Self-hosted open source RSS readers

I think I’ve tried pretty much all of them. After the Google Reader-pocalypse, one of the primary requirements was that I could host it myself. Bonus points go to apps that have configurable keyboard navigation (“j” to open the next item must be distinct from “space” to just scroll down in the browser), as well as decent integration on mobile. Here’s a roundup of the ones I’ve tried.

Newsblur

Awesome platform, but way too big for someone looking to host their own personal solution. I tried upgrading it once and broke it. No idea what I did wrong or how to even figure out how why it wasn’t working. Seems very well designed for a massive multi-user operation, though, if you’ve got the Python chops to figure everything out. Newsblur website.

Commafeed

Commafeed is also a larger piece of software, but requires many fewer components than Newsblur. You need Java, some java tools like maven, a DB and of course more than a little bit of RAM.

TT-RSS (Tiny Tiny RSS)

Nice, but not as configurable as I’d like. This and the rest of the readers listed are written in PHP. There are three larger downsides to tt-rss:

  • I had quite a bit of trouble trying to get it to run from a subdirectory on Nginx. This is not necessarily specific to tt-rss, many apps are hard to config this way.
  • The primary developer is not friendly. He seems to take pleasure in ridiculing people in the support forums.
  • Although it’s supposed to be tiny, and the application part is, it requires Postgres or MySQL with InnoDB support. I would prefer something that uses less memory on the DB side, either MyISAM tables or better yet SQLite.

SelfOSS

I ran SelfOSS for a while and liked it. However, I didn’t like the Android experience (what, no swipe?) so I went looking for something else.

FreshRSS

I’m currently running FreshRSS and it’s really, really good. But I’m starting to get discouraged by a few nagging bugs and the lack of recent updates to the github repo.

Miniflux

I ran Miniflux for a short time a while back and my memory is a bit hazy on the experience (after a while RSS reader experiences tend to blend in with one another). I think I’m going to give it another shot. On his site, reading down the list of what Miniflux is not vs what it is makes me take heart. The developer is clearly trying to convey a no-BS attitude with his intentions for this app. One thing that gives me a spark of hope is that there was a new point release this month. I will update this post with any news with Miniflux.

Long Live ControlPlane!

I’ve written about Locamatic before, and while it’s good at what it does, there are some definite drawbacks. For one, the most recent version is alpha quality and stated for use on Mountain Lion since prior versions won’t work anymore on a newer system. But as of this writing, Mountain Lion was two major releases ago. I think it’s safe to say that development has stalled, and that’s OK. Continue reading “Long Live ControlPlane!”

Google Now Needlessly Requires Battery-Draining Location Settings

location based cardsI think Google Now on my Android is pretty cool. I especially like the cards that show how traffic looks for an expected commute. One thing about it that bothers me a lot however, is that it insists that it needs either “high accuracy” or “battery saving” location mode enabled. High Accuracy mode uses GPS, wifi, or mobile networks to determine location. Battery Saving mode uses wifi and mobile networks. Device Only is the third option which uses GPS solely. My question is: Why is the Device Only option not allowed for Google Now to work? Continue reading “Google Now Needlessly Requires Battery-Draining Location Settings”

VX ConnectBot

vx-connectbotI had been using ConnectBot for a long time on my Android devices, because I wanted something to remotely administer machines without needing an actual laptop. It’s nice because the data plan is built-in to most mobiles, so one doesn’t necessarily need a wifi connection nearby. Unfortunately, it’s rather time-consuming and clumsy to use an on-screen keyboard on the command line of a remote system. So a little while back I got an AmazonBasics Bluetooth keyboard to make typing any significant amount easier while away from a real computer. Mainly, I wanted easier access to Esc (I’m a Vim user), Ctrl-(C|D|Z|…) and Tab. The problem was, when I tried out the keyboard on a remote system, almost none of it worked. It turns out ConnectBot is really only meant to work with the most simple soft keyboards; the key mappings just aren’t there.

Enter VX ConnectBot, a fork of the original that adds a lot of key bindings, fixes and new features. I’m loving it so far. The Android Market link is on their page. It’s small like the original, asks for very few permissions, continues with the Apache 2.0 license, and is gratis and ad-free.

I am not affiliated with the project, just a fan.

Encrypted Voice Calls

Wow, I’m not sure I’d ever have a need for something like this, but it’s really nice to know it’s there if needed.

RedPhone, our Android application for making secure voice calls, is now available as Free and Open Source Software! As with TextSecure, we hope that making RedPhone OSS will enable access to secure communication for even more people around the world, with an even larger number of developers contributing to make it a great product.

Encrypted voice calls, now open source.