Bit of a bully

Collect your online news and information with this handy but aggressive tool.

One of the great things about the Internet is its extraordinary depth. There is more information online than anyone could ever--or would ever--want to read. The modern problem is one of information overload. We have so many different things to read, look up, or view that we can't keep them straight. Feed Readers (or news aggregators) are a common remedy to that problem. This app is a worthy entry into that crowd, if you can look beyond its quirks.

Aesthetically, it's a decent-looking application, with a bit of flair and easily understandable icons. Of course, there's the standard aggregator stuff: add/remove feeds from a prepackaged list, import an OPML file, or add by URL. There are also less common features, such as the ability to set up searches with relevant Web sites, and to use online services like encyclopedias, text translation, and mapping. We liked these handy extras, which seemed beneficial and related to the app's primary purpose of streamlining your information flow. There's even a section where you can quickly play online games.

Unfortunately, this app really falls down during installation. While the installation process is pain-free, the behind-the-scenes stuff is severely deficient. It must first download the latest version and install that. It doesn't add a Start Menu or desktop shortcut, and it isn't added to the standard Program Files directory, which means if you close it, you can't easily rerun it. However, without asking, it sets itself as the default RSS reader, and to autostart at Windows launch. With aggressive behavior like this, the app is perfect for the novice, who will have no decisions to make. Without a second "Advanced" setup option, experienced users might be annoyed at the lack of flexibility.

Ultimately, it's a good app, with interesting features, but the trade-off is in user control over the initial setup. You can try Qlikworld Media Reader for free, and if you don't mind its peremptory behavior, it's a capable feed reader.

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