FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why should I buy the Pro version?

The Pro version
  •  Supports the developer
  •  Removes ads
  •  Adds Share With Note
  •  Adds a dark night reading theme
  •  Syncs & keeps notes, shared articles, starred articles
  •  Full Screen Mode
  •  Mark Read Until Here
  •  Pinning unread articles
  •  Adds an Unread Count app widget.
The lite version is not crippled though and will never be. If you're happy with the lite version stay with it.


I bought the pro version, but still see ads

Did you use app2sd for NewsRob Pro and had the SD card mounted to your PC? If you do mount the SD card all apps that are on the SD card will become inaccessible for the duration of the mount and consequently NewsRob can't find the pro version.

Also, please understand that the pro version of NewsRob only removes the NewsRob ads at the bottom, but the ads that are placed by the content publishers in their feeds are not removed.


Can I suggest a feature?

Yes, please do


I would like to exclude certain feeds/folders from the sync or set a maximum number of messages. How can I do that?

I understand the need. There is a couple of feeds that I rarely look at on my phone, e.g. my flickr friends' photos, and it would be good if I could skip them on the phone, but I don't know how to provide that. The GR API doesn't let me exclude specific feeds, so I am not aware of a sane or at least efficient way to do that.

If NewsRob were a Desktop app, where efficiency is not that important, I could query Google Reader for each feed individually, but this is very inefficient and so I can't do that for NewsRob.

However there is a feature suggestion that comes close to a good solution.


What is the meaning of the toolbar icons?

From left to right: 

Recycle Symbol: Manually start a refresh / sync with Google Reader
Check Mark: Mark all articles in the current view as read
Circle: Toggles between showing all articles and showing only the unread articles
Arrow: Toggles the sorting order of the articles between newest first and oldest first


Notifications don't work

You are not notified that a sync has run and that there are any new articles. I considered this an annoyance. However some feeds contain information that is breaking news to you.
For those you are notified when new articles arrive. 
So you need to go to the "Manage Feed" dialog and enable notifications on a per-feed basis.


The Google Reader unread count doesn't match the NewsRob unread count

NewsRob only shows the unread count of the articles that it fetched and are stored locally now. You can set the number of articles you want to see locally using Settings/Local Cache/Reading List. Also relevant is Settings/Sync/Sync Type. If you have "Unread Only" there then NewsRob will try during each sync to remove articles locally that you read and fill them up with unread articles from your Google Reader account.


Want to get back to the last article I was reading when leaving NewsRob

When launching NewsRob the activity stack is cleared. That is intentional. If you want to go back to NewsRob and resume reading the article you were seeing before, you can long press HOME and switch to NewsRob in the recent tasks switcher. You'll get back to the point where you left NewsRob before. 


Not all of the feeds in Google Reader show up on NewsRob. Why's that?

NewsRob will only show the feeds for which there are currently articles on your phone. 
If you have 300 feeds on Google Reader, but the most recent 500 articles, if that is what you set capacity-setting to, only are in 90 feeds, then you will only see 90 feeds. When new articles arrive that are in other feeds, those feeds will be displayed then.
Also NewsRob will only show the feeds that match the current selection. That means if you look at the label "android" it will only show you the feeds that are below the "android" label, also if you set NewsRob to "hide read articles" you will only see feeds with unread articles.



Why can't I see the feeds in NewsRob that I just subscribed to?

Have a little patience ;-) When new articles appear in the feeds you just subscribed to, they will show up on your phone. 
If you use Settings/Sync/Sync Type = "Unread Only" then these older unread articles will be fetched as soon as you read newer unread articles, so that NewsRob can fetch those newer unread articles to fill up your local cache to capacity with unread articles.


Why can I sometimes see that an article is shared by a specific friend, sometimes only shared by a friend?

It's not as straightforward as it sounds to get this right and I currently don't have the time to investigate how to extract that information from Google Reader and to unify that information.
That the current situation is not good is not lost on me though.


Anything worth mentioning regarding the auto-sync?

I am glad you ask ;-)

When you have auto-sync turned on every time you change an article, e.g. mark it as read/unread, star it, etc., a 5-minutes-countdown is initiated. If you change an article and a countdown is already running it is starts over. When the countdown reaches zero a sync is initiated. However this sync only uploads the changes you made and doesn't check for new articles / downloads new pages.

The use case behind this is you riding the tube from work to your home, reading articles with NewsRob. When you hop of the tube at some point the countdown runs down and syncs what you read back to the Google Reader mothership. So that when you reach your computer at home you can pick up were you were.


How can I see when NewsRob synced the last time?

When you go to the dashboard (first screen) you can tilt your phone to landscape orientation and it will show in the status bar when it was last synced or that it is currently syncing.


How often should I use the "Clear Cache" menu option for?

In usual operation you shouldn't use it at all. NewsRob always keeps only a maximum number of articles on your phone. You can configure this number of articles using the "Capacity"-configuration in the "Settings"-menu. 
If after a sync more newer articles are fetched than would fit into the capacity setting, then NewsRob automatically deletes afterwards the oldest articles over capacity. When deleting an article also the downloaded content on your SD card / phone memory is removed.

Of course this only works if NewsRob works correctly. If you see behavior that deviates from what I described above, e.g. a folder/file in the "newsrob" directory on your SD card that is older than the oldest article that NewsRob displays, clear the cache by hand. If it happens again, please let me know on the mailing list.

It could also be that I will ask you during the resolution of the support request to clear the cache. This is then needed to bring NewsRob into a known state.

If you by accident hit "Mark All Read" and accidentally confirm that, but don't those changes to be synced up, hit "Clear Cache". The state changes will be removed.


Ok, I uninstalled NewsRob. Anything else I need to do?

Sorry to see you go. But yes, there is one more thing. The Android Market doesn't notify an app that it is about to be removed, so NewsRob cannot clean up properly after itself.
The cache on the SD card needs to be removed by you manually. Just delete the "newsrob" directory in the root of your SD card. 


What's up with the BACK button in the article detail view?

If you click on a link in the embedded browser and click the BACK button you could have the expectation that you will go one step back in the embedded browser.
Currently that is not the case, but I plan to evaluate/implement this. Unfortunately it is not straight forward to implement when using offline content, but when I find the time I will investigate if is possible and likely implement it then. Vote for it: here

For some cases it might be a workaround to tap the article header twice. It will switch from "web" to "feed" view (or the other way round) and back, so that you will be again where you originally started.


What do those small symbols/icons mean?

The green bar to the left on an article or a label/feed indicates that the article is unread or the label/feed contains at least some unread articles.

The small symbol/circle to the left of the feed's name indicates the download status. A light gray means that the article has not been downloaded yet, the dark gray means it is downloaded and a red dot means that an unrecoverable error has occurred during download. Recoverable errors are timeouts etc. NewsRob will just try again during the next sync.
The actual circle says something about what is to be downloaded. A solid circle means that either the web page or the mobile web page is to be downloaded. A half filled circle means that the feed's article and its images are to be downloaded and the hollow circle indicates that only the article is fetched, but the images or the web page will not be made available offline.


How long are articles kept around?

The article offline content is saved on the SD card, the articles' meta data are stored in a database in your phone memory.

If you set Settings/Sync/Sync Type to "Keep and Sync: All Articles" and the capacity in Settings/Local Cache/Reading List to 500 articles, then after each sync NewsRob will contain the 500 most recent articles you have in your Google Reader account. This is independent of their read status.
When new articles come in then the oldest articles are deleted to make room for the new articles.

When you change the Sync Setting to "Keep And Sync: Unread Articles Only" then during each sync the read articles are removed.
Also during each sync NewsRob tries to fill up older unread articles until the capacity you configured is met or no more unread articles are left in your Google Reader account.

That's basically it. If you have the Pro version you can also set how many starred articles, shared articles and notes are to be synced and kept.


How long are starred articles kept?

In the free version there is no special retention for starred articles. If you configured NewsRob to store the most recent 500 articles then it will keep only those articles, no matter if an article is starred or not.
In the Pro version you can also configure the number of starred articles to be kept around.


What about support for podcasting?

From a technical point of view most of what is needed is already there. Hence the efforts to get this off the ground would be minimal. 
However looking at it from a user experience point of view reading news and listening/watching podcasts are totally different things. I don't think I could serve either use case well by mixing it with the other.
Furthermore I have my hands full with making NewsRob better with every release and I would rather like NewsRob to become 100% polished/perfect for a smaller scope, than 80% for a larger scope.
I hope you understand that.


Can I switch between "feed" and "web" view on the fly?

Yes, a tap on the article header in the article detail view will toggle between those view modes.


Can I get some customization options for the color of the LED?

For the time being I have no plans to do that, but I may revisit that decision later.


You asked me to provide a log file. How do I do that?

Please copy newsrob.debug to the root of your SD card. Then restart the NewsRob process or if you don't know exactly how this works, please restart your phone.

The next time you do a sync/refresh with NewsRob you will see that a file called 'newsrob.log' has been created in the root of your SD card.

Please don't post this file to the mailing list, but send this file directly to me: mariano.kamp@gmail.com. It may contain URLs or other information that you don't want to share with the world.

After we have resolved the initial issue, please remove the 'newsrob.debug' file from the root of your SD card. After the NewsRob process is restarted (or the phone) you can also remove 'newsrob.log'.
If you want to compress the log file, please make it .gz or .zip.


The simplified version of a web page doesn't look the way I want

NewsRob doesn't do the simplification, mobilization, of the web pages itself. It uses either Google Wireless Transcoder (GWT), Instapaper or Readability for it. You can change the mobilizer in Settings/Experimental/Mobilizer.


Can I switch the used Google account?

Sure, in one of the lists press the "MENU" button, then chose "more", "Logout And Clear Cache". Afterwards click "Refresh". You will be asked for username/password again.


What other apps do NewsRob users use?

People use "Setting Profiles" and "Locale" to trigger NewsRob syncs.
"Quick Save" and "Beelicious" to save to Instapaper, Delicious etc.
"Copy to Clipboard" to manage their stamp collection. 

I wrote none of these apps and don't guarantee a thing ;)


Will I live to see my favorite feature implemented? Can I do something to help?

As I do this in my spare time, you need to be patient. You would better your chances if you don't smoke, go easy on the booze, eat your veggies and wear sunscreen.

If you happen to have detailed advise on how to implement your favorite feature, let me know:

Better use of Google Wireless Transcoder? Let me know on the mailing list if you found their secret site with all the information about parameters or if you have a contact within the Google team.