• NewsBlur for iPhone X

    I’m proud to announce the launch of version 7.0 of the NewsBlur iOS app, complete with iPhone X support. There’s a lot that’s new and improved in this release.

    Also new to the release is that addition of in-app payments for a NewsBlur premium subscription. This was a long time coming. This upgrades the iOS app to match the experience on the web. And because in-app subscriptions are now live, the iOS app will now match the free account restrictions you’ll find on the web. As a reminder, NewsBlur is a paid service with free accounts that act as indefinite trials.

    Here’s a complete list of what’s new:

    • Built for iOS 11 and iPhone X
    • In app purchases allow you to upgrade to a premium subscription from inside the app
    • Drag-and-drop on iPad to share stories and images from NewsBlur
    • New view: Infrequent Site Stories shows stories from feeds that update less than once a day (premium only)
    • Theme manager in every view for quick color changes
    • Adding San Francisco font choice
    • Adding feed list and story list font size controls so you can change size directly from each view
    • Adding in-app Safari with Reader mode option
    • Scroll position is now saved, so when you return to a story you maintain your place
    • New mark as read button on iPad when in landscape or with story titles on bottom
    • Fixing image sizing on all iPhones and iPads
    • Updated many layouts for better future compatibility
    • Fixing unread count badge for users without notifications turned on
    • Fixing duplicate title/URL in Messages sharing (thanks Nicholas R!)
    • Fixing compatibility with Firefox (thanks Joe G!)

    I hope you enjoy the updated iOS app. I have plans to build new features on top of the app next year, when some huge features will make their debut.

  • Infrequent Site Stories is the blog reader we need

    Launching today on all three platforms—web, iOS, and Android—is the new Infrequent Site Stories view. This configurable river of news offers a view of stories only from the blogs that publish less often than 1 story per day.

    Most of what you see in your day-to-day feed is news that’s up to the minute and is probably stale within a day. Even 8 hour old news can be a problem. But sometimes what you want is an overview of the news that isn’t exactly news. It’s stories from the blogs who have individual authors, or blogs that publish only a few times a month. And missing out on those stories is a tragedy because it is those blogs that pushed you to invest in an RSS reader in the first place.

    Today I’m happy to introduce a new feature that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s called Infrequent Site Stories and you can find it at the top of your feed list on the web, on iOS, and on Android.

    Infrequent Site Stories is the river that captures stories from those authors who aren’t pulling from the firehose. These are the stories that are more thoughtful and more relevant days, weeks, months, or even years down the line. These stories are not to be missed. And the best thing about these stories is that there are far fewer of them than there are of your normal full river from All Site Stories.

    You can also configure the Infrequent river to be more or less inclusive of content that is more or less frequently published by changing the filter anywhere from 5 to 90 stories per month.

    These options are also available on all three official NewsBlur platforms and will let you perform a filter similar to how Focus mode reduces your number of unreads. It’s great to dip into Infrequent Site Stories and get stories you would ordinarily miss out on.

    Try out the new Infrequent Site Stories feed, available only to premium subscribers. If your experience is anything like mine, it’ll be one of the new must read feeds in your reader.

  • Improved Text view story extraction

    The Text view is one of the most popular NewsBlur features. It’s available on all three platforms and gives you the full text of the original story, even in truncated RSS feeds. Up until today, NewsBlur’s implementation of the Text view used Readability’s open source text extractor.

    Starting today, all stories will be run through Postlight Labs’ Mercury Parser. That means that not only will the full text be more likely to correctly pull the entire article, but it will also do a much better job with extracting full size images in stories.

    Take a look:

    A welcome improvement. This new text extractor and parser also does a better job of handling Unicode and Chinese characters. And when it doesn’t extract text as well as the old text extractor, NewsBlur will automatically fallback on the old method.

  • Launching real-time filterable push notifications for iOS, Android, web, and email

    For some sites, you want to know when they publish as soon as they publish. Maybe you want to immediately be notified of everything a site publishes, like a monthly meetup that posts an event only once a month. Or perhaps you want to be immediately notified of everything the NYTimes publishes about the companies in your stock portfolio. Or you just really enjoy reading your daily comics and want them emailed to you so you never miss a beat.

    Today I’m proud to launch push notifications simultaneously across all three native platforms on NewsBlur (that’s web, iOS, and Android). That means that you can setup notifications for all Unread stories or only Focus stories that you’ve trained to be pushed to you over email, iOS, Android, or through browser notifications on the web.

    You can setup all four types of notifications on both web and mobile. And you can employ your intelligence training to only surface the stories that have use certain tags, have specific keywords in the titles, or are written by specific authors. Additionally, it’s easy to hide stories using that same training so that you don’t receive notifications that you want to ignore.

    Push notifications on iOS

    To start with notifications on iOS, you can use the new swipe-to-the right gesture on the feed list (replacing the trainer on the swipe gesture). It’s very easy to turn notifications on and off or to even step up the filtering on a site so that you only get Focus stories instead.

    This way you can overprovision notifications for yourself and easily dial them back to where you get just the right number of notifications.

    Today version 7.0 of the NewsBlur iOS app is being released and here’s a list of what’s new and fixed on iOS:

    • Push notifications: real-time push notifications on a per-feed basis.
    • Swipe-to-the-right on a feed to change its notifications.
    • A new optional app badge for unread counts. Enable under Preferences.
    • Stories now automatically are marked as read on scroll. Disable under Preferences.
    • Better image support on iPad and fixes for drag-and-dropping the story titles bar (at bottom of the story detail).
    • A note on that: you can move story titles to the bottom on iPad. Just drag the bottom bar up.
    • Fixed issue with sharing stories not working or disappearing on iPad.
    • Fixed theme issues in the activity share sheet.
    • Fixed a crash from opening stories with no permalink.
    • Fixed size of intelligence control on bottom of feed list on iPhone SE.
    • Fixed issues when story titles are set to the bottom layout on iPad.
    • Fixed issues with the interactions dialog.

    Notifications on Android

    Android also gets a new version today. Version 6.0 gets notifications and new custom reading fonts as well as the mark read on scroll behavior that iOS and web have enjoyed.

    Here’s a list of what’s new and fixed on Android:

    • Mark as read on scroll is a new preference to automatically mark stories as read as you scroll past them.
    • New fonts for reading: Whitney, Chronicle, Gotham Narrow make their way to Android from the web.
    • Also supporting native Android fonts Noto Sans, Noto Serif, Open Sans Condensed, and Anonymous Pro.
    • Switching between Text and Story view is now sticky per-feed (similar to iOS and web).
    • Fixed issues where feed list would not update.

    Notifications on Web

    Browser notifications are handy for those sites that you only want to read on your desktop. For example, you could setup web notifications for an RSS feed for a status feed, letting you know when migrations and downtime will have some effect on you.

    Setting up and tuning notifications is also just as easy to do on the web. You’ll find it under Manage > Notifications as well as in the Read Filter Popover (top right of the app) when reading an individual feed.

    Notifications over Email

    Finally, for those use cases not covered under web or mobile, you can now have websites automatically email you when they publish new stories.

    This is for those stories that you don’t want to miss and want to ensure that you read. For instance, I use email notifications for worrydream’s quote blog that serves me a single paragraph of insight once a week because I loved having quotes emailed to me.

    There you have it, four new ways to consume the news. If you love using NewsBlur and want to see it continue to launch new features like these, please tell friends and followers about your news reader. People often ask for ways to stay on top of the game and NewsBlur is the most powerful way to do it.

  • NewsBlur now supports the new JSON Feed spec

    Introduced and announced only last week by open web pioneers Manton Reece and Brent Simmons, JSON Feed is a new RSS-like spec that lets websites publish their stories in a much easier and human readable format.

    From the JSON Feed spec authors:

    We — Manton Reece and Brent Simmons — have noticed that JSON has become the developers’ choice for APIs, and that developers will often go out of their way to avoid XML. JSON is simpler to read and write, and it’s less prone to bugs.

    Starting today, NewsBlur now officially supports the new JSON Feed spec. And there’s nothing extra you have to do. This means if a website syndicates their stories with the easy-to-write and easy-to-read JSON format, you can read it on NewsBlur. It should make no difference to you, since you’re reading the end product. But to website developers everywhere, supporting JSON Feeds is so much easier than supporting XML-based RSS/Atom.

    Daring Fireball, as pictured above, supports the new JSON Feed. To you, the reader, it should look no different than any other RSS feed. But to the developer, publishing this as a JSON Feed instead of XML is an order of magnitude easier and quicker.

    This spec is a terrific effort by open web advocates to make it easier to keep the web open and free by lowering the cost to writing and publishing.

    Try it for yourself, just subscribe to this feed: https://daringfireball.net/feeds/json. Even viewing it in a web browser is more pleasant than its XML counterpart.

  • Add your own Custom CSS and Custom JavaScript to NewsBlur on the web

    Ever wanted to customize NewsBlur on the web but didn’t want to install custom browser extensions so you could shoe-horn in monkey-patched code? And if you did use a browser extension, didn’t you just hate having to keep it synchronized between your computers? Just for you, NewsBlur now has two new fields: Custom CSS and Custom Javascript.

    Head to Manage > Account > Custom CSS/JS. And here’s what you can do with this new feature.

    Install an unofficial dark theme for NewsBlur

    Over on Stylish, a community for custom CSS, there are a bunch of stylesheets that change how NewsBlur looks. Have you ever wanted a dark theme? There’s a few and the most popular is made by NewsBlur user Splike. (Note: you will have to remove the @moz delcaraction along with the surrounding {}’s at the top and bottom lines.)

    Hide that module or link that you don’t want to see on NewsBlur

    Don’t like seeing Global Shared Stories or the River of News on the Dashboard? You can hide them with this little bit of CSS:

    /* Hides the Global Shared Stories feed */
    .NB-feeds-header-river-global-container { 
        display: none !important; 
    /* Hides the Dashboard River */
    .NB-module-river {
        display: none !important;

    Run a custom script

    Ok, to be 100% truthful, I have no idea why you’d want to run custom JavaScript on NewsBlur. But if you figure out a reason please let me know! Either shoot me an email or mention it to @newsblur on Twitter.

  • NewsBlur’s Twitter support just got a whole lot better

    It was a little under a year ago that I declared Twitter back, baby on this blog. In that time, NewsBlur users have created over 80,000 Twitter feeds in NewsBlur. Since it’s such a popular feature, I decided to dive back into the code and make tweets look a whole lot better.

    Notice that NewsBlur now natively supports expanding truncated URLs (no more t.co links).

    And NewsBlur also supports native quoted tweets, where a user links to a tweet in their own tweet. NewsBlur expands the quoted tweet and blockquotes it for convenience.

    Plus retweets now show both the original tweet author and the retweeting author. This means that you can quickly scan tweets and see where the retweet originated from. And retweeted tweets that quote their own tweets also get expanded.

    It’s almost as if NewsBlur is inching closer and closer to becoming its own full fledged Twitter client. While NewsBlur already hit Zawinski’s Law (“Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.”) by supporting email-newsletters-to-rss, Twitter is coming up fast.

    Speaking of which, I have this idea I’ve been noodling about better supporting Twitter habits that need to become less of a habit. I want to be able to automatically follow people from my Twitter tweetstream in NewsBlur based the frequency of their posting. I want to be able to infrequently dip into Twitter but still read the tweets from people who only post once a week or once a day.

    In other words, I want Twitter, the RSS killer, to better integrate with an RSS reader so that I can pull out the good stuff from the unending flow of tweets. RSS means never missing anything, but Twitter’s main use case is anathema to how we use RSS. I don’t like to preannounce features, but this one intrigues me and if you agree, please share this story to let me know or to give me feedback on how you would like to see NewsBlur be a better Twitter client.

  • Saved searches make it easy to create custom feeds

    You can now save a search as a saved search feed. This works for individual sites, folders, All Site Stories, saved stories, and blurblogs.

    Saved searches are great for creating custom feeds with just the stories you want. Think of these new feeds as spotlights on parts of a folder or feed, ways to keep track of stories that share a theme across different sites.

    Or use saved searches to keep a single tag together for handy reference.

  • Last day to back Turn Touch: NewsBlur’s beautiful remote

    This is it, the final countdown!

    Tonight at 8pm PT the Turn Touch campaign will end and the project will be successfully funded. Judging from the $50,000 raised already, I think Turn Touch has a long life ahead of it.

    Watch the 2 minute demo on Vimeo

    Apart from being the only remote control in the world built for a news reader, Turn Touch is the handiest shortcut for your lights, music, and apps. It’s basically a customizable remote with a knack for smart homes.

    Supporting Turn Touch is a way of supporting NewsBlur. They are part of the same suite of productivity tools made by the same person. By buying a Turn Touch and backing this Kickstarter, you’re continuing to fund the development of great tools.

    So please head to Kickstarter and buy yourself the $59 mahogany remote, even if you do not yet have any smart home devices. This remote is the easiest way to start connecting your home.

  • Introducing Turn Touch, a beautiful wooden remote for lights, devices, apps, and NewsBlur

    Turn Touch is a solid wood remote… and it’s about to change the way you use NewsBlur.

    Change how?

    Here’s how. Turn Touch connects to apps and devices in your home. Think Hue lights and Sonos speakers. Your Mac, your phone, etc.

    It also connects to NewsBlur.

    This is big. It means you can wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and cycle through news from across the room. Or, hook your Mac up to a display (maybe your living room TV) and skip through photo blogs, headlines, and the day’s best writing.

    It’s kind of like getting a new set of speakers. Where before, you’d be chained to your computer with headphones; now, you can listen to music from anywhere you’d like. With Turn Touch, you can leave your computer and read the news no matter what you’re doing— laundry, the dishes, or enjoying a lazy Sunday on your couch.

    Get one. Or all three.

    Turn Touch is on Kickstarter. Back the project to get your very own. Or—and this is my sincere recommendation—get the complete set, save some money, and give one away to a friend.

    I’ve been working on Turn Touch for years and I hope it shows.

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