Tag Archives: google

Best News Apps for Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 is one of the best devices to read anything on. There are a number of news reading apps for Android. I’m going to rundown three of the best for the Nexus 7: Google Currents, Feedly, and Flipboard.

Google Currents

unnamed_currentsCurrents comes preloaded on the Nexus and is made by Google. It has a minimal design, but still very “Holo” looking. The top half of the home screen is a slide show of top stories of your subscriptions. The bottom is just a grid of icons. Click on one and you get a nice magazine layout, three articles to a page. Of course, this depends on what the author chooses, but that’s what it is for most. Because it’s on Android, it takes advantage of the enormous share menu.


  • Minimal and clean interface
  • Lots of popular blogs free to subscribe to.
  • Each article is nicely formatted. It’s up to each producer to customize their content, but no matter what each looks nice.
  • Blogs that aren’t featured sources can be added through a search or via your own Google Reader subscriptions.


  • So far, the only news app that doesn’t organize content by category. Also, compared to the others, it doesn’t easily show top news stories at a quick glance. The slide show it does have isn’t very helpful.
  • Also the only one that doesn’t have a widget. I find those handy, again at a quick glance.

Bottom Line

I really want to like Currents. It’s nice to read, but I feel like I have to go out of my way to even open it. The other apps I reviewed all have easy ways into the app, like widgets and top story filtering. It seems as though Google made the app with big dreams for its future and just forgot about it.

Google Currents on Google Play



If you haven’t heard about this one, I want to know where you’ve been. A practically necessary app for the iPad. It was exclusively available for the Samsung Galaxy SIII then opened up for all Android soon after. I wonder about this: it started as an iPad app, then it was ported to Android for phones. Then it was available for the iPhone. Yet there is no native Android tablet version. Either way it doesn’t look bad on the 7″ screen.


  • The real reason Flipboard is such an amazing app is that it combines almost every social network you could have (Twitter, Google+, Google Reader, Tumblr, Instagram, more) and pulls the content from links and pictures. Combine that with a beautiful magazine-like flipping gesture and an easy to access “Cover Stories” section.
  • Sizable home screen widget.
  • Curated feed bundles by topic and certain cities.
  • Some podcast feeds.


  • Inconsistent content viewing. I don’t know what it’s like on an iPad, but since the format was made for a smaller phone screen, the article views are odd. Some sources use the flipping animation. Some just open up a web page within the app. Sometimes the font is small, sometimes big, sometimes serif fonts, sometimes sans.

Bottom Line

I have a love/hate relationship with Flipboard. The design is great and I love seeing all my social feeds in one place. Not to mention the fact that the Facebook integration is so much better than the actual Facebook app. But, for my money (they’re all free), other apps handle news better.

Flipboard on Google Play


mobile-homeFeedly is actually a front-end for Google Reader with both a desktop app (via browser addon) and mobile apps. Because it syncs with Google Reader, all the apps sync with each other. The app is simple to use. It takes advantage of gestures and has read later app integration. Pocket is my app of choice. If a link is tapped, it opens up a browser in the app, then an option to de-clutter the web page appears, which allows just text to be read.


  • Home Screen Widget. The beta version is an improvement, and that should show up in the next update of the app.
  • Web app syncing.
  • Easy to read top/new stories
  • Pre-bundled subscriptions by topic for new users.


  • It maybe just me, but every so often, the app freezes up and registers a long press without my finger. The long press bookmarks an article. So, afterwards, I have to clean up my Pocket queue.
  • The app also logs me out of my Google account every now and then.


Bottom Line

This is my favorite news reader. I’ve been using Google Reader as my RSS feed reader for years and this app makes it usable and pretty, on both my browser and my device. It has a few annoyances, but the benefits far outweigh them.

Feedly on Google Play

Now, I know I missed some like Google’s actual Google Reader App, Pulse News, and others. If you have a favorite, let me know in the comments.

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My NanoWrimo Survival Kit

Apparently, these are things. So here’s mine.


Modest 12″ Samsung “Princeton”. Basically, it’s a MacBook Air competitor before Intel came up with the idea of an “UltraBook.” Running Ubuntu, but I’ll be writing all my stuff in Google Drive.

Nexus 7 Android Tablet

Second screen and perfect for reading and proofreading my work. Also, games for distractions.

Cheap composition notebook and black Pilot gel pen

My particular notebook was made out of sustainable sugarcane, $3. And those are my absolute favorite pens.

Google Drive

See above. For something this sensitive, I’d rather it be stored automatically in the cloud.

Coffee and my giant writer’s mug

Frankly any caffeine will do, but coffee is my drink of choice. Black, bitter, very hot and very cheap. Dash of cinnamon for flavor. My mug was a gift, from Starbucks, but minimally branded.

Pandora and Songza

As far as writing goes, instrumental dubstep really get’s my creativity flowing. Don’t judge me. I also like Tool, Cake and the soundtrack to the french movie Micmacs

Messenger Bag and Duct Tape Attache Case

For a while I was obsessed with making things with black duct tape. One of the more useful things I made was a portfolio thing. I’ve been using it to carry loose papers, my notebook and my tablet around. I don’t always write at my desk. In fact, most of my best writing has been done at my favorite coffee shop or on campus of UNM. Those things are indispensable.

Steve the Dalek

It seems that a lot of people have what they call a “writer’s totem.” Well, I don’t have that. I have a plush Dalek, and he’s more of a slave driver/personal motivator. (I love how “dalek” isn’t a misspelled word according to Google’s dictionary.)

Originally published here. For original writing and NanoWrimo updates, visit writing.ravellopez.com.

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A Few WebApps I Use to Stay Productive

To be honest, for the past few months, unless it has a specific function for work (like Photo editing, sound editing, etc) or sit as a system applet or accessory (like Dropbox) I rarely touch any of the apps I have installed. Anything I do or use is with and/or through Firefox, but I might be switching to Chrome in the near future. Here’s a list of some of the WebApps I use on a regular basis to help keep me  productive or just for fun.

  • MyFav.es – a speed dial I have set as my home/new tab page. Once logged in from any browser, you get a grid of icons in a clean interface.
  • Feedly.com – technically an addon for Firefox/Chrome/Safari (with mobile apps). It syncs Google Reader subscriptions into a beautiful, minimal magazine-like interface.
  • Google Music – I haven’t touch my media player since I signed up for this.
  • Evernote – Along with Clearly, handy for saving articles for later reading.
  • Mint.com – saves me from going into debt
  • Wunderlist/Wunderkit – Wunderlist is a slick, mac-ish to do list while wunderkit (in beta) is a social task/project manager allowing for collaboration.
  • The Color Clock – Simple clock that displays the time as a Hexidecimal color value.

UPDATE – Google Music is Now Google Play

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