Tuesday 21 October 2003


Based on Technorati's recommendation, I downloaded and installed NewsMonster Free; however, I do not really like it.

I like the user interface and that it integrates well with Mozilla but its integration is one of the reasons why I will be changing news aggregrators.

For instance, I am not sure what to do now that Mozilla 1.5 is out.

Normally when a new version of either Mozilla or Firebird is released, I don't upgrade, I export my bookmark folder then I clean install the new browser by removing all traces of the old browser including Application Data (I use Windows XP), and the registry files.

But I have been using NewsMonster for about 3 weeks now and have built up a list of feeds and though I notice the option to export them as OPML, I have examined the content of this OPML file and it looks like I will have to rebuild my folder list as they don't show up in the OPML file.

I have stayed with Mozilla 1.4 for now, but when I "upgrade" to Mozilla 1.5, it looks like I will have to reinstall NewsMonster and perhaps import the OPML file, I have no idea how successful this would be.

Another reason why I don't really like NewsMonster is Java. I don't really like to use Mozilla preferring Opera instead but I am forced to use it because of NewsMonster and though Mozilla is normally slow in booting up, it now seems to be twice as slow because NewsMonster requires Java.

Finally, I don't really like NewsMonster because of where it dumped my feeds; I do not have Windows XP installed on my C:\ drive preferring to use another letter of the alphabet, therefore, I would have expected NewsMonster to dump my feeds at "documents and settings\{username}\application data\newsmonster", instead, NewsMonster dumped my feeds at the root folder of my C:\ drive which is formatted as FAT32, whereas my Windows XP installation is on NTFS.

As a result, all my Windows XP Accounts can now see my feeds. It is just as well nobody using my PC uses Mozilla except me!

One the plus side, I like the look and feel of NewsMonster Free and I have often wondered how I managed to get by without a news aggregrator and though it takes time to aggregrate, (10 mins to pull my 140 feeds), I notice via my own logs that it returns an HTTP Status Code 304 when my own feed hasn't been updated. This should keep Mark Pilgrim happy.

But prior to NewsMonster, I have never used a News Aggregrator before and considering the nitpicks I am finding with NewsMonster, I would like to try other news aggregrators just to see what I am missing. I like Russell Beattie's review of FeedDemon so I have done a download and will be installing it when I can find the time to get into it.

It is a pity FeedDemon is still in beta as at the time of this writing. Its reviews are quite good.

(Updated on Saturday 25 October 2003: I have just found out that NewsMonster has a Mailing List, therefore, if you wish to upgrade to Mozilla 1.5, it may be worth checking it out.)