Gush: RSS reader, instant messenger in sleek package

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I downloaded Gush several months back and then forgot about it. Back then, I never thought I’d need a desktop RSS reader. After all, my current Cybercafe Experiment is to have all the data I need online–to make the network my computer, as Sun puts it.

I only remembered downloading the software when I came across a blog post announcing that you can now use Gush with Google Talk. I tried Gush a few weeks back and have been hooked since then (screenshots below).

Gush is a combination multi-protocol instant messenger (AIM, Yahoo, Jabber and Google Talk) and RSS reader. It comes in a very sleek package and it’s such a functional eye candy that I found myself using it more often than I do my online RSS aggregators.

Setting up Gush is pretty straightforward. You just enter your current IM account or sign up for a Jabber account using the software. Setting it up to work with Google Talk is a bit (just a little bit) trickier–you just replace the server you’re connecting to with talk.google.com and the port to 5222. After that, you then use your GMail address as username to log in.

I use Gush in my office PC, which connects to the Internet through a corporate firewall. For more than a week, I never encountered problems using Google Talk in Gush. Lately, however, I reverted to the Google Talk client for IM but still kept Gush using a Jabber account because: 1.) Ive had repeated problems connecting to Google Talk; and 2.) when I am able to connect, there are times that the tab in the taskbar doesn’t blink when I get new messages.

The Flash interface may be disconcerting at first and I found myself right-clicking when I should be left-clicking but youd get used to it after a few minutes. Manually adding RSS feeds is easy but if you’re talking about more than 10 feeds, it gets to be tiresome. What I did was I exported my RSS reading list into an OPML file and then imported this in Gush.

A note of caution, though, you might be tempted to delete all the folders and feeds pre-built with the software so that you can start from scratch by importing your OPML file. DON’T. Leave at least one folder because if you delete everything, the import option will no longer appear and you can no longer import anything or add an RSS feed (at least, I couldnt). If you want to experiment, though, try it and if you find a way to still add feeds, send me word so that I can get back to using my original Jabber account, which I abandoned because I could no longer add feeds in Gush. I’m thinking of re-installing it when I get the time.

To tempt you into installing the software, here are screenshots I took a few weeks back, when I still used it with Google Talk:

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