Forwarding Address: OS X

Thursday, February 28, 2002

here's an update on my quest for an RSS client for Mac OS X.

thanks to Morbus Iff, i managed to get AmphetaDesk installed and running on Mac OS X. the most difficult part was installing all the prerequisite Perl crap, which doesn't go as smoothly on Mac OS X as it does on, say, Linux. that's doubly-true if you're Perl-ignorant (hell, Perl-hostile) like me. nevertheless, once all of the plumbing's in place, AmphetaDesk itself is a snap to run.

i whipped up a six-line AppleScript that launches AmphetaDesk from the Script Menu (mmm...scripting, and it takes about 30 seconds poll the 24 feeds i currently have listed (by the way FA:OSX generates a huge feed -- i'm seeing every post to the site since Feb 18). AD generates a fairly snappy single web page with your stories grouped by source, and sorted by recency. administration and usage is browser-based so things will be very familiar to Radio UserLand vets. for example, adding and removing sources works much as it does in Radio's news aggregator -- you enter a URL into a form field to add a source; you remove sources from your list by unchecking their checkboxes and submitting the form. of course, since the UI is HTML-based and the incoming RSS feeds are ground through templates, you can customize the look of your news page to meet your needs. one other nifty nicety: you can toggle whether or not clicking on a story opens the URL in a new window.

i'm going to be adding more feeds until AD either a) breaks, or b) i run out of feeds. another issue (for me, anyway) is that i can't see any quick way to set AD to poll the sources at regular intervals -- so far, i've been hiccuping AD to achieve the same effect. but my overall report would be: so far, so good.