toggle between show / hide read articles.

Not depicted above, but available on the article list, is an arrow up / down icon. Tapping it will toggle the sort order "newest first" and "oldest first".

In line with the Android standards the action bar is on the top. In the settings however, you can set the location of the action bar to the bottom or disable it completely.
For Android 1.5 devices and for devices with small screens (Xperia X10 mini, HTC Tattoo & Wildfire) the action bar is always disabled.

With this release usage data collection is re-introduced. There is a dialog in NewsRob that will explain this to you in more detail and asks you for to explicitly allow this usage data collection. Without this permission no data will be collected.

Thanks to Roman Nurik for giving me some great recommendations regarding NewsRob's UI. Some of the results you will see in this release, e.g. more spacious article list, and some in the releases to come.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

NewsRob October Release / 4.4

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NewsRob October Release / 4.4

Rich Article List

The new version now sports a richer article list. 
If possible it contains a snippet of the article and a thumbnail of a significant image from the article. 

Snippets will be prepared during the import of new articles. So if you want to see this new feature in full action right away you should do a Clear Cache / Sync.

Obeying Global Auto-Sync Setting

When NewsRob is configured to automatically sync in the background it already obeys the global, system wide, background data setting. With this version NewsRob will also obey the global auto-sync setting.
You can now conveniently turn off all automatic syncing (Gmail, Facebook, NewsRob ...) in one place.

It might be confusing that now syncing can be turned off in more than one place. To prevent this confusion NewsRob will now warn you when auto-sync has been disabled globally, but is enabled in NewsRob.

For the programmers amongst you: When turning the global auto-sync setting back on I would like NewsRob to check if the last sync is longer ago then the configured interval. If that is the case it should run a sync right away.

However I don't know how to get notified when the auto-sync status changes and so I can't implement it at the moment. If you do know, please leave a comment or come to the list:

As always, many more small improvements and fixes are in this release. Here are two of those, that may affect you directly or where many people wrote me about:

Accidental Swipes

To prevent accidental swipes, e.g. left-to-right to mark an article read on the article list, swipes must be now more explicit. This means that the direction of the swipe must be more pronounced. To mark an article read you still must swipe from left-to-right (at least 45° to less than 135°), but also the horizontal movement of your finger must be significantly longer than the vertical movement.

Twitter URLs

Twitter changed their URL scheme and it broke some of the links in feeds when shown in NewsRob. This should work correctly again now.

Friday, October 1, 2010

NewsRob September Release / 4.3

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NewsRob September Release / 4.3

I am back from my vacation and enjoyed it very much. Thanks for your patience.

Selective Syncing / Sync "newsrob" only (Pro)

This is the implementation of the current #1 feature request: Sync Only Certain Folders

Unfortunately there is no efficient way to exclude selected feeds from the sync. However from this version on you can now tell NewsRob to only sync feeds that are below the a tag/folder called "newsrob".
As a side note you can add feeds to more than one folder/tag at the same time.

Although this feature should be easy enough to use, it was quite complex to implement it properly. So for this release you find the setting to enable this feature under the "experimental" section in the settings. If you run into any trouble please let me know on the list.

There are two possible extensions to this functionality and you can submit feature requests on uservoice for them. If you create those feature suggestions you can also announce them on the existing feature request from above, so that you meet an audience of likeminded people quickly.

It might be interesting to configure the name of the "newsrob" tag. That way you can sync multiple devices with different sets of feeds, e.g. "newsrob-droid" and "newsrob-tab".

Also "newsrob" only syncing does just that (plus starred, shared, notes in the pro version). Maybe I should add "friends's shared articles" as another category?

Furthermore a few major bugs are fixed now and a lot of minor ones. Among the major bugs were issues with "Unsubscribe Feed" and "Mark Read Until Here".

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

NewsRob August Release / 4.2

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NewsRob August Release / 4.2

Pin Articles (Pro)

Here comes the implementation of a workflow feature "Pin Articles For Later Reading".

On the article list or article detail view. when you swipe right to left on an unread article header the article becomes pinned. The unread indicator changes from green to blue.

Pinned articles are not affected by Mark All Read and Mark Read Until Here. They will also no longer automatically being marked as read when opened.

When you swipe left to right a pinned article is unpinned and marked as read. Also when marking a pinned article as read on the Google Reader webapp it will be unpinned and marked as read on NewsRob also.

It depends on you if and how you want to use this feature. A possible workflow is to check articles quickly, pin those you are want to go over with more time later, and then use Mark All Read or Mark Read Until Here to deal with the other articles.

Unsubscribe Feed

You can now unsubscribe from a feed from an article's or feed's context menu. All remaining articles will be marked read and the feed will be unsubscribed during the next sync.

HTC Desire / Incredible / Froyo

Because of bugs in HTC Sense some minor NewsRob features (hovering zoom controls, sync-in-progress notification) were locked for the Desire and Incredible. The symptoms were random reboots and crashes.

Preliminary testing of the leaked Froyo builds indicate that those issues are fixed. As a consequence NewsRob 4.2 enables those features again for the mentioned devices if they run Froyo.

Hopefully that is a good idea. Please let me know if you experience the issues I described.

As always this version also contains bug fixes and small enhancements.

Friday, July 16, 2010

NewsRob July Release / 4.1

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NewsRob July Release / 4.1

Besides lots of bug fixes:

Mark Read Until Here (Pro)

You can now select an article in a list and pick "Mark Read Until Here" from the context menu. The selected article and all the articles above are then marked as read.

Refresh Content

If NewsRob fails to download an article's content for offline use you can now clear the downloaded parts and mark the article for re-download during the next sync.
You can do so by selecting "Refresh Content" from the article's context menu.

Change of Ad Provider

On the lists now Google Ads are shown instead of AdMob ads. Hopefully this will add some diversity to the served ads.

Launcher Widget Now in Free Version

The widget that was formerly only available in the pro version is now in its simplest, but most popular, form also available in the free version. It cannot be configured, but can still act as the replacement of a launcher short cut and adds the unread count to it. Check it out.

Froyo: Plugins / YouTube Thumbnails

If you have a Froyo device you will now find in the settings under "Experimental" an option where you can select if plugins are always loaded, never or on demand. This is mostly about Flash and is marked "experimental" for a reason.

Unfortunately YouTube thumbnails are not shown anymore. I am investigating.

Froyo: No Apps2SD

After a quick trial period where I enabled apps2sd I disabled it again. In the case of NewsRob it wouldn't help you much anyway and it kills auto-syncing when the phone's SD card is mounted on a PC. It also removes a widget and it seems the widgets cannot be re-added again.

Given the very minor benefits in case of NewsRob and the hard to explain nasty side effects, I decided to disable it again.

This decision is final for Froyo. I will re-evaluate it when the next Android version is out.

I have the feeling that major changes are coming, because this feature is targeted at games that could now have large static assets, say 50MB+., but unfortunately it doesn't work for games as those are the most pirated apps anyway and are fake-secured by copy protection. Copy protected apps are not compatible with apps2sd though ;(

Hence I would expect that apps2sd will evolve to something more useful over the next releases.

Friday, June 11, 2010

NewsRob June Release / 4.0

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This is the release focussed on enhancing existing functionality, fixing bugs and improving performance, so a Snow NewsRob release ;) I also laid down groundwork for features of upcoming releases. The changes are roughly sorted by their importance. Hence feel free to skip the remainder at any time you find yourself bored ;)

While we're at it. What is most important to you? Let me know on the sidebar poll.

NewsRob June Release

Fit-To-Width can now be disabled

The fit-to-width option introduced in the last release can now be disabled on a per-feed-basis. Many people showed their support for this on user voice and I should've included that in the original release.

Toggle Theme (Pro)

Changing themes does not make it necessary anymore to reopen the previously opened screens or more accurately NewsRob now does this for you.
Also you can now use a menu action to toggle between those two themes.

Full Screen (Pro)

In the article detail view you can double tap the content area (the article's body) and toggle in and out of a full screen mode.

Global download option "Articles + Images + Full Web Page" gone

The mentioned option is gone as a global default, because it never really made sense except for consistency. This extra effort in bandwidth and battery is only worth it if you have partial feeds. For the majority of feeds it doesn't make sense, but if unsuspectingly configured it will lead to more battery and bandwidth consumption than necessary.
Of course, on a per-feed-basis you can still use that option.

Stable sorting

In previous versions marking an article read/unread may have resulted in the article "jumping" in the current list. This was sometimes the case for articles that were published at the same time. This is now fixed.

List Refresh

In a dump attempt to improve performance previous versions of NewsRob sometimes delayed the refreshing of the article list. Because of this it was possible that you tapped on an article, but instead of opening this article, NewsRob would open one of the new articles that were just downloaded just this moment. From this version on this should not happen anymore under normal circumstances.

User Voice: Keep UI synced.

Upsync not working

A bug is now fixed that sometimes lead to the upsync (uploading your changes) failing when the app was open longer than 30 minutes.


In the previous version NewsRob was doing an automatic relogin (when configured), but unfortunately still showed the notification that a relogin was needed. This healed itself during the next sync.
This is fixed now.

Returning to Article Detail View

When returning to the Article Detail View from a phone call or something similar then you were not able to move to the previous articles. I found a way to enable this for more cases than before.
User Voice: Previous Bug.

Airplane Mode now observed explicitly

When in Airplane mode NewsRob will not sync or download anymore, even if you manually request it and NewsRob will tell you so.
However this is more of a hygienic issue. NewsRob also wasn't able to download/sync/run down your battery before. But now it's handled more explicitly.

Downloading of articles with global default "Articles"

When setting the global download default to "Articles" NewsRob was still downloading "Articles + Images". This is fixed now.

Known Issues - Froyo

YouTube video thumbnails are no longer displayed. I currently don't know why that is.
Let's wait for Froyo to officially come out and I'll have another look.
Also the current beta of Flash doesn't seem to be stable. I'll keep an eye on that too. If you have any specific knowledge on those issues, let me know.

Action Bar

Google announced on the 12th of May that they will open source the twitter app. I am waiting for this to happen and will work on the action bar.

Info Message (Pro)

When you select the installed Pro app in the Android Market app the "open" button will now show a message explaining that you're done and can use the free version with the unlocked pro features.


Values in list preferences are now shown in the overview.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NewsRob 3.9

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NewsRob 3.9

Fit-To-Width for Images

This was one of the top 10 feature requests (link).

Images that are larger than the current width of the screen are now automatically downsized to fit the width.

Play with it, it's simple.

You can skip to the next section now, but here is also some more background info that you can later on refer to when you have more questions.
The functionality works independently from the current orientation, density and zoom level.
The downsizing happens when the content is first loaded however, so if you change any of the aforementioned parameters afterwards the resizing will only take effect for the next article you view (or you need to tap twice on the article header, which also forces a content reload).

This functionality needs to change the content of the actual web page and only works for the feed view, not the web view, as this would mean NewsRob would change the color scheme of a website that it doesn't know. As NewsRob knows what the pages look like that are processed with the Google Wireless Transcoder (option: Simplified Web Page) those pages are processed too when downloaded.

New Theme For Night Time Reading (Pro)

This was the top feature request (link).

The theme was implemented with somebody in mind who woke up in the middle of the night and whose eyes don't expect to look into a flash light right away.
Or with the dad in mind who wants to do some reading when rocking his little one into sleep and who doesn't want to keep the baby awake with the bright screen.
Therefore the new theme uses muted colors and a low contrast.

Hence the theme is not meant to be an alternative look or to be used under direct sunlight.

From an implementation point of view this feature doesn't only change the lists and other UI elements owned by NewsRob but also changes the feed content. Hence the some caveats apply as for the image-autofit-feature above.

Other Enhancements And Bug Fixes

New Swipe-To-Read implementation

The swipe gestures on the article list (left-to-right to mark an article as read, right-to-left to mark an article unread) are implemented differently than before and should work much more reliable.

Not Enough Space Notification

NewsRob doesn't want to surprise you with a full SD card. Therefore NewsRob stops downloading the content of new articles when there are less than 100 MB free on your SD card.
With this version NewsRob now shows a notification that it did so.
You need to make more space on your SD card then or reduce the configured number of articles in Settings/Local Cache/Reading List. Otherwise you'll see this notification after each sync ;-)

"Unread Only" Is The New Sync Type Default

A couple of releases ago "Unread Only" was introduced as an option for "Settings/Sync/Sync Type". When choosing this option during a sync all read articles will be deleted and older unread articles will be fetched to fill up your local database again.

Details: Actually not all read articles are deleted. The most recently read article will not automatically deleted, so that you can change your mind on the read status of this article even after a sync. Also if you have the Pro version your shared articles, starred articles and notes are not deleted if they do not exceed the configured capacities for those entities.

I declared this functionality experimental in the beginning, but it worked great so far and so for all new NewsRob installations this is the default. Old installation will not be force-migrated to this new default, but I would recommend you to consider this option.

No Hovering Zoom Controls On HTC Incredible

Because of a bug with the HTC Incredible the hovering zoom controls are disabled for the time being. I will reconsider this after the next OS upgrade for those devices.

Good Bye Android 2.0

Now that Android 2.0 is on its way out I removed the workaround for an Android 2.0 bug. As a result the NewsRob download is now quite a bit lighter. For people with Android 2.0 devices the icons will look a bit fuzzy now - please upgrade to Android 2.1.

Download Timeout

Some people commented in the Android Market that NewsRob was sucking their battery dry. Fortunately some users came forward and entered a two communication. Looking at their log files I saw that some servers were very sloooooooooooooooow to respond. From this version on, NewsRob will interrupt the downloading of a web page after two minutes. Articles that fall victim to this drastic measure will be marked with a little red dot.

Closing Empty Feed Lists

Returning to an empty feed list will now close it, if it is not the task that launched NewsRob. This is now consistent to the other lists' behaviors and also with auto-skipping empty levels, like feed lists with only one feed etc.

Articles in Bundles / Duplicates

Articles that are in a bundle will now also be below a folder that is called "xyz bundle", where xyz is the bundle's label. As a consequence you won't see any duplicate articles anymore when you have a bundle and label with the same name.

Background Data Setting

Also NewsRob will now obey Android's system-wide background data setting. If this is disabled NewsRob's auto-sync will not fetch new articles, upload changed articles' status or download any pages. However a manual sync – including a trigger from Setting Profiles or Locale – will still work. This is consistent with NewsRob's "WiFi-Only" setting for auto-sync and downloading.
If you start NewsRob afresh and have auto-sync enabled, but background data disabled you'll see a quick toast mentioning that discrepancy.

Froyo / Android 2.2

At least according to my initial testing NewsRob runs well on Android 2.2.

The Tool Action Bar

I am a bit torn here. The Android Market comments were very loud and angry, but despite that and my promotion of the two alternatives to solve it, still less than 20 people have actually voted for either the option to remove the action bar or to optionally move it to the bottom.
Both options will add to the download size of NewsRob, but more importantly take significantly time to implement. Time that I cannot use to implement other features. This lack of actual features will impact all users.

Still, as this topic seems so very close to the heart of some, I will implement one or the other, but only one. Currently there is no clear winner. So if you have voted for both, please retract your vote from the one that is less important to you. If they stay head-to-head I will implement the one that costs less time, but can't tell you off the bat which one this will be.
Or if you haven't voted before, please do so now.
If you have voted, but meanwhile totally love the action bar and can't live without it anymore, you could also remove your vote ;-) If the numbers of the leading one significantly falls I'll skip the whole thing ... one can dream.

Here are the suggestions again:

Update: Check out this suggestion: Add an option to disable fit-to-width.

Friday, April 16, 2010

NewsRob 3.8

New Toolbar

With NewsRob 3.8 you'll get a new toolbar for the most frequently used actions.

The idea behind this is easy access to speed up your workflow, but at the same time lowering the mental barrier to use such actions, so that you can add actions to your workflow that you wouldn't have used otherwise.

This is a bit abstract, so let me explain that using an example. Most people almost never toggle between "hide read articles" and "show read articles", because it is too much fuss to use the menu for doing that. But now you can toggle between "hide" and "show" with a single tap. That makes the whole operation much more lightweight.

Even though the actual difference in time between the new and the old approach is not that much absolutely speaking it feels very different. Hence it is much more likely now that you would frequently change between those modes instead of being frozen into one of them.

Large Touch Areas

The new toolbar also doesn't take up much space and still the icons are easy to touch. This works because the touch area extends into the
status bar. As a visual cue you see the background of the actual touch area in orange when pressing it.

Muscle Memory

If there is one thing we learned in beta testing the new toolbar, it is the importance of muscle memory. E.g. during the testing both the old menu and the new toolbar were in place at the same time and it was very hard not to use the menu for those actions even though it was slower. It was just the way that we used NewsRob before over a long time.

So give it a go and let it sink in over the next two or three weeks. Please let me know afterwards how you like it.

I know that a lot of people won't like it (at first) and wouldn't want NewsRob to change that much. Still please just give it a bit of time. I want to keep on working on NewsRob and don't see that NewsRob reached the end of it's evolution where no changes can be done anymore ;)

Sort Order

As requested you can now change the order of the article list.
You can still let the most recent article be on the top, like before, but now you can also decide to do start with the oldest articles.
Using the arrow icon on the toolbar you can change that order and there is a global setting to define the default.

Sync Progress Reporting

On NewsRob's lists you will see a small circular progress monitor if something, most likely the sync, is going on in the background.
If you're interested in more detail you can enable in the settings to see progress reports in the notification bar.

Update to the Unread Count Widget (Pro only)

Many people gave me the feedback that they would like to use the Unread Widget more like a launcher icon, just with the additional unread count painted on the launch icon.

To care for that the wizard for creating the widget has a new page when you select "the reading list". There you can define the entry point. You may now also start at the dashboard or the feed list instead of the article list.

Bug Fixes

There are a ton of bug fixes and small enhancement in this version, but I would like to name two explicitly, because I read so much about them in the comments.

There was definitively a bug in the automatic re-login code. This one is fixed now. Unfortunately I cannot really force a session to expire, so that I also cannot test the re-login functionality 100%. However I am somewhat confident that this should be working now :)

Another frequent complaint in the comments was that NewsRob was re-launched after killing it with a task manager, even though auto-sync was disabled and no widget was deployed. Fortunately someone took the time to come to the mailing list and described the issue he was seeing in detail and at least for this person the issue is no longer reproducible with NewsRob 3.8.


You don't want to wait for two weeks and already know that you don't like the toolbar and will never like it in this life?
Want to turn it off? Vote here.
Want to see it at the bottom of the screen? Vote here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NewsRob 3.7

I just uploaded the new version to the Android Market.

Android 2.0 Authentication

Even though I worked on this feature very hard over the last two months the new authentication using the Account API from Android 2.0 didn't make it. It gets even worse. I will not try again until there is a new Android version, or documentation for Google's implementation of this feature or the standard apps like Contacts and Calendar are using it without relying on closed source bits. Oh, and Google Apps accounts should also work.

Sorry, it was not for a lack of trying, but I could have only enabled something that would only work on Android 2.1 devices, only for Google accounts and even then I am not sure if a mass rollout wouldn't have surfaced even more issues. It doesn't seem to be ready for prime time yet. Keep your fingers crossed for better luck in the future.

And please don't try to persuade me otherwise. I know this topic is important too many, but I could have implemented so many other features instead and have to cut my, actually our, losses here.

Integration with Setting Profiles

You can now trigger a NewsRob sync from within Setting Profiles. Use SettingProfiles for example to schedule a NewsRob sync at a certain time, e.g. every morning at 6am, or when you plugin your phone.

SettingProfiles is available in the Android Market for $2.95, which I think is a great price, but to top it all off the functionality described above is available in the free version of Setting Profiles also.

Unread Widget (NewsRob Pro only)

As requested ( this release brings you the first widget.

For the current release this widget offers an unread count and opens the article list based on the defined criteria. Please checkout for other feature suggestions for widgets and vote for them or enter your own. If you would like to discuss possible other widgets, please come to the list:

For now this is an exclusive feature of the paid NewsRob Pro version, but at least in parts it will likely merge into the free version in one of the next releases.

Thanks to Alexander Blom of Gmail Unread Count fame for helping me with the shortcut look of the widget. All errors are mine.

Mandatory Update

This is a mandatory update. Unrelated to the new Android authentication mechanism from above the Google Reader team also changed the way they expect authentication to happen on a service level. This release contains the necessary changes and Google will likely stop supporting the old way soon.

Friday, February 12, 2010

NewsRob 3.6

What's new or changed in NewsRob 3.6?

  • Autoskipping an empty list of feeds on the way forward
  • Autoskipping an then-empty feed list on the way back (uservoice)
  • Always using SSL when communicating with Google Reader, not only for login (uservoice)
  • "Remember password option" when logging on
  • Automatically re-logging in when session expires
  • Handling CAPTCHAs when requested by Google during login
  • Enabled Save/Restore feed specific settings.
    This is actually a feature from the previous release which I accidentally disabled before. On every sync the feed specific settings are stored to the SD card and a freshly installed NewsRob reads them from there during the initial sync.
  • Vibrates when trying to navigate before or after the begin/end of the article list in the article detail view. This can be turned off.
  • Handling "small fonts" issue with hdpi devices (Droid/Milestone, Nexus One). If you "fixed" this issue with zooming in, you now need to zoom out again. Sorry.
  • New config option for text size in the embedded browser
  • More verbose sync progress reports in the status bar
  • Manual Clear Cache/Refresh will also trigger an update of the feed names (renamed subscriptions)
  • Submitting referrer to host when downloading images.
    Need feedback if this works properly (uservoice)
  • When following redirects the base url is updated accordingly (no more broken stylesheets that are referenced relatively)
  • Downsized ads on small screens (Tattoo)
  • High resolution launcher icon for Droid/Milestone, Nexus One

And lots more bug fixes and small improvements. During the upgrade all already downloaded articles are marked as not downloaded so that they are downloaded again. This is necessary because some formatting has changed. You don't need to take any action.

NewsRob Pro only:

Please Clear Cache / Refresh once. Otherwise when using "Share With Note" NewsRob will not be able to correctly set the url of the to be shared article's feed.

If you want to vote up an already suggested feature or submit your own suggestion please visit

Posted via email from newsrob's posterous

The Future of NewsRob

If you are not interested in this meta stuff you can go directly to the release notes of NewsRob 3.6 here.

Recently NewsRob turned one and also crossed the 100.000 downloads barrier. Yay!

I took this event to think about the future of NewsRob.
In retrospect I really liked the last 14 months working on NewsRob and interacting with you guys. Those months took a heavy toll on my work/life balance and my social life, but in the end there was much more good than bad. I can't make any promises, but so far I decided to keep on going with NewsRob.

There is one change though. From the future on there will be two versions of NewsRob: A free version and a paid version.

The free version will feature ads, but will have the exact same functionality as NewsRob has now. I will also continue to add new features to the free version.

NewsRob Pro, the paid version, will have no ads and features some exclusive functionality. In the future I will decide for each new feature to which version I want to add it. As the paid version is focused on the power users it will likely be features geared towards this group.
Maybe some of the exclusive functionality will also turn up in the free version later.

The price for NewsRob Pro is €4.99 (~USD 7, GBP 4.35) and is bought as a separate application from the Android Market. It unlocks the premium features in NewsRob. You can buy from within NewsRob from the options menu "Buy NewsRob Pro".

As a token of appreciation to the existing NewsRob users the price will be €3.99 for a week.

We are discussing this approach on the NewsRob mailing list. If you want to give constructive feedback and talk with other users too, join us there. If you want to vent you can leave a comment here at the blog and if you want to give me a piece of your mind or leave a death threat you can also email me:
I hope you guys are happy with the new direction and give me feedback one way or another.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


In the recent past there have been a couple of changes regarding signing in to NewsRob/Google Reader. Judging by the feedback and a couple of thousands uninstalls this is a matter very close to the heart of many NewsRob users. So let me give you some background and a glimpse in the future.

Since very recently NewsRob/Google Reader sessions didn't expire for 3rd party apps. Now the expiration is two weeks. The introduction of this new policy was accompanied by an expiration of all sessions, so that you guys had to re-login.
Also recently another change in Google Reader broke the 3rd party apps. The Google Reader team very quickly rolled back the change, but many of you were affected. You needed to login again. Sorry for that.
There is an upside of the changes though, but more one that later.

On top of that NewsRob's login functionality wasn't as resilient as one would expect. As the sessions never timed out I felt that my time were better spent on other features. Well, live and learn ;-)
Meanwhile the current V3.5.3 handles expired sessions as it should have right from the beginning. This weekend I will release V3.6. This version will also handle CAPTCHAs and allow you to optionally save your password, so that NewsRob can auto-login you when the session expires.

Now to the upside I mentioned above. Some initial testing indicates that one of the recently deployed Google Reader changes now makes the Google Reader authorization compatible with the Android 2.0 Account/Authentication API.
That means, if everything works as expected, NewsRob 3.7 will not need to ask your for your Google account's password again. Instead there is an official way where your password is kept safe and you will only be asked to authorize NewsRob to access Google services using your account. Let me repeat that, the password itself will no longer to be disclosed to NewsRob.
You're probably as happy about that as I am ;-)

It's hard to say at the moment, but I expect NewsRob 3.7 to be out mid March.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Keep And Sync: Unread Articles Only

Update: This sync option is working now and not considered experimental anymore.

With NewsRob 3.4.0 a new sync option was introduced:

Keep And Sync: Unread Articles Only (Experimental)

Please don't use that feature anymore. For some users it lead to articles marked as read, that weren't read. I don't know yet, what the problem is, but I'll put an update onto this post when I know more.

This conversation contains more details and I will keep it updated.