More on Shrook

I think it would be overstating it to say I have a love-hate relationship with Shrook. Let’s call it a “like-irk” relationship. I like the program and it is the best combination of client side and server side RSS aggregation that I have available at this time. I was using FeedOnFeeds which I liked for being able to use the same aggregation pool at various computers – home, work, kiosks, etc but eventually the lack of management of articles drove me away from it. Articles in FoF only have two states – read and unread – and having to leave loads of articles unread in order to blog later became a huge drag that ate away at the efficiency of using it. I like that Shrook has a web client that I can use (although it needs a lot of improvement) and that when I have my laptop I will be able to share my articles and their read/marked status across the laptop, the desktop and the web client. All that is to the good.

That said, the client running on my 10.2.8 desktop can be quite irritating. It’s not quite a UI disaster but there are some serious usability issues. I spend most of my time in the 2-up view with the list of all articles in the left panel and the current article in the right. In order to get to this setup, you have to select an article to view in the list because the control to make it 2-up is on the title bar of the article view. There are plenty of irksome things like that, common actions that require some odd activity to invoke it. Although the author has fixed the horrible crashing issue that made it poop out every 10 minutes, there are still crashes. I’ve had frequent crashes when I’m viewing marked articles and unmark one. Yesterday I got the notice that there was a new version available (2.05 where I’m running 2.04) and after using the 2.05 for a few minutes I backed up to the 2.04 release. It was crashing more often and worst of all, image references stopped working in 2.05. Any post with an image in it would get the box of the graphic dimensions but no image. After a few minutes I just got sick of it, and trashed the 2.05. Sigh. I really want to love Shrook but the program won’t let me, with bugginess and oddness and crashes. I paid for it, so I’m going to use it but it is frustratingly close to being what I want without getting there. Still, hopes springs eternal and maybe the 2.06 will be better.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.