Friday, November 4, 2011

Social Features Dropped From Google Reader

As you have probably learned by now Google dropped the social features in Google Reader.

More information here and here.

Unfortunately that means as a consequence in NewsRob "Share (in Reader)", "Share With Note" and "Like" need to be removed also.

I intend to release a new version of NewsRob without the aforementioned features.
Apart from the lack of social features it will be the same version of NewsRob, so that there shouldn't be any bugs in there.
However due to the lack of lead time I don't want to release the new version today, but wait until Monday and see if the beta testers on the mailing list find something that I broke.

If you don't want to wait or help test the new version, you can access it here.

If the backend of Google Reader drops the functionality sooner than Monday you may need to use that version anyway. Otherwise NewsRob will not be able to delete read articles that you recently liked or shared and have not been synced with the server.
This would be a temporary glitch though and repaired when you install the new version.

Btw. Work on a tablet version of NewsRob is still underway.

Update: Release 4.8.3 is live in the Android Market.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NewsRob 4.8

Want to report a bug? Discuss a feature? Need help? Please come to the mailing list:
Want to submit a feature suggestion?
Looking for the FAQ:

NewsRob 4.8

Faster Downloads

If you never had issues with slow sites / downloads, then you can skip this section.

A few people were complaining that the download phase of the sync took to long and it ran down their batteries.

It seems to me that this happened, because they used the "A + I + Full Web Page" option on sites that are extremely slow. NewsRob stops each article download after 180 seconds, but if you have 500 articles from a major news outlet that still sums up to a day.

Some sites, I suspect for example, also seem to "protect" themselves from automatic downloads and do so with an indefinite waiting time.

So from this release on:
- Three articles are downloaded in parallel (except for hosts that are download with the Instapaper mobilizer, there we just have a single download at a time)
- For each article up to 15 images are downloaded in parallel
- Hosts that time out are not tried for new downloads again in the same sync. (However they will be tried again in the next sync.)

More can be done, but that's it for the moment.

If you never had issues with download times then these changes will not be noticeable for you.
For example for feeds where you selected "Articles + Images" in my tests it was an improvement of 20%, which is likely not noticeable, but if you use "Articles + Images + Full Web Page" or use slow/high latency/blocking sites you should see a huge difference.

Even though the actual work the device is doing during the downloads is higher now than before, the phone's UI responsiveness should not suffer from that. Let me know how that works for you on your device.


You can now like/unlike articles in NewsRob and this status is synced with the Google Reader service.

CPU Usage

For some people NewsRob were using CPU even when in the background. This should not happen anymore, except – of course – when a sync is running in the background.

Readability as a Mobilizer

In the experimental settings you can now select Readability as a mobilizer. The integration is experimental for the time being and will be improved upon over the next releases.

New capacity setting 2,000

You can now set the capacity to 2,000.

But before you do that, are you aware that if you mark articles as read, NewsRob will fetch older unread articles to match the configured capacity? So if you are not going offline for long, e.g. on an airplane, a smaller number is likely more efficient.

Also are you aware that you can mark old articles as read in bulk on the Google Reader webapp? You can do so globally or per label/folder or feed This might be the solution to the articles that you may never read anyway. And a smaller number of unread articles makes everything, in particular the sync, go faster.

Just fyi ... over the next releases I will implement Honeycomb support.

Monday, January 31, 2011

NewsRob January Release / 4.7

NewsRob January Release / 4.7 

Want to report a bug? Discuss a feature? Need help? Please come to the mailing list:
Want to submit a feature suggestion?
Looking for the FAQ:

NewsRob January Release / 4.7

NewsRob Turns Two -– Special Promotion

NewsRob was initially published roughly two years ago and now enters its third year of life ;) It has been a great time and I'd like to use this occasion to offer NewsRob for €1.99 (€2.37 incl. Tax in the EU) until the end of February.

If you just very recently purchased NewsRob for the full price and feel cheated now, please contact me:

Subscribe to Feed in Google Reader

You now subscribe to feeds in Google Reader from within NewsRob.
Either you select it from any article lists' option menu or you send a link to NewsRob from another app or NewsRob itself.

The subscription dialog shows you a list of possible feeds for your keywords and works interactively. The actual fetching of new articles happens in the background during the next sync.

This is the implementation for the #3 feature suggestion at uservoice.

Google Ads - Full Screen Available in Free Version

Unfortunately AdMob dropped the support for narrow ads in their current SDK. As this was the only reason to still use AdMob, those ads are now replaced by Google Ads. NewsRob was showing Google Ads already on the bottom of the lists, but will now also do that on the article detail view.

Those are a bit taller than the narrow AdMob ads. To sweeten the deal the full screen mode of NewsRob is now available in the free version too and in full screen mode you should now have more space than you had before.

You can toggle the full screen mode with a double tap on the content area.

End of Support for Android 1.5 - 2.0.1 Devices

Meanwhile there aren't that many Android devices accessing NewsRob anymore that run an Android Version below Android 2.1. See the graphic on the right for a distribution of Android versions for NewsRob Pro.
As a consequence I am now dropping the official support for versions below Android 2.1.

This is the last version of NewsRob that is available for older Android versions and will be frozen. Hopefully that strikes a good balance between moving forward and not leaving the users of old versions totally behind.

At the beginning of March you will see the following message if you use an old Android version:

NewsRob kept compatibility with old Android versions for quite some time and to some extent will continue to do so. 
However this comes at a cost and as meanwhile there are only a few users left who use NewsRob on Android 1.5 - 2.0.1 devices, this cost became harder and harder to justify over the last releases.
To pick up speed with development the support for the older Android versions will be dropped from the main version of NewsRob. 
However to make sure that you are still able to install NewsRob and get an update when I discover a very critical bug, a new version of NewsRob is on the Android Market for devices running older versions of the AndroidOS. 
Please install the new version using the button below. You then need to uninstall the current version of NewsRob. 
If you have the Pro version of NewsRob this will also be recognized by the new version. 
Also your per-feed settings will be picked up by the new version, but you need to login again and configure the basic parameters. 
Thanks! – Waiting for you on the other side. 

New Authentication

It seems that the new authentication – introduced in the previous release – works well for the vast majority of NewsRob users.

However as there were a few disgruntled one-star-comments on the Android Market I'd like to say again that this only works for proper Google accounts. These are all accounts that end with or as well as the Google Apps For Your Domain accounts that Google already migrated.
If you don't have one of those, please continue to use the classic method.

Well, if you didn't read the previous release notes explaining that, you probably aren't reading these either and I am preaching to the choir ;) Anyway, there is also now a hint text on the account list / login dialog.


A lot of small performance/responsiveness improvements went into this release. Please come to the mailing list if you still see a black screen or an Application Not Responding dialog.

Another small enhancement should be valuable for web comics. When "Image Fit-To-Width" is enabled the resizing will be done again when changing the orientation of your device, at least until you first scroll into the article.