NetNewsWire Lite 2: Important information for users with low bandwidth connections

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
October 4th, 2004 • 4:12 am

Version 2 of the freeware news aggregator NetNewsWire Lite is already available in beta form (but very reliable and usable as far as I can tell), and there are some important improvements for users who, like me, have little bandwidth available at the best of times.

Here are the new options in the “Downloading” preference pane:

NNW Downloading Prefs

As you can see, you can now specify how many newsfeeds you want NNW to refresh simultaneously. NetNewsWire 1.x would always initiate several newsfeed refreshing threads at the same time, which would easily saturate my limited-bandwidth connection (usually peaking at 4 KB/s) and prevent me from using my Internet connection for anything else. Since I am subscribed to many newsfeeds, the refreshing process takes a long time, and I can’t really afford to lose my Internet connection for such extended periods of time.

With the new preference setting, I can now limit the number of concurrent downloads to 1 and keep the bandwidth requirements low. Of course, it takes even longer for NetNewsWire to refresh the feeds, but at least I am still able to use the Internet for other things at the same time.

In addition, NetNewsWire 2 lets you specify whether you want the application to start refreshing all subscriptions immediately after you’ve launched it. Again, that used to be another problematic behaviour for me, and I am quite pleased that the option has been added.

Unfortunately, the application is still missing a couple of essential options. For one thing, it needs to let the user specify the time interval between automatic subscription refreshing processes manually. Right now, you only have four options: “Manually only“, “Every 30 minutes“, “Every hour“, and “Every four hours“. There should be an “Every XX minutes” option where “XX” can be specified manually by the user. After all, it’s a preference setting, and not something that the user is faced with all the time in the UI. So a little more complexity will not hurt.

More importantly, however, the application still has no command for stopping the refreshing process once it has started. I should never had to quit an application in order to force it to stop doing what it’s doing!

Still, NetNewsWire Lite is a great application. These are just relatively minor quibbles.

5 Responses to “NetNewsWire Lite 2: Important information for users with low bandwidth connections”

  1. brian w says:

    Strangely, in NNW 2.0 (I don’t know if this in the Lite version as well) you can specify any number of hours for a refresh setting for individual feeds — it just has a blank box you can fill in with any number you like. But the “default” settings available in the prefs are still limited to the periods you noted.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Must be a feature that’s exclusive to the non-Lite version. But then I am not particularly interested in setting refresh rates for individual feeds. Just one setting for all :).

  3. Stevie says:

    I sent an e-mail to Brent Simmons, author of NetNewsWire about the lack of any refresh intervals beyond 4 hours. He says this has been brought up to him by others, and he told me there is a plan to add a new longer interval option in the next update, he did not mention to me how long this option would be. He did not mention that it would be a user-customizable setting, perhpas just a new 8 hour or 16 hour interval.

  4. Brent Simmons says:

    While a refresh session is going on, cmd-. (command-period) should stop the refresh. (If not, it’s a bug, just let me know.)

  5. Pierre Igot says:

    Brent: Thanks for the tip. Seems to be working. It probably should appear somewhere in the interface as a specific command, though :-).

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