Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NewsRob 4.8

Want to report a bug? Discuss a feature? Need help? Please come to the mailing list: http://bit.ly/nr_list
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Looking for the FAQ: http://bit.ly/nrfaq

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 faz.net 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.


  1. It is showing up as The requested item could not be found. Did you unpublish it due to a bug or something?

  2. Yes, sorry. Should be available soon.

  3. Ah thanks for the reply, might want to update it on your site and blog, shows up as an update here :)

  4. That's great news, I love this app. I use it multiple times a day, well worth the pro price :D

  5. Well, I was testing Windows Phone 7 for a while on my versatile HD2 and I can say that the main reason to return to Android was NewsRob ... So, that must give you an idea how much I appreciate your software!

  6. It does. Thank you very much!

  7. As always, a great job. The speed improvements are noticeable on my Samsung Galaxy S 4g. Newsrob Pro is my most used app, and well worth every penny.

  8. This is my most used app. Could not live without it. Thank you for all your hard work

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Can't wait for that Honeycomb support!

  11. A great app that sensibly reduces the need for daily browsing, thus expanding my work productivity...
    My boss should donate!
    Now I'd be happy to post again for an HD version on honeycomb

  12. You may want to implement in app billing for donation. I think even after paying for the pro version, there are people who wants to pay more!

  13. Latest version pegs my tegra 2 gtablet at 100% after 2nd refresh. Unusable :-(

    Love it on my hd2 tho.

  14. Great work! Like others, this is my most used app by far. Love it.

    I haven't figured out why left swiping an unread (green) item makes it blue; what's blue mean?

  15. Excellent, thankyou... the parallel load with domain ignoring sounds like the perfect practical solution.

    One of my most used apps... the reason I went Pro!

    Only bug left for me is that it always exact syncs even when told not to. I never use Reader online.

    Also, can you make it react better to Youtube links? Eg in Neatorama I just read a javascript error...


  16. Borgel, yes I know ;) I have HC support on my mind, but currently there are a lot of other things, like possible bugs or support of the quirks of the Galaxy S II, that are distracting me, but I am still optimistic that the first steps will be done for the next version.

  17. Gaël, Olivier, yes, I hear you ;) (see above)

    Tom, Karl, thanks ;)

    Yuku, thanks, I like the attitude. Actually in particular from the users who bought NewsRob a year or two ago I sometimes hear that they want to keep on supporting NewsRob and how they could do that?!
    I am not sure what the best way would be and how many people would be interested, but I'll keep it in mind.
    In app purchases don't look too good at the moment though. Have a look at the whole Lodsys disaster.

    hiascelles, do you use Wifi or trigger the sync manually or from a third party app, like tasker? Then the exact sync will always run.
    I have this whole approach on my TODO list however. Not sure yet, if it will get better for you, because most users have the problem that exact syncing is not used during every sync.

    Jason, if you have the time, could you please come to the list and explain in detail what happens and maybe run tests for me? http://bit.ly/nr_list

  18. Bradley, those articles are pinned when they turn blue. They won't be affected anymore by "mark all read" or "mark read until here".

    So most users use it to quickly scan there articles in a list, swipe to the left for the articles that they want to keep for later reading in detail and then use "mark all read" / "mark read until here" to get rid of the articles that are not pinned.

  19. Can't wait for the HC version. Let me know if you need a Xoom 3G tester.

  20. I second that Jason. I'm transitioning into a Xoom tomorrow

  21. I have the HTC Thunderbolt. Installed Newsrob free edition. When i'm on 4g I get "syncronization failed: java.net socket exception the operation timed out". On 3g it works perfectly. Started happening about a week ago.

  22. jm, could you please come to the list to share the details? http://bit.ly/nr_list.

    Don't hold your breath though. This is a low level network error and therefore not likely something NewsRob can do anything about.

  23. hello, I would like to tell you that the application drain a lot of battery, even with minimal configuration without images and without autosync. I have a consumption of 8% of Samsung's galaxy 2.3.3. I also bought the pro version.

  24. Hmmh, but you are using NewsRob? 8% doesn't sound that bad then, but in that case it is far less than the screen.

    Anyway, this is not the right place to discuss this. Please come to the
    list to discuss it with the other users there: http://bit.ly/nr_list

  25. Hi, really wish you had an "email the developer" option on the Market :-/ This is probably the wrong place to request but the thought of sorting thru 800 topics for the right one was a little daunting.

    ...anyways. Thanks so much for the app! I bought Pro probably a year ago now. Lately though, I've needed to switch all my apps to night reading mode. NR of course has one but it drives me crazy because the text is not white but gray! My OCD can't handle that! I'd hate to use a different reader just for that tiny detail so I'm requesting that you please add that option. Thanks in advance.

  26. Hi JesusIce.

    I had the email developer button, but I wouldn't be able to also do development if I had kept it. Sorry. Meanwhile people use the mailing list and no question goes unanswered there. http://bit.ly/nr_list

    You can also submit feature suggestions or vote for them on uservoice. http://bit.ly/nr_suggest.

    The current night theme is more of a night theme than a black theme. The idea is that a user wakes up at night and his or her eyes haven't adjusted fully, so a lower contrast is hurting less on the eyes.

    However I've heard your request before and I will take it into consideration and likely add another theme when I am working on this part of NewsRob. This will not be soon though. My work queue is full. Sorry.

  27. Anon4nuhAJad, I think I fixed that already, so it should be in the current beta. At least I don't find it anymore in the code. Thanks for bringing it
    up though. I do care for those "details".

  28. I normally do not comment on blogs and the like, but I wanted to pass on my thanks for this wonderful app! Each update brings faster and more efficient RSS utilization, and I have been using NewsRob since I purchased a Droid 1 back on launch day. Keep up the amazing work, well worth the pro purchase price!

  29. Thanks DJSPain, that makes for a nice counter balance to the comments I see in the Android Market ;)

  30. Honeycomb support in the next release? I am using it now on an Asus Transformer and it works pretty well.

  31. Denbo,

    I can't promise it, but that's the plan.

    4.8.2 was "just" a bug fix release to deal with urgent issues b/o (a) Samsung's interpretation of Gingerbread and (b) some bugs in how WiFi locks work, which lead to high CPU usage (or so I believe).

  32. Great app. I'm happy to contribute. It would be nice however if we could automatically delete or mark read articles older than custom number of days. marking them manually our even in bulk all the time in google reader is plain annoying

  33. Could you eventually please submit this idea to http://newsrob.uservoice.com

    However there are a lot of questions and things to think about before implementing something like that. Could you come to the mailing list and start a discussion there?

    The most important thing is an easy user story, that takes care of the difference between the locally stored articles and the article that remain in the stream on GR (you know that NewsRob only shows the x most recent articles, right)?

    Also I am not sure what it really is you want. An automatic functionality to mark things read after a certain time or a mark all read mechanism that takes a time parameter or/and extends to the remaining articles on GR.

  34. Honeycomb support is excellent... Can't wait!
    Many thanks and keep up the good work.

  35. When you say Honeycomb support you're talking about UI integration , right?

  36. Yes, I am talking about using the action bar and generally put the tablet screen real estate to good use.

  37. This is probably irrelevant to the topic, but I couldn't find a place to put it--
    Feature requests:
    *Ability to choose default view (feed/web) atleast for all feeds and possibly for individual feeds.
    *Viewing alt-texts(for webcomics-see what happens in google reader when you taphold an image and view caption), and saving images

  38. Manish, indeed, the mailing list (http://bit.ly/nr_list) or uservoice (http://newsrob.uservoice.com) are better places and the suggestion are there already.

    Quick summary, so that you don't have to look it up:
    - Use "Manage Feed", to set your preference on a per feed basis. Also global default available for download type.
    - I don't know how to do that from a technical point of view. At least no way to do that, which is not totally inefficient with respect to development time and runtime, e.g. parsing all feeds ...

  39. Ok, thanks for the tip!
    Ill check out the list/site sometime!!

  40. hi,
    the unread count in the widget don't works properly.
    in occasions, the widget don't shows a number (unread is zero) and when i click into the widget and the app is opened i have unread feeds.
    in other moments, when i click into the mark all read button andi exists to the desktop, the widget shows the old unread number

    1. The updates are delayed for performance/battery reasons. Otherwise all your (possible) 10 widgets would be updated every time you mark an article read etc, even though they are not visible.

      If you want to continue the discussion, could you please come to the list? http://bit.ly/nr_list

  41. keep up the great work. My favorite Android app period.

  42. first of all- good job!
    but can't you make the option that you can sync every 5 minutes?(or 10) because i have a lot of feeds and i have to manually sinc them.

    1. Yannic.

      I am not sure if I fully understand you. The number of feeds shouldn't make a difference. NewsRob fetches them all in one sync.

      Running the sync more frequently would not be very efficient, so the default is 1h and you can set it up to all 30 minutes.

      However some users use Tasker, Locale or Setting Profiles to trigger more frequent syncs when their phone is plugged in and on WiFi.

      If you want to continue this discussion, please let it do on the mailing list. http://bit.ly/nr_list

  43. I am using a galaxy nexus and I just got the update. When I am switching between articles in night mode, it flashes white between each article. I had to switch back to the white background.

    1. Hmmh, not good. This could be due to enabling hw acceleration. This only happens with 4.8.8 or did it happen with earlier versions too?

      Could you do me a quick favor and try what happens when you disable hw accel?

    2. I can vouch for this issue (but I kind of just ignore it,not a deal breaker for me). It only happens with HW acceleration on.

      Other than that, I love Newsrob and I've been using it for years now.Best RSS reader on Android. Can wait for the Honeycomb update.

    3. This version works around the issue: https://sites.google.com/site/newsrobapp/system/app/pages/admin/revisions?wuid=wuid:gx:3a43697d43f15ce8

  44. I can't find the way to read and download secured rss with login and password does this app support it?

    1. No, I am sorry. It doesn't.

      And it would be something that needed to be supported by the backend, Google Reader, anyway, but isn't afaik.

  45. Would be awesome.to integrate one buttom tumblr posting of images within newsrob.

  46. Please fix the widget layout (feed counter icon) in Android 4.x. Thanks.

  47. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=33962235

    Hi, can you make your app compatible with Samsung multiwindow feature present in SG N7000, N7100 and N8000?
    Here are some findings by justflash, basically you have to edit just Android manifest of your app, but I am no developer.

    Thank you very much.
    P.s. I can test this for you.

  48. Marius, sorry, I missed this entry.

    I don't think I will work on this soon. My day job is killing me at the moment and there are other NewsRob things I need to do before.

    However so that it doesn't get lost, you may want to add it to newsrob.uservoice.com.

    Sorry, for not having better news for you.

  49. Excellent application!

    Could you please make font in Article list column (Article short content, not Title) bigger or make it possible to set it's size (now we have only Title and main Article window with tun-able fonts) ?

    I have 7 inch screen and this font is too small.

    Thank you!

  50. What will happen to my favorite app now that Google Reader is shutting down?

  51. This is news to me too. We started discussions though in the mailing list.