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RSS Zen: Syncing Google Reader blogs with Your PC and Smartphone

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RSS - Really Simple Syndication - is, contrary to popular belief, and according to my opinion, not dead, or in any state of becoming dead. At least, it's quite alive and kicking for the foreseeable future.

If you don't know as yet, RSS enables blog readers to keep up-to-date with all the blogs that they follow from a single interface (known as an "RSS Reader"). And the best reader out there at the moment is the Google Reader from Google. It's a web-based reader, and allows you to access your feeds from wherever you are, so long as you have a mobile phone with you.

But for me, Google Reader can become a little complex to access daily. What I wanted was a "flow" where I could access my favourite blogs from a clean, stylish Mac OS X interface when I'm at my laptop, and when I'm on the road, load up a lightweight reader that synchronises to the feeds on my laptop, so I can catch up with my blogs from wherever in the world I am.

So in this post I am going to tell you how you can achieve "RSS Zen", with a Google Reader account (free), a smartphone, and a Windows or Mac computer.

1. Get a Google Account
First things first: make sure you have a Google Account. This will give you access to Google Reader, along with a host of other really cool services.

2. Download the desktop RSS app
Next, you'll need to get the application that you'll use to read your RSS feeds on your computer with. Here you have two options, depending on your computer. If you're using Windows, you can download FeedDemon from NewsGator. If you're on Mac OS X, get the Mac version of the RSS reader from NewsGator, called NetNewsWire. With these apps on their respective systems installed, you can access your Google Reader feeds after providing your account login details when prompted. Both apps are synced to Google Reader through the Google Reader APIs by default, and so this is a rather painless process.

3. Download the mobile RSS app
Here comes the cool part: the mobile application for consuming your favourite blogs and staying in sync with the feeds on your computer. The application in question is called FreeRange, and you can download directly to your mobile phone by pointing your phone's browser to: http://mwap.at/. Once downloaded, need to create a free account with the providers of the app, so that you can later do a few quick configurations to make it all work.

To properly configure FreeRange to access your Google Reader feeds, you need to go to the FreeRange website, and log-in with your details that you provided when you signed up. (This is done on your computer, with your computer's browser).

Once logged in, select the link on the left sidebar labelled "Select Provider". Then choose "Google Reader", and enter your Google Reader log-in details. And you're off!

Now you can access your favourite blogs from your desktop with FeedDemon or NetNewsWire, all in the same interface with easy-to-use controls. And when you're on the go, you'll still be able to be in the loop with your blogs via FreeRange on your phone.

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