Review: Omea Reader

Omea Reader 1.0
free license available until January 2005
Prague, Czech Republic
+420 2 4172 2501

There are a lot of ways to get information over the Web. You've probably seen me plugging RSS as a good way to keep up with technical Web sites, but there are others. There's the alternative Atom feed type, good old-fashioned newsgroups, and of course Web pages. What Omea Reader offers is a way to read all of these in a single unified interface, as well as to index and file them for later reference.

If you're already reading RSS feeds in some other reader, it's incredibly easy to get started with this one. Omea will read a standard OPML file (a list of feeds) and use those to get started. While you're doing this, Omea will also be off grabbing all of your browser bookmarks as a way to indicate which Web pages to be keeping an eye on. Then it scurries off and grabs everything and pulls it into a nice, flexible interface for reading.

Reading isn't all you can do here, though. You can extract "clippings" from larger resources and file them away. You can apply freeform categorization to any piece of information. You can create a workspace to hold a selected set of feeds, pages, and so on, or a view as a sort of persisted search filter. You can also link resources together, and of course everything is searchable. You can flag items or add free text annotations, and those are searchable too.

I spent a while working with this first released version, and it does seem to live up to its promises. Even more interesting is the fact that this is only the first cut at what looks to be a more sweeping information management technology: Omea Pro, which promises to add e-mail, instant messages, and local documents to the integrated environment. You can download a beta of that product now, and I'll probably be doing just that pretty soon myself. It has the promise of replacing a lot of separate tools.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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