This $29 program has a helpful setup wizard that simplifies installation, which took about five minutes in our tests. Once you install NewsGator and open Outlook, NewsGator walks you through creating folders for News And Clippings so that your incoming news won't get mixed up with e-mail.
Unfortunately, getting started with NewsGator Inbox for Outlook 2.6 requires a bit more tweaking than with standalone newsreaders, such as Awasu, FeedDemon, as well as Web-based services such as Bloglines and Rojo. For instance, the program comes with only two preset subscriptions--both of which deliver NewsGator product news. Fortunately, adding an RSS feed in NewsGator is easy, thanks to the program's Feed Wizard, which allows you to browse a directory of popular feeds, from technology-oriented blogs to mainstream news content from the BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other popular sources. You can look up any subject, whether fuel cells or frogs or whatever tickles your fancy, to locate related feeds from mainstream publications as well as blogs and podcasts. NewsGator automatically retrieves newsfeeds every hour, a default setting that you can change easily, to every 15 minutes, for instance, via the NewsGator menu on the Outlook toolbar. And NewsGator's other settings, such as those for podcasts, afford plenty of customization. NewsGator's integration with FeedStation enables you to store podcasts in a folder to enable quick downloads to an iPod or a Windows Media Player handheld.
NewsGator uses a two-pane interface. The upper pane lists the latest headlines from a particular site, and the bottom pane provides a brief, one- or two-sentence summary of each story. Unlike competing readers, however, the bottom pane doesn't function as a full-fledged browser. To view a feed, you click its link in the bottom pane, which launches the piece inside your default Windows Web browser. We like that NewsGator allows you to organize feeds within Outlook folders, so you can separate your subscriptions of business news and stock quotes from, say, your favorite blogs about scrapbooking.
Luckily, NewsGator Inbox 2.6 provides an online component that lets you sign in and read your synchronized feeds, download podcasts, and access clippings from any Web browser. However, you'll have to pay another $29 for NewsGator Go for Windows Mobile to access all your feeds on a handheld device. But bloggers can check out free plug-ins that allow them to instantly create a blog post to services that include Blogger, TypePad, and Movable Type.
For an additional cost, NewsGator users can subscribe to premium services, which range in cost from $5.95 to $19.95 per month. These fee-based extras include the ability to synchronize your NewsGator subscriptions across multiple PCs.
Overall, we recommend NewsGator Inbox 2.6 for Microsoft Outlook strongly if you already use Outlook. Otherwise, consider the stand-alone FeedDemon or a lightweight online RSS reader such as .
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