There aren’t too many of our readers who don’t use social networking of one kind or another. Here are three ways to make the Mac experience a bit better.
With the ability to read RSS feeds in Safari and Mail taken away under Mountain Lion, now is the perfect time to look at a feed reader such as Monotony. The app lets you add feeds, manually, that raise a pop-up in the corner of your display when a new article is published (under Snow Leopard) or in Notification Center (Mountain Lion).
Adding feeds is simple. Just open the Monotony app, click the ‘+’ button at the bottom of the window and enter the address. There’s no way to categorise feeds or anything fancy. There’s no reader either.
When you click on a notification it opens the article in your default web browser.
We found Monotony worked best with just a few feeds, otherwise the update notifications appeared too often and get distracting. Also, we found that notifications kept popping up continuously as there was no way we could find to mark articles as read without clicking on each notification.
A trial version can be downloaded from www.timschroeder.net.
Poor old Google+. It is very much the poor relation in the social media universe. However, with so many people having Google accounts for email and online apps, it does have a significant number of users – more than 100 million people.
Tab for Google+ is very similar to MenuTab for Facebook – not surprising as it comes from the same developer. Your feed is delivered distraction-free.
There’s a small ad at the bottom of the feed but the only upgrade option is a $0.99 bump from the free version. As well as going ad-free, the Pro version adds a desktop app so that you can use Google+ without opening another browser window. The free version worked very nicely. If you’re like us and prefer keyboard shortcuts rather than grabbing a mouse or trackpad, Tab for Google+ can be opened with a keyboard shortcut that can be easily customised.
If you’re into Google+ then Tab for Google+ is a very nifty app that integrates nicely into Mountain Lion.
If you aren’t a fan of the social network integration in Mountain Lion, and you are falling back on the Facebook website, which is a little clunky, burdened with ads and takes up another tab or window in your browser, this maybe the answer.
MenuTab for Facebook slims that down to a single icon on your Menu Bar. Once it’s installed and you’ve signed into Facebook using MenuTab, clicking on the Menu Bar icon gives you a trimmed-back version of Facebook with your personal feed, the ability to make status updates and share photos. You can’t view any other pages you manage or access apps or games, but we don’t see this as a downside.
If all you want to do is view your Facebook newsfeed, then MenuTab will fit the bill.