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Read the content of your favorite Web sites

One of the strengths of the iPhone is it’s Web browser. Not just a smaller version of the desktop counterpart. Mobile Safari allows you to pinch, stretch and double tap on pages to make the size adjust for your ease of viewing.

If your are like us, you have a handful of sites you go to on a regular basis to view the content. With the built in Mobile Safari, you still have to sift through adds and other bits. Some sites (like ours) has a special version that shows when you visit via the iPhone browser so you can get to our content directly.

A popular system for many years now is becoming more popular with the increased user base of ‘Smartphones’. The technology is called RSS. If a Web site offers this, you subscribe to the site’s RSS address to get a automat feed to you of either a short version of their articles or just the text of new articles.

RSS ‘readers’ are popular for desktop computers. They reach out for you and grab the RSS content from the sites you visit often so you don’t have to. Google has a popular reader that allows you to pull content from site, highlight what you liked best for later reading, remove what you don’t want to read and most important – read the text when it’s convinient for you whether your online or not (you have to be online sometime to get the content fed to the reader).

Now, that technology is available for your iPhone and Touch through a variety of ‘reader’ applications.

Take a look through the sites you like and look for their RSS feed address. Generally there is a ‘RSS’ logo like the one we have in the upper right corner of this page. If you click or hover over the icon, you will see an address that looks similar to: feed:http://www.igoiphone.com/?feed=rss2

As a example of features you should expect in a good reader, Feeds will be covered here. It is an average priced iPhone / Touch RSS reader (there are some lighter versions that are free and many much more expensive). If your using the Google Reader on your desktop, you will want Feeds since it will sync so you know if you read an article on either rather than trying to remember where you last left off.

Upon install and launching Feeds, you will want to enter the address to your favorite site’s RSS address. Feeds has a selection of pre-installed popular content providers you can choose (easy to remover later).

After you enter the addresses, when you launch Feeds your first screen will be a list of your feeds and the number of unread articles. Pictured to the left is an opening screen example. In the next image, you can see where the application has seen your device has Internet access and is updating your selection of articles.

The list of sites starts off with a category of ‘Stared’ articles. These are articles that when you were reading you chose to keep on the device even though it has been opened.

When you choose one of the sites from the list, you will be presented with a list of articles. Tapping one of these will take you to the article content even if your not online. The second image below shows several articles have been read so they no longer have the blue dot next to them and have grayed text.

When you read articles offline (your iPhone or Touch isn’t connected to the Internet) you will see just the content text. The second image is an article that has an image attached to it that only downloads if when you read the article you have a Internet connection.

As mentioned above, Feeds will sync with Google Reader. There is a specific settings screen to fine tune that relationship.

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Posted in Quick Manual, Using every day.

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