Managing Inspiration

Posted by Jan Vantomme on 26 August 2009.
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Every day I spend some time reading RSS-feeds. I read a lot on design, technology, usability, … Just about anything I’m interested in as a designer. The best articles end up on Delicious for future reference. I also see a lot of inspiring images. Most of these images come from places like ffffound, but does it float, The Dieline and some other design blogs. The images I like end up in my inspiration folder on my computer. So far I have about 4000 of them. I’m using one of the standard Apple Screen Savers to start showing the images at random when I’m away from my computer.

I don’t always read RSS-feeds on the same computer. Most of the times I read on my main studio computer, sometimes I use the laptop, on the train I use the iPhone and when I’m teaching in Brussels I’m usually logged in on a network account. The thing I liked about NNW(NetNewsWire) when I bought it (a long time ago, before it was freeware), was the ability to sync with NewsGator so I could easily keep track of read/unread items. Another thing I really like is the Clippings folder. When I’m reading from my laptop or iPhone, I use the Clippings folder to collect images I like. Next time I read on the studio computer, the found images go in the inspiration folder.

And then NNW(NetNewsWire) messed up my workflow. The new beta version only syncs with Google Reader and support for syncing with NewsGator and .Mac are not available anymore. A lot of people are not that happy with the new way of syncing. Khoi Vinh also faced some problems with the new version of NNW(NetNewsWire).

Just before I left for a short trip to Berlin, I decided to set up the new version of NNW(NetNewsWire) with Google Reader just to see what would happen when I got back. Results were not that great.

But since the software is still in Beta, things might change. I’m waiting for the new version of NNW(NetNewsWire) for iPhone to see if my workflow remains intact. But I’m also doing research for new ways to read RSS. I’ve tried Google Reader since my feeds are now synced there. Works fine but I don’t like the interface that well. A good thing to read through a feed of images is the Previous Item / Next Item buttons at the bottom of the screen.

I’ve also tried Fluid as a standalone version of Google Reader with Helvetireader. I really like the minimal interface but the buttons I liked in the original Google Reader interface are too small. I also had a look at Fever but I don’t know if it will be a good thing for my workflow.

So I’m searching for a new way to read feeds, one that still resembles my current way of reading. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

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