Newswall allows you to create your own personalised magazine, hosted on your own webserver no less, consisting of the RSS feeds of your favourite sites. If you’d rather follow interesting topics as opposed to sites, Skeedy will come in handy.
NewsWall, a free PHP script, allows you to host an RSS reader on your webserver, and is very easy to set up. Download the zip file, and upload its contents to the root folder of your webserver. Once you’ve uploaded the files, direct your browser to the URL (http://yoursite/foldername) and configure Newswall to display the RSS feeds of your choice. You won’t have to fiddle with database settings, which makes it very easy for anyone who knows how to access an FTP server to install Newswall.
The first time you launch it, you will be prompted to add RSS feeds, and from there you can also add IMAP or POP email accounts, and adjust your settings. If you’re going to use Newswall to keep up with your email, be sure to include a login password so not just anyone can find their way to your email messages.
To access this control panel after the initial setup, simply click on the Newswall logo at the top of the page.
From here you can continue to add new RSS feeds to your wall.
Other settings you can control are the number of items from each feed, how often feed is refreshed and you can also choose from several themes to suit your taste.
Newswall displays the latest items from the sites you follow in a magazine-like grid.
Once you open up an item, you can read it directly on Newswall or you can also click the button at the bottom of the screen to see the article on the original website.
When reading the article on Newswall, go back to the grid of articles by clicking the power button.
If you choose not to use Newswall to keep up with your email, it could serve to be a convenient and original way for a group of people to follow the same websites and blogs.
If you already subscribe to a lot of feeds and are looking for a quick way to import them into a new service – Newswall is not for you. Adding your favourite sites one by one will be a tedious task and so the service is better suited to someone who doesn’t already have an RSS reader set up.
Another disadvantage to using Newswall as your RSS reader is that once you read any given item, it does not disappear from the grid. On the other hand, if you’re looking to put together a personalised online magazine of sorts, Newswall could be the perfect solution for you.
With Skeedy, rather than follow the sites or blogs themselves, you can follow your favourite topics.
Sign up for a new account by either creating one, or connecting to your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Once you’re following your favourite topics, opening up any given news item from your Skeedy page will actually open up the original blog or site, with a Skeedy frame at the top of the page.
The advantage to using Skeedy, and Newswalls, as opposed to a traditional RSS reader, is that you are able to see the blog’s original layout. For bloggers who go to great lengths to create an attractive website, this is definitely a plus.
There are three choices with how much information you want to receive on any given topic. The first category, Geek, is a little reminiscent of Google Alerts, where you will receive every piece of news about the subjects you are following. With the second category, Fan, you will receive only the relevant news on the subjects you are following. And with the third category, Calm, you will receive only the important news about the subjects you are following.
Not only can you can read the news on the Skeedy website, you will also receive an email notification with the latest updates on your topics. With the Geek and Fan categories, you will receive one email per day, whereas with the Calm category you will receive only one email per week.
Skeedy doesn’t only scan websites and blogs for the latest news, but also pulls in videos from YouTube, photos from Flickr, and books from Google books. Rather than use a frame, the photos and videos are displayed directly on the Skeedy website.
How do you keep up with the news that’s of interest to you? Let us know in the comments.
Image credit: Marius Auzelis