NetNewsWire Now Free

NewsGator, the company that owns NetNewsWire, has just announced that it will now be offering all of its products for free. This is great news for the world of feed readers. NetNewsWire is a fantastic reader that I’ve been using for several years. They have a shiny new version too. I’ve heard that FeedDemon is a good Windows client, although I haven’t used it myself.

Get the new and improved free download of NetNewsWire here.

NetNewsWire Lite 3.1 Beta Released

The beta version of NetNewsWire Lite 3.1 has finally been released. This is my favorite feed reader for OS X (or any system for that matter). I’ve been waiting for this release ever since they released the new version of NetNewsWire.

Safari and Displaying PDFs Inline

Ever since upgrading to Tiger, I’ve been consistently annoyed by one feature (there are others, but this one really irks me). I hate the way Safari displays PDF file inline.

First of all, it’s incredibly slow. At least once a day I find myself clicking on a PDF link and then being stopped dead in the water for what feels like an eternity. While Safari is loading an PDF file, I’m unable to browse in any other tab or window.

The worst part is that I know and understand that this will happen each time, yet I keep doing it. Apple’s documentation suggests the following:

If you still prefer Preview, simply Control-click the PDF link (or right click on a two-button mouse) and choose Download Linked File from the shortcut menu. Once the file is on your desktop, double-click it to open in Preview.

The problem is, I don’t always know that I’m clicking on a PDF link to begin with. For example, I was checking out the Quark 7 beta site today. I clicked on an unassuming link titled “ReadMe File.” Suddenly I found my browser completely stalled as I realized that a dreaded PDF was loading.

Even when I am fully aware that I’m attempting to view a PDF file, I don’t always remember that I need to Control-click or Option-click on the link. It’s usually only after Safari has stalled while the page tries to load that I think to myself, “Oh yes, I should have remembered to Control-click that link and then have selected Download Linked File from the contextual menu.”

Even beyond the slow factor, which perhaps can be attributed to my aging G4 PowerBook (seems a stretch though), the final result isn’t even satisfactory. When I open, a PDF file in a browser, I usually just want to look at it dammit. I don’t need all of those fancy Acrobat buttons. If I decide I want to do something further to the document, I’m going to save it anyways and open Adobe Acrobat to edit it.

Also, the files open up so tiny that I can’t ever read them. I’m constantly having to change the view, zoom, or resize my browser window. Resizing my browser window works, but then that messes up my workflow. I like the browser windows a certain size, just big enough to display all of most web pages.

All of this simply comes down to user preferences. I’m sure that there are many people out there who completely disagree with me and love this feature in Safari. I’ll admit, before Safari offered it, I was constantly irritated that it wasn’t even an option. I’m definitely not arguing against having this feature. Before this whole displaying PDF inline business, if you clicked on a PDF link in Safari, it would automatically download and then open in Preview. It was somewhat counterintuitive, but I have to say, once I got used to it, I liked that feature.

Preview is a great lightweight application that does a small number of things well. I like how easily the size of the document changes when you increase the size of the window, without having to mess with my browser window size. It’s fast. I can zoom in when appropriate, and for the love of god, I don’t have to stare at those ugly Acrobat icons.

All of this would be a rather trivial annoyance if Safari just included how it displays PDFs as a preference item. I’ve been searching, but I haven’t been able to find this one yet. I should be a be able to either check a box to display PDFs inline, or chose what application opens them automatically. Suggesting that I simply Control-click or Option-click just isn’t enough. In my opinion, Apple just got it plain wrong on this one.

I find this all pretty ridiculous, especially considering that around the same time Apple also introduced the feature that allows RSS feeds to be read inside Safari. It’s a cool feature that I tried out. I quickly decided that I didn’t like it nearly as much as NetNewsWire Lite, so I checked out the preferences. Sure enough, there was an option to set whatever application I wanted to use as my default RSS aggregator.

Apple got it right with the RSS feature. Why didn’t they apply the same logic to inline PDFs? I want to have the option to use all of these features within Safari, but I wan’t the option to opt out of them as well.