Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NewsRob 4.8

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NewsRob 4.8

Faster Downloads

If you never had issues with slow sites / downloads, then you can skip this section.

A few people were complaining that the download phase of the sync took to long and it ran down their batteries.

It seems to me that this happened, because they used the "A + I + Full Web Page" option on sites that are extremely slow. NewsRob stops each article download after 180 seconds, but if you have 500 articles from a major news outlet that still sums up to a day.

Some sites, I suspect faz.net for example, also seem to "protect" themselves from automatic downloads and do so with an indefinite waiting time.

So from this release on:
- Three articles are downloaded in parallel (except for hosts that are download with the Instapaper mobilizer, there we just have a single download at a time)
- For each article up to 15 images are downloaded in parallel
- Hosts that time out are not tried for new downloads again in the same sync. (However they will be tried again in the next sync.)

More can be done, but that's it for the moment.

If you never had issues with download times then these changes will not be noticeable for you.
For example for feeds where you selected "Articles + Images" in my tests it was an improvement of 20%, which is likely not noticeable, but if you use "Articles + Images + Full Web Page" or use slow/high latency/blocking sites you should see a huge difference.

Even though the actual work the device is doing during the downloads is higher now than before, the phone's UI responsiveness should not suffer from that. Let me know how that works for you on your device.


You can now like/unlike articles in NewsRob and this status is synced with the Google Reader service.

CPU Usage

For some people NewsRob were using CPU even when in the background. This should not happen anymore, except – of course – when a sync is running in the background.

Readability as a Mobilizer

In the experimental settings you can now select Readability as a mobilizer. The integration is experimental for the time being and will be improved upon over the next releases.

New capacity setting 2,000

You can now set the capacity to 2,000.

But before you do that, are you aware that if you mark articles as read, NewsRob will fetch older unread articles to match the configured capacity? So if you are not going offline for long, e.g. on an airplane, a smaller number is likely more efficient.

Also are you aware that you can mark old articles as read in bulk on the Google Reader webapp? You can do so globally or per label/folder or feed This might be the solution to the articles that you may never read anyway. And a smaller number of unread articles makes everything, in particular the sync, go faster.

Just fyi ... over the next releases I will implement Honeycomb support.