The free RSS Runner app from François Goldgewicht isn’t quite awesome enough to replace Google Reader—but it has one feature that makes it a useful backup blog reader for frequent commuters.
The app acts somewhat like Instapaper for your RSS feeds: Once you’ve downloaded the latest updates, they remain ready to read even if you leave the range of cell phone towers and Wi-Fi networks—a nice feature if you want to get caught up on the news while taking a plane trip. The feature is less useful if you’re subscribing to summary feeds, however.
Adding feeds is a breeze—you can search for blogs and other content by name or URL—and the app acknowledges the king of the RSS hill by making it easy to import straight from Google Reader.
The downsides? Actually reading a post can require tapping through a couple of times before you get to the content—first on the blog’s name, then on the post title. And RSS Runner offers no option to arrange your feeds in the chronological order they were published, instead offering blog-by-blog updates; that’s a problem if you’re following blogs that dialogue with each other.
Those shortcomings are outweighed by the app’s usefulness. RSS Runner runs well.
[Joel Mathis is a freelance journalist and political columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. He lives in Philadelphia.]