Version Reviewed: 1.01
NewsCopier is a small, compact RSS Feed Reader. For those of you not yet aware of RSS Feeds, every blog, and pretty much every news site (including All About Symbian) provide their articles and news not just in pretty web pages, but in a machine readable form called RSS. This means services and programs (such as Newscopier) can download these versions of the site, and show you just the words in a very readable format. Think of it as getting all the content with none of the graphics or fuss.
So, onto NewsCopier. It's a Java midlet of around 140K in size and it does two things well. The first is that, shorn of all the fancy bells and whistles that a PC based offline reader might have, it's incredibly simple and streamlined to use. There are very few options to play around with, you get presented with a list of RSS feeds, then going into those you get the headlines listed, and finally you get the news story. At this point you have the choice to open up your main web browser and visit the web site if you so wish (e.g. to leave a comment).
Secondly, it works offline. This is actually pretty useful, and one reason it works a lot better than the RSS reader that is built into the Nokia Web Browser. Whenever you get a valid data connection, it can pull down the content of all your feeds and store it locally, ready for you to peruse at your leisure. And while the roaming data costs means I never used 3G or GPRS to grab those updates, the aforementioned Wi-Fi hotspots came in especially useful. Grab a coffee for me, some bandwidth for the phone, and get on the road again.
Hitting ‘Refresh channels’ turns each orange RSS icon per feed into a pleasant green icon as it downloads the content (any problems and, surprise, surprise, the icon turns red). It may be a small touch, and horribly predictable, but that means everyone is easily comfortable with what the icons represent. Navigation with the cursor/d-pad, and the 'back' soft key follows the standard UI model, so no worries there. It’s almost completely intuitive.
Probably the biggest gotcha with NewsCopier is that it doesn’t talk to any of the online aggregators or feed synchronise services. So if you’re reading All About Symbian in Bloglines, and you also have it in NewsCopier, you will see the same story twice. Short of a huge amount of code and fiddling for the end-user, this isn’t a feature likely to happen. But it misses the simplicity of NewsCopier. When you’re out and about, you don’t want all your feeds, you want just enough information to keep you going and keep you in touch. And for that, NewsCopier is well suited.
Ewan Spence, 2 April 2007
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at