I have never been a big fun of RSS readers (or aggregaters). The first RSS reader I tried out was a software type, which you install locally on your machine. However, I quickly felt it was really inefficient to have a separate reader and browser. A waste of memory usage too. Before I got to try an online version, like Bloglines, I was into web design. So I wanted to check out the design, codes, CSS techniques, as well as the content.

Until few weeks a go … the main PC went down, and was seems to be the creator of the chaos on our home network. So I was using different PC, without all the favourite bookmarks of course !

A time to tryout RSS readers with much talked new Japanese RSS reader called Fresh Reader, developed by Sidefeed, Inc.. Actually, I should say to “properly” tryout, because I installed it few weeks back, but soon deleted as I was not sure of how much was going to effect the WordPress.

Fresh Reader is a server-install type RSS reader. Which means that the user needs to be either running a home server, or have a server space else where, e.g. rented server. Despite that I was worried on slowing the performance of WordPress, it seems to have no effect at all. It does not use any database system like MySql.

There are many interesting features (see also the screenshots), but the one many Japanese bloggers have been raving on about is its speed. The interface has a very fast response, and displaying the latest unread feeds is very quick. Like I said, I never used Bloglines before, but that what the bloggers are comparing too, and almost everyone says Fresh Reader beats its rivals by miles.

The second point is its handling of multibyte language. Unfortunately, this is where many US-born web services tends to fall. Its important for us that Japanese are displayed correctly.

Thirdly, it is accessible and readable from Japanese mobile phones! You can choose to show or not to show images. Displaying in no-image mode is quick as it gets.

There are however, few requests which I want to make. The interface could be improved a little. Overall design is OK, but things like, it can only show 10 articles at once. A way to “mark” an article which you might want to come back later.

Also, Fresh Reader has been designed to mainly use in the offices, i.e. multi user. While feature like sharing the feed, and displaying the number users subscribing to a particular feed is interesting, it makes you feel a bit lonely for home user like me:roll:

In summary, its a good RSS reader for those who want fast response. If you live in Japan, can read some Japanese, have a server space where you can install, and want to access via you Japanese mobile phone, you might want to give it a try.

note1: I am not sure if its designed for outside Japan. I mean the application probably can, but the developer might be targeting Japanese users and customers only. There are only Japanese version currently exists, and I have no idea whether they have any future plans for other versions.

note2: I think Fresh Reader is mainly targeting business uses. You need to purchase licenses whether for business or home use. There is a free blogger license, but you need to apply for it.