Amber Weinberg: Freelance Web Developer specializing in semantic WordPress, Mobile, CSS and HTML5 Development

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The Disappointing Surprise From Apple

Posted on 07/27/12 in blog, whateververse about ,

I used to be what you’d call an Apple fan girl. Back in college, I’d skip class just to watch the live feed of our Dear Jobs announce the newest and coolest.

Of course, as I’ve gotten older (and wiser with money) I’ve started moving away towards the trend of buying the newest Apple stuff. I still have a first gen iPad, and while I do have an iPhone4, it’s only because I had to get a new phone in the UK. I do have an Air, but won’t be upgrading to retina any time soon.

All this to say, that I still run out and buy the new OS as soon as possible. The affordability and ease of doing so make it ridiculous not to. But this time I’m disappointed for one very specific reason.

Installing Mountain Lion itself was easy. It took about 5-10 minutes to download from the App Store and 30 minutes to install and reboot. I have noticed that with each new OS there seems to be less and less to really discern it from the old one. Granted Mountain Lion isn’t a full new OS, but rather a reboot of Lion (much like Snow Leopard was to Leopard), but the other “new thing” that seems to be useful is Notifications…and maybe, maybe Messages. But I’m going off point here.

Imagine my surprise and dismay when I opened Mail a day later to read through my feeds. (Yes, I happen to be one of the few who enjoyed reading RSS feeds in Mail. I liked keeping it in the same app as my email, mostly because when I kept it in the browser or via a web app, I always forgot to check and read them.)

So imagine my surprise…SURPRISE! My RSS items weren’t there. In fact, they weren’t anywhere to be found. A quick google informed me that….SURPRISE! Apple decided to remove RSS feed functionality completely from both Mail and Safari (which I didn’t use).

Now, Apple has removed features before, some for good and some for bad. But all of the features they’ve removed before where just¬†behavioural¬†features – never before (from what I can recall of being a Mac user since college) have they actually removed content from my machine. I felt violated. How dare they?

Googling around brought up no fixes. So I just figured whatever, I won’t miss my feeds, yadda-yadda-yadda. Well three or so hours after this discovery and I’m already jonesing for my daily fix of knitting and interior design feeds. So yea, I can’t quit RSS cold turkey.

I decided to try and remember all of my feeds and use Reeder for Mac (which requires Google Reader) to move my feeds to. Problem is, I had close to 100 feeds and no way I was going to be able to remember the names of them all. Some of these I’ve subscribed to for years.

Thankfully, a lovely twitter follower, Lee Webb, was able to help out some. He pointed me to a Mail RSS Exporter app written in 2008, that amazingly still works on Mountain Lion. I was unable to find the folder they mentioned the feeds were stored in (~/Library/Mail/RSS) as it must be hidden. Thankfully, Lee again helped out and mentioned trying to use Finder’s Go to Folder and typing in “Go menu ~/Library/Mail/” lo and behold THERE were my RSS feeds! They weren’t deleted at all, just left in an unusable, unreadable format no app could use.

Using the Mail RSS Exporter app, I was able to export the feeds into an OPML file, but guess what? Of course Google Reader wouldn’t take it because it was formatted incorrectly. I put this blame more on Apple’s part than the exporter app. I have a feeling it’s their crappy treatment of RSS that’s done this. But at least I was able to open the exported OPML file using some Omni program that came with the Mac. And I could read the names of the blogs I had to subscribe to. And I manually visited every website to get the URL to manually add to Google Reader. This is¬†ridiculous.

I always give Apple the benefit of the doubt when they screw up, because 9 times out of 10, they provide awesome products and awesome service. But they had to know they were screwing people over by removing something like this from their computers. Am I wrong in feeling jilted?

(Also, snarky anti-Apple jerks can please stay away – intelligent discourse only please)

Amber Weinberg specializes in clean and semantic HTML5, CSS3, responsive and WordPress development. She has over 15 years of coding experience and is super cool to work with. Amber is available for freelance work, so why not hire her for your next project?

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