I’ve been using Byline on my iPod for a few days now after Alex recommended it to me. He had shown it to me about a year ago now, I think, but I had never seen the need for it. I came to wanting a Google Reader application after using it extensively over the past week in MobileSafari. Having been spending a lot of time in Caffè Nero and the Radcliffe Science Library over the past week I have been relying on my iPod a lot more for the Internet an keeping up to date with the news. My morning routine has now become:
1: get up do the room stuff
2: go to Nero with iPod for breakfast
3: hit science library
I will usually read the news over breakfast. The two main problems I had with using Safari for Reader were that webcomics don’t format properly unless clicked through. They are too small to the text and you can’t zoom in. The other problem was following links in posts. If I am reading David‘s del.icio.us links and I click the first one it opens a new tab and I read it. If I then switch back to the reader tab, it will reload and the rest of the post will disappear having been marked as read. I couldn’t really find a away around this. Similarly when I read the BBC world news feed I click through to read more than the headline and when I switch back it reloads. Now while I don’t lose or miss anything this time it is still a pain.
Byline is £3.99 and great. Enter your Google account details and it logs in and gets your unread items. Not only this. It also syncs them to the program including images so that you can read them offline. Works like a charm. It also has a built-in web browser (seems too be the iPod equivalent of Pokémon cards – your app isn’t cool if it doesn’t have it’s own browser…) which works really well for following through links without losing things. Byline also integrates starring, sharing and noting right into the interface. Only thing I can’t figure out is how to leave something unread – posts containing Flash videos for example.
Only other improvement would be if it could run in the background so that it automatically gets new items instead of syncing when I open it but seeing as this is an OS limitation I can probably let it slide. Absolutely great application. Highly recommended.