Sunday, July 23, 2006

Review : Some news readers

More news is Better news

If you bury your nose in newspapers more often then necessary or glue your eyes to TV News channels when you fish out time to watch TV, it is high time now to change your habit. You have better, more productive ways to quench your news thirsts. There are more intuitive ways to get news from across the world than your idiot box or your morning news papers. In fact, you can get masalas from both worlds. Yes, you had guessed it right. You can get all kinds of latest news delivered to your computer’s desktop any where, anytime you want, and if you do not count the internet access as cost factor any more, here is news for you- most of news you get is free.

Internet is considered as oceans of news. You simply have to serf to get your kind of news. If you had surfed Yahoo’s web site, you may have noticed that its home page contains news headlines and breaking news form various prominent agencies like AP, Reuter etc. To a little extent, you can configure your Internet home page like Yahoo My page that can deliver customized news for you. But you need to go to that page and do little surfing to quench your news thirst. There are utilities that eliminate surfing for news and through theses utilities; the news contents are delivered very much like either your regular TV channel or your regular News Paper. In addition to that, you can have news from different sources that are not possible in regular TV Channels or News papers. There are hundreds of syndicated news providers in Internet, Usenet news groups and Web sites dedicated to news. Use any of the utilities reviewed below that suits your test or fill up your purpose for your news thirst you will quickly realise that the news were never so exciting ever before!

NewsPiper

NewsPiper displays news headlines from top news channels like CNN, FOX News, Reuters, BBC etc. on your Computer’s desktop. The news headlines in NewsPiper contains links that points to detailed news items that is available in its parent website. The link can be clicked to read the news in detail if the news headline punch you in the face. You can add / remove or edit web sites in NewsPiper that you think provides news to your taste. It uses a special script language that resembles Perl to extract news from HTML or XML pages of web sites. The script language is easy to write & configure, and for any web site, you can quickly write one for you. However, you can download, view and edit pre-written scripts for almost all famous News related sites while configuring NewsPiper. The NewsPiper also changes its scripts of News related sites on regular basis as and when content or style of a certain web site changes. When you go online, NewsPiper updates its scripts for the assigned news sites if you set it so. You can use its always on top window that can be docked to any place on the desktop that displays news headlines scrolling one by one at a pre-defined interval. You can also configure NewsPiper to download and update different category of news headlines at a pre-defined interval.

NewsAnchor

NewsAnchor brings news headlines to your computer’s desktop from across the world’s popular websites be it Popular science, CNET, BBC, Linux Today or any other channel. It is extremely easy in use. Once installed, from its configuration window, simply select the subject and News Sites from which you want your news headlines, and click OK. Though it does not have any scrolling window to display news headlines, it simply sits on your system tray, and when you feel you need to have a look at news head lines of the hour, simply click on its system tray icon and the headlines will be displayed in an intuitive window. You will see the headlines with little descriptions for each, having link to detailed news, if you want more.

CyberBuddy

CyberBuddy is a unique news reader utility that has many more useful utility embedded in it. In addition to get News headlines for you from popular news sites that you can read in text baloon, it may read it for you with the help of Microsoft Agent. If you feel to know full story about any headline, click on its web page tab and it will take you to its web site http://thecyberbuddy.com/news/ where you can find all kinds of detailed news neatly arranged in categories. CyberBuddy lets you select how often you want to update news head lines. The interval may be between 15 minutes to 3 hours. You can also select news categories from Business, Media, Internet or Medicine etc., the subject you are interested in. If you check the checkbox “Update only” then CyberBuddy will tell you only updated or breaking news and thus will ignore old news. In addition to news, CyberBuddy will give you following more-

· Weather updates & stock updates

· Tells you about speed of your net connection

· Gives you jokes and feel good messages that it retrieves form web

· Reminder messages that you can set to remind you periodically

· Clip board reader

· Gives you front end tool for your instant messages and chat

· Can also act as your e-mail client.

NewzCrowler

It is one of the best among news readers for your computer. It has Outlook like interface that has three pan. One pan contains all your news channels, the other contains news headlines and the third, a small description of selected headline with a link to detailed news for that news headline. It also installs itself as browser helper object in Internet Explorer and downloads headlines in backgrounds. You can edit / add or delete news channels in its channel tree that may be XML news servers, NNTP usenet servers or simple web pages. Simply click on the channel name you had added and within no time updated news or web pages containing new will be available to you on its preview pan. NewzCrowler also lets you use Microsoft Agent that reads news for you from within its window. When started, NewzCrowler automatically detects whether you are online or not and once online, it quickly downloads all the headlines from specified channels. NewzCrowler stamped headlines with date and time when it updates.

SomeNews

Somenews is a small browser program that uses Internet Explorer engine to display all the popular news sites in its tabbed window. There are a dozen or so inbuilt tabs for CBS News, CNN News, FOX News, News.com, MSNBC and ESPN etc. that you can click to read news from there. There are 10 more tabs in SomeNews window that you can assign to your other favorite web sites. When you start this program, it automatically checks the updated news pages form the websites it is configured for. It also has its own website that also has all kinds of categorized, filtered news.

AmphetaDesk

AmphetaDesk is a nice, little, free, cross platform, browser based news reader. You can use it in Linux, MacOS and nearly all versions of 32 bit Windows. In Windows, the utility does not require installation. You need to simply run its executable, and it detects your default browser, opens it with a web-page containing AmphetaDesk on local address http://127.0.0.1:8888/index.html . If you are online, and had defined your channels earlier, you can read news headlines from your favorite channels in this browser window. From it’s ‘Add a channel’ link, you can select and add your favorite news channels from more than 5000 channels categorized alphabetically for easy selection. The news headlines contain news in brief as well as link for detailed news. AmphetaDesk is fully customizable as how links to news headlines open, what browser to open and how often Amphetadesk updates news. These settings are done from within your browser window and are easy to administer. You simply have to select from dropdown menus or fill up some input box (such as time duration in minutes for automatic news update) and you are done. The application is purely on Perl script base, and hence delivers real fast. Once set, it is ready to bring world news on your desktop and you will never be short of news again.

Most of the news reader utilities mentioned in this articles are shareware / freeware and a few are trial-ware and can be downloaded from CNET’s download site : http://download.com.com under CNET>Downloads>Windows>Internet>Newsreaders category, where you may find many more to try out for your self. Really some news!

Screenshot Descriptions:

  • News01 NewsPiper: there is no better way to deliver news headlines to your computer’s desktop. It has a dock-able News Line window that is a small bar that shows scrolling news headlines.
  • News02 You can select the kinds of news- from general to business to science- to be delivered to your desktop from across the news sites of the world.
  • News03 NewsPiper uses script language to extract news headlines from any web site you think contains news. The scripts are small, easy to write and if you find difficulty in writing one, you can contact NewsPiper help to write one for you. Anyway, as content and formats changes, the scripts also need to be changed. NewsPiper automatically updates scripts for all popular news channels and web sites.
  • News04 AmphetaDesk: All the world’s news in your Desktop. From ever increasing 5000+ news channels that are catagorised alphabetically, AmphetaDesk brings all those news through your browser.
  • News05 Headlines from BBC News / World / UK Edition on the desktop courtesy Amphetadesk.
  • News08 CyberBuddy, the news reader with goodies reading weather condition of Delhi.
  • News09 SomeNews- All the prominent news channel- right there in your tabbed browser- really some news!
  • News10 The Outlook style news reader- NewzCrowler. You can add your favorite news channels as well as web pages in its channel tree to read updated news / web pages.
  • News11 NewzCrowler giving you the updated news pages at a regular interval.
  • News14 CyberBuddy news page has variety of news neatly catagorised in different sections.
  • News15 NewsAnchor- one of the best news headlines reader for your desktop. Use it to believe the news in it.

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