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Byline

Byline is an RSS reader built specifically for syncing your iPhone with your Google Reader account. If you’re a loyal Google Reader user then you’ll probably love Byline because it pulls everything onto your iPhone so that you can access your content even when there’s no network connection available, like on an underground subway train. If you get your RSS feeds through some other means, then you’ll have to convert to Google before Byline will do you any good.

I had to convert. I went and created a Google Reader account, added a few feeds including my own, and then I opened up Byline. Everything was there which was great, and Byline even provides a button for viewing individual feed items in their original state within the app, just like if you were viewing a webpage in Safari. Nice touch.

But then, like a dumbass, I started poking around to see if I could separate my feeds in the Folders section. What I didn’t realize was that Byline takes its job pretty literally, and that job is basically to sync and nothing more. Folder creation, and most other management-type activities, have to be done within your Google Reader account.

If you read something and then sync, that thing you just read will be removed from your iPhone. If you want to keep it around, you can ’star’ individual items which will file them in the “Starred Items” folder.

So do I like Byline? Yeah… I guess! I’m not a huge fan of Google Reader because, where RSS content is concerned, I have absolutely no interest in creating a profile and sharing crap and whatever else that account allows for. It all seems to contradict the idea of “really SIMPLE syndication”. Plus, I think Google is up to no good! Someday their computers will become self-aware and take over Skynet and will ultimately enslave mankind.

I’ll spare you the rest of my Google rant. As far as Byline goes, it’s a good app that works as promised, although I think Phantom Fish has it a little overpriced at $3.99. For hardcore Google Reader disciples it’s probably worth paying, but I’m a cheap bastard and I don’t think I’d want to pay more than $1-2 when there are several free RSS readers already in the iTunes App Store.






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