on Pulp

I saw the new Pulp app for Mac and iPad, and thought it looked interesting enough to try out. I started on the Mac side, importing a bunch of feeds that I'd exported from my FeverËš reader. It's definitely different, but I think I like it.

Here's the "home" front page - similar to the "Hot" section in FeverËš - it mines the items in the subscribed feeds, to find trends and more-linked-to items.

Kind of a strange interface decision, making everything that's already read fade to grey. So, the front page of the Pulp app is full of low contrast text and images that are hard to read. Some other "you've read this" indicator would be better, rather than simply fading items out. I'm unclear on how Pulp decides what items make it to the front page. It seems like stuff from Engadget and similar trump things from less mainstream feeds. Maybe because the tech sites all link to the same stuff, so they get picked up faster?

Here's the "Hot" view from FeverËš - less newspapery, but based on the same feeds.

Here's my "5-star" page in Pulp, with feeds mostly from friends etc...

The same fade-if-already-read thing makes it easy to see that there aren't new items (above the fold, anyway - there are a bunch of feeds below this, if I scroll down). Feeds are grouped into pages, and then into columns within a page. One interface strangeness is that items for a feed are gathered together, rather than showing the newest items for an entire column at the top. This means I may have to scroll the column to see if there are new things in feeds that are below the "fold" - which is odd, since there shouldn't be a "fold" since this is all magically assembled by the app. I'd love to see the columns show items from any feed within the column, sorted by date published. I had initially thought that a "hide read items" would be ideal, but simply showing newer items at the top of the column would work better.

As I was writing this, Alan posted something and it popped up right away at the top of the column on my "5-star" page:

and again, with this post showing up. There are now 2 new/unread posts, but they're not listed together at the top of the column. Strange.

For syncing, it uses iCloud rather than Google Reader. So, I can sync feeds and application state across devices, without feeding The Beast with everything that I read. Best of both worlds.

Frankly, I never thought I'd even consider using something other than FeverËš, but there's something about using a native app that makes it feel more responsive. I'll give Pulp a few more days, to see if I can get past the interface strangenesses. If they get refined, it'll be a really solid RSS app. Except RSS is dead, as are blogs, so this is all moot anyway.

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