I had an RSS crisis a few months back, if you can call such a thing something so dire. I'd been using Fiery Feeds for a few years, particularly after they released a premium version for only $5/year that leveraged iCloud for synching feeds across iOS platforms. But I had noticed amidst all its thorough levers and themes for customization, I was using the app less and less. I still enjoyed checking my favorite authors, but something about the app just wasn’t doing it for me. Perhaps the bloated design. All the options. I don’t know, but it made me miss enjoying opening an RSS app and digging in.
Without fully going down memory lane, I’ve been using RSS feed readers since I owned my first Mac and RSS became a thing — Another one of those “design playgrounds” for developers. The first RSS client I used was NewsFire — shockingly still around for download, even though it hasn't been updated since 2009 (look at that thing, just drenched in old-school Mac OS X polish). I moved through using Google Reader as a backbone until that died in 2013. It was then onto the paid synching service Feed Wrangler, then Newsblur, then Feedbin, then Fiery Feeds, then Feedly, marauding through excellently-design apps like Unread, Reeder, and Readkit.
It wasn’t until a few months back, though, that one of the great original RSS feed readers, NetNewsWire, was back under control of Brent Simmons (its initial creator) that I dove back to using that, and recently to plunge back into paying for Feedbin. This combo just hits the right notes. NetNewsWire is built to a tee with iOS guidelines, and doesn’t veer too aggressively in experimental directions (aside from some classy full-screen reader views that use anywhere-on-the-screen long-presses for actions, which I don’t see often). Same goes for its iteration on the Mac, though as of this writing, it’s still catching up on a few features with its iOS twin.
Using Feedbin as the backbone for synching is also, still, an exceptional experience. It’s been updated since I last used it, and still exudes a level of class that few other back-end synching solutions have (or even bother to explore). It has its own apps which function just fine, too, including a Notifier app that gives you a heads up on custom-selected feeds that drop, particularly useful if you want to be alerted to infrequent writers. But one of the best features of Feedbin is its newsletter subscription ability. It provides you a randomized email address that you can use to sign up for various newsletters, and pulls them in like RSS feeds (and it works just great with RSS newsreaders that work with Feedbin). This mitigates clutter in your inbox while providing a secure, private method of subscribing to newsletters. It’s brilliant.
Anyway, RSS is a pleasure again. Like it should be. And here are some recently added feeds I've been enjoying:
Nicole Cardoza's Anti-Racist Newsletter: Daily mailer with plenty of insights and guidance on fighting systemic racism
Alex Kwa: Reviewer based in Japan, focuses solely on technical apparel typically in black
Minnesota Reformer: Subscribe through the newsletter, highlights extensive policy news across the state
Molly Young at New York Mag's Vulture: Subscribe through her newsletter; infrequent (monthly?) book recommendations that are actually good
NextDraft: No idea why it took me so long to get around to this, but Dave Pell's daily curation is a perfect evening skim.