I’m a bit of a news junkie and I waste far too much time reading RSS news feeds. It doesn’t help when there’s apps like NetNewsWire which make it all so easy. I’ve been using NetNewsWire since I got my Mac and it’s one of those apps I’d install on any new Mac (note to self – no you can’t afford that new 15″ Macbook Pro you’ve been lusting after).
Anyway, for all this time I’ve been happily using NetNewsWire with its clean, uncluttered interface and happily keeping it in sync with my iPhone and with FeedDemon on the one or two Windows machines I find myself obliged to use every so often. And then the holy grail of features comes along in NetNewsWire 3.2beta… synchronization with Google. That’s right, you can now sync NetNewsWire with Google Reader making it even easier to satisfy your news feed habit wherever you are. Unfortunately there’s a catch and that’s adverts – that’s right, in order to support the free version of NetNewsWire, you now have adverts popping up in a little window at the bottom left of your news reader.
I HATE ADVERTS! Every time I tune in to a commercial TV station I seem to get the start of a 5 minute advert break. A 30 minute TV show is actually 10 minutes of adverts, 2 minutes of credits and only 18 minutes of actual TV. And the web is becoming saturated with adverts now, there’s barely a web page you can look at now that doesn’t try and sell you something (including the very page you’re reading if WordPress has anything to do with it).
Now I know you’re going to tell me that the adverts make a lot of this free software viable, and enables a lot of great content to be free and you’re probably right, but it doesn’t stop me from running Firefox extensions like NoScript and AdBlock Plus to try and minimize the amount my eyeballs get fried with animated banners trying to sell me something I don’t want or can’t afford. Ok, enough of me ranting about the commercial world, how did I get rid of the adverts in the latest version of NetNewsWire? Simply by using LittleSnitch to block where NetNewsWire is getting its advert content from.
What you need to do is to deny NetNewsWire access to http://www.northmay.com, either just on Port 80 or on any port to that site. You may need to go into LittleSnitch and delete the rules for NetNewsWire to then allow LittleSnitch to recreate them by prompting you for what access NetNewsWire is allowed when you next launch it. So far this workaround has worked a treat. The advert box is still there in my reader, but thankfully it doesn’t contain anything distracting that changes every 30 seconds or so.
I was fortunate in that I picked up LittleSnitch as part of a MacUpdate Promo Bundle last December, so I got it for a great price, but it’s well worth the full price as an extra level of security and control for your Mac. If you don’t have LittleSnitch and want an alternative, then I’d highly recommend the free and opensource news reader called Vienna. I’ve been using Vienna for less than twenty four hours, however the look and feel of it is just as good as NetNewsWire, and it’s got the functionality to match – apart from the sync features that the NewsGator products have of course.
When NetNewsWire 4.0 is released in however many weeks time, I guess it’s going to be a choice of a free version with adverts or a paid version without. Whether or not the above trick will still work remains to be seen as I’m sure the NetNewsWire developers are well aware of this sort of workaround already. Will I upgrade to the next free version of NetNewsWire or end up buying an ad-free version? Maybe, maybe not. I have been trying out Vienna and apart from sync’ing it ticks all the boxes for me, and in fact anything that helps ween me off spending hours reading newsfeeds by not offering sync between multiple devices, might actually be a good thing!