A while ago, jaklumen asked me to try out Feed Demon for him and do a review of it so that he could write it up for his TechsWrite blog. Once I finished looking at it, however, we both realized that there was too much information here to use if you wanted to discuss all feed readers. So, at his request, I’ve posted my review here.
First of all, I downloaded it to my Windows Vista laptop machine and it downloaded very quickly. It set up very easily; all I had to do was give it my username and my password for Google and it took everything right off Google Reader and it put it right onto the screen. All of the subscriptions are there, all of the Watches are there, Shared Items are there. It's all there.
What's more, I had a lot of stuff that hadn't been read. So I was going to read it all one at a time, as I was forced to do on Google Reader and I noticed that there's a button at the bottom right hand side of the screen, right next to the page number that says “Next Unread” with a piece of paper and a green circle with a check mark in it. So, I clicked that and it went immediately to the next subscription and the numbers by the subscription disappeared, like they'd been read. I thought that this was very quick. If you had a great deal of stuff to get through and you just wanted to clear it all away without really looking at it, you could just click that button and it's on to the next subscription. I loved that. Also, anything you do in Feed Demon, you've done in Google Reader without even having to sign in.
The controls on Feed Demon are fairly easy to understand. The program even includes a kind of mini browser that allows you to look directly at a page if you wish. However, usually, a page will be presented to you in what the program calls a “newspaper.” If there's only one post, you generally get the whole thing, pictures and videos included. If there's more than one, you get short, one-line snippets.
After you're done looking at all your subscriptions, you can click on the “Subscriptions” folder and the program will take you to a page where the most recent items from your subscriptions are listed, along with a list of your ten most popular subscriptions and a set of links. The two of these that I've found to be most useful are “Show Dinosaurs” and “Recommendations for Me.”
“Show Dinosaurs” shows you the subscriptions you have that haven't been updated in a while. I was surprised when I first clicked this because I had a couple that hadn't been updated since last December. Of course, on this page, you have the immediate option to delete the subscription from your list. All you have to do is click the garbage can and it just goes away. Quietly. Without complaints.
“Recommendations for Me” gives you a sampling of blog entries and other blogs based on the kinds of things you've already subscribed to. You can preview each of the blogs. If you like them, you can subscribe instantly, with just a click. If you don't like one, you can click “Skip it” and it goes away. As for the blog entries, you can read them if you want to. I have yet to figure out how to make them go away.
Another thing. Feed Demon has a feature that keeps track of your browser favorites. Just click on the word “Favorites”. As such, Feed Demon can also be used as a web browser. Just click the handle by the subscription list and it will disappear until you click it again. Then just type in the Web Address Field and you can go virtually anywhere on the internet that you want to.
One last thing. If you happen across a blog on the internet that you really like, even if you don't find it while using Feed Demon as a browser, just click on the word “Subscribe” next to the RSS symbol with the green plus sign on it. A new window will open up allowing you to add that blog as a new subscription and, if you want to, edit how it appears on your machine.
All in all, I really enjoy Feed Demon. There's a good chance I will keep it on my laptop and I would recommend it to friends. I give it 8 out of 10, because there are some things I haven't figured out, yet. Like how to star items.