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rss readerRecently, I’ve been suffering from major “app” overload. At one point in the past month, I had Digsby alerting me with Facebook and Twitter updates, Firefox plugins alerting me with Gmail updates, and I used Google Reader to check for updates from my favorite blogs.

Between social networks, email and blogs, that pretty much sums up the streams of incoming “data” that I check every day, and to do so I was running at least three applications, plus a few other Firefox plugins.

At one point, I looked at all of the apps that I had running and started thinking that there has to be a far simpler way to collect all of the data that I check on a daily basis into one place that is well organized and simple to configure.


I’ve tried the online portals, like Netvibes How to Manage Your Life Completely Online Using Netvibes How to Manage Your Life Completely Online Using Netvibes Read More , which have some pretty cool plugins you can use to access feeds, email and social networks. The problem with online portals is that you are forced to have your browser open to monitor all of your incoming information. I needed a solution that didn’t depend on having a browser open. A desktop application that would collect all incoming feeds, but also present a method to sync that data over the Internet.

I was surprised to discover the solution in a powerful little open source desktop application called RSS Bandit. Many readers have mentioned the app in various comments, but the power of this little data-collection fiend deserves a full review.

RSS Bandit Collects Social Network Feeds

While most RSS readers are awesome tools for organizing all of the sites that you like to visit online, there are very few that can also incorporate new information or posts from your favorite social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook. RSS Bandit has now added the ability to directly poll your Facebook account for new updates – turning it from a simple RSS Reader into an online life aggregator. So delete all of those other applications you’ve got running in the background, open up RSS Bandit, and let’s roll.

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  • First, go to your Twitter account, scroll down and copy the URL for the “RSS feed” link in your right menu.

    rss reader

  • In RSS Bandit, you add the Twitter feed just as you would any other blog or website RSS feed. Click on the “New…” button, and the “Add Subscription Wizard” opens up.

    rss reader

  • Paste your Twitter RSS feed link into the new subscription URL, click Autodiscover and and RSS Bandit will recognize your feed and add it to your “My Feeds” menu.

    rss content

  • Adding Facebook is just as easy. Select File -> Synchronize Feeds… from the menu system and a special “Synchronize Feeds” wizards opens up that offers you several unique options where RSS Bandit can collect data from a number of outside sources.

    rss content

  • These include Google Reader, NewsGator Online, Windows Feedlist and of course Facebook. Select Facebook and click next. You’ll have to verify your Facebook credentials just as you do any time you give an application access to your Facebook account. Once you authenticate, RSS Bandit will start polling updates straight out of your Facebook account.

    rss content

  • When you click on your Facebook news feed, you’ll see a display just like a regular blog feed where you can select the item (a friend status update) and view the text in the content panel below.

what is rss feed

The same thing is true for the Twitter feed, although in this case you’ll probably find yourself just scrolling slowly down the headline list since most of the Twitter updates fit in the Headline field.

what is rss feed

Using RSS Bandit to Get New Email

Tired of opening up a new app or your browser to check for new email? Why not let RSS Bandit do that too? Now that Gmail offers an atom feed for your email account, it’s easy. All you have to do when you click on the new subscription link is paste either “https:gmail.google.com/gmail/feed/atom” into the URL field. You’ll need to authenticate (RSS Bandit allows for authentication). With non-authenticating RSS Readers, you’d have to use “https://USERNAME:PASSWORD@gmail.google.com/gmail/feed/atom”. This is what your Gmail feed will look like when you’re done.

what is rss feed

Of course RSS Bandit can aggregate blog and website feeds from any source, including news sites and podcast RSS feeds just as well as the best RSS Readers out there.

And the sweetest thing about RSS Bandit is that in the Options menu, you can enable Remote Storage of your feeds so that you can remotely access them from anywhere. Just set up an FTP account to your own web hosting or file storage folder and you’re good to go!

RSS Bandit can organize your online life unlike many other apps out there. Have you ever given RSS Bandit a try? Do you know of any other RSS Readers with these kind of features? Share your insight in the comments section below!

  1. Ryan Dube
    September 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Aashish - double check the delay between updates that you've set up for each feed. Maybe you have it set a little bit too long?

  2. Aashish Niroula
    September 21, 2010 at 8:14 am

    I had synchronized RSS Bandit with Google Reader........and now 17 out of my 20 subscriptions don't get update at all in Bandit. When I open reader, they are updates but not in Bandit and I have pressed 'Update All Feed' button like a 100 times.

  3. Drone
    September 4, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Feedlooks requires a real email account. No thanks.

    • Aibek
      September 4, 2010 at 6:06 pm

      :-)

  4. Ryan Dube
    September 4, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Check this out - lots of people experiencing the same problem.
    http://support.twitter.com/gro...

  5. Ryan Dube
    September 4, 2010 at 4:57 am
  6. Ryan Dube
    September 4, 2010 at 4:51 am

    That's amazing - it worked while I was writing this article, that must have just been changed right after the article was published. You're right, I checked and my Twitter connection won't authenticate anymore - even the RSS link on Twitter's own page reports that basic authentication doesn't work. Ridiculous.

  7. Don
    September 4, 2010 at 6:33 am

    I couldn't get RSS Bandit to work with twitter. After August 15th or 16th, twitter disabled basic authentication and went with OAuth. RSS Bandit gives a 401 authentication error.

    It seems that twitter is not interested in RSS feeds working anymore.

    Anyone have any idea of either how to get RSS Bandit to work or know of another program that can work with twitter?

    Thanks for any comments.

  8. Don
    September 4, 2010 at 4:33 am

    I couldn't get RSS Bandit to work with twitter. After August 15th or 16th, twitter disabled basic authentication and went with OAuth. RSS Bandit gives a 401 authentication error.

    It seems that twitter is not interested in RSS feeds working anymore.

    Anyone have any idea of either how to get RSS Bandit to work or know of another program that can work with twitter?

    Thanks for any comments.

  9. Ryan Dube
    September 4, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Hey Ryan - yes, I know what you mean. Although, there's a lot to be said for having a central place, like a laptop or desktop that you use often, which downloads all of your online "stuff" like blogs, emails, etc... I personally prefer a desktop version simply because the online readers don't have the features that I want, and the desktop ones seem so much more robust.

    But it's a matter of preference, I know a lot of people really like their favorite online readers! Thanks for your comment.

  10. Ryan Dube
    September 4, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Hey Ryan - yes, I know what you mean. Although, there's a lot to be said for having a central place, like a laptop or desktop that you use often, which downloads all of your online "stuff" like blogs, emails, etc... I personally prefer a desktop version simply because the online readers don't have the features that I want, and the desktop ones seem so much more robust.

    But it's a matter of preference, I know a lot of people really like their favorite online readers! Thanks for your comment.

  11. Ryan
    September 3, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I don't like the idea of downloading a rss feed reader. That's what I love about feedlooks. Sign in and see all your feeds in one place, neatly organized. It's nice being able to click on a feed and have it open up in the same page. If there's more rss feed readers like feedlooks I'd be interested in knowing about them.

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