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Show HN: Telescope – News and RSS Reader (apple.com)
166 points by meteor333 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 94 comments

As a greybeard still running Blosxom, I love seeing the resurgence on HN lately around RSS feeds.

My setup:

1. https://feedhq.org/ for syncing between mobile and desktop or reading via web browser. $12/year or grab the source and host it yourself. Easily import/export OPML, so you're in charge of your subscriptions.

2. http://reederapp.com/ for reading on iOS and macOS

3. Inspired by Slow Feeds (recently renamed as Web Subscriber http://zoziapps.ch/web-subscriber-5-0/ ), I added a new "Slow" folder with all of the high-quality, low-frequency feeds. Made my daily reading far more pleasant.

I love seeing the resurgence too. I wish the HN site would give some more love to their RSS options. /rss is OK but I'd like to see a separate feed for everything in /lists and a feed that will allow me to monitor responses to comments, by user or by specific comment, like what /threads?id= shows, so I don't have to constantly rescan that to see if anyone has replied.

You might like https://edavis.github.io/hnrss/

Feel free to open a Github issue with any feature requests.

"RSS feed of replies to a comment" is a particularly good one. I'll definitely look into adding that.

Not RSS but there's an email notification service for HN that is very nice http://hnreplies.com

Seems nice but, for me, a major benefit of RSS is not having to give out personal information or creating a new account. I've been activley deleting accounts anywhere I find RSS can replace it, like YouTube.

Erm, the link in 3. leads to http://zoziapps.ch/web-subscriber/ -- which just seems like a bunch of body text with no links in it.

I won't even bother subscribing to a podcast without an RSS feed. Although, more often than not, I still have to use a search engine to find that URL.

I still remember when Firefox had a feed icon displayed besides the URL if a feed was available. I never understood why they removed that feature.

I guess because the majority of their users don't need and don't understand it.

+1. Sometimes the feed URL is revealed by Page->View Source

If you're all in with Apple devices, News Explorer is also really nice. iCloud sync for Mac, iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, even Apple TV I think.

Works really well.

Let me pitch you a different way of doing it. I use TinyTinyRSS https://tt-rss.org/ as a backend to synchronize what I've already read but I don't like the UI so I wrote a desktop app as a front end: https://github.com/jeena/feedthemonkey

I sometimes read my feeds on the phone too, there I just use one of the many apps compatible with TTRSS.

Never tried tt-rss but have tried Freshness and ended up settling on Miniflux as my preferred reader.

Miniflux: + Single binary, no Cron jobs + Easy to run in a container - nothing is stored to a file - everything in the DB + Supports Let's Encrypt out of the box + Simple fast UI + Fever API support, good readers exist for iOS, less Android (working on that though) - No web push notifications - No PubSubHubbub support (though I couldn't make that work with FreshRSS either) - No maintained Android clients (if in wrong please tell me!) - Only supports PostgreSQL

FreshRSS: + Richer feature set + Push notifications + PubSubHubbub + Android apps, though they aren't perfect - More moving parts, needs Cron, PHP - Harder to run in a container - Web UI is worse on mobile

[1] - https://freshrss.org

[2] - https://miniflux.net

I also do this. In my case, since my mobile and desktop both run Windows, I use TheScientist's Windows 10 client: https://www.microsoft.com/store/productId/9WZDNCRDMBN3

I just recently started using tt-rss. I use the web version (with the feedly theme) occasionally but usually use it from newsboat. What mobile apps would you recommend?

That's very neat. Great job! I'll give this a try.

Why a max char count for password?? The max of 12 is awfully small.

Edit: The app is quiting when I try to scroll through Ars Technica in List view.

Thanks for pointing it out. Let me check and increase the limit.

Edit: Its fixed now. Increased to 128

Why is there a limit at all? When you hash the password, it should be a fixed size no matter the password length. Make sure you're not just storing the password on its own.

I recently discovered that some password hashes take time proportional to the length of the password times the number of rounds. E.g. if bcrypt work factor is set to 16 and you have a 1M byte password then the time is proportional to `1000000 * 2^16`

Why it doesn't first hash the password so it's `1000000 + len(hash) * 2^16` is beyond me, and something a crypto expert will have to answer.

In practice this means that setting an arbitrarily high limit on password size would open you up to a DOS attack via (effectively) quadratic time password hashing.

Thank you for that. Note: the trouble is that if you use a password manager it will create arbitrarily long and very secure passwords for you that _far_ exceed what you would expect for a "normal" limit.

Sorry didn't think about that. Can you tell me what is generally accepted limit for password managers or in general?

NIST's 2017 guidelines say: "Verifiers SHALL require subscriber-chosen memorized secrets to be at least 8 characters in length. Verifiers SHOULD permit subscriber-chosen memorized secrets at least 64 characters in length." [1]

[1] https://pages.nist.gov/800-63-3/sp800-63b.html or https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.800-63b

Thank you. That helps.

I use a common password manager and its max generated password length is 64, so it's in agreement with NIST. That said I am able to manually add characters to increase beyond 64.

Why have a limit at all? You should be comparing against a hash anyhow, which is fixed length.

I generally use 128-char passwords by default, and only use shorter ones when a service requires it.

Just the db limit, but yes increasing to 128 shouldn't be an issue.

Edit: Passwords are stored with bcrypt hash. That's right password limit shouldn't matter.


Yeah, you should be storing the password hashes in the DB, not the passwords. The hashes are going to be the same length regardless of the password's length.

If you wanted to get real fancy, hash the password once on the client side (reducing it to a known length), then again on the server. You should also be using a per-user salt to prevent a rainbow table from being generated if your DB is leaked.

yup it is stored with bcrypt hash and per-user salt.

Does this mean that you are storing plaintext passwords in the db? The hashes should be the same length regardless of the password length.

Last Pass generates up to 100 characters. In addition, the OWASP authentication cheat sheet says a typical max is ~128 characters.


LastPass currently caps its generated passwords at 100 but it used to be more like 1000.

Your ToS starts off by stating "This agreement is a legal contract between you and us.", but there's no definition of who "us" is, there's no page that I can find identifying who you are or what your registered address is in case of a dispute.

Edit: I'm looking at your web page (I don't have any Apple products, so I can't see what your app has).

Both have the same TOS. We are in process of forming an entity. It will be updated soon.

One more vote for being able to use your app w/o signing up. My current RSS reader doesn't require a signup...

Web version doesn't require signup - https://telescope.surf. Considering opening up iOS app as well.

Your website is pretty good as is; works well on the phone. Not sure why would I install an app. I particularly like the fact that some of the pay walled stories open up fine within your site (not sure for how long you'd be able to do this - minus the WSJ). The only missing piece sometimes, is the name of the author, if it is an opinion piece.

Note that the default settings of PrivacyBadger breaks your app by not letting load anything outside of the Home feed (clicking on the other feeds just refreshed the Home feed).

yeesh, excitement brought back to zero. unless it's an app to sync with a web app I regularly use, registration required = delete.

I’m sure it’s wonderful, but I’m not giving my email address to an RSS reader. Thats kind of the whole point.

> Thats kind of the whole point.

What? How is that 'the whole point' of an RSS reader?

In the spirit of not being tracked by someone like Facebook, he means that he doesn't want to be identified by an email and therefore have a possible profile built on him based on what he subscribes, reads, saves, etc.

That's definitely fair, but like the OP is saying, how is that the entire point of using RSS? RSS itself stands for Really Simple Syndication, there's nothing saying that clients can't provide extra convenience and features behind a login/profile. I don't think people use RSS feeds to have more privacy.

I completely agree, which is why I will never use any kind of RSS reader "service".

Instead I use Newsbeuter[1], a great standalone RSS client. It runs completely on my own machine. I don't have to give out my email address to anyone else nor do I have to tell the owners of any service what I read or what my interests are. That's completely my own business.

[1] - https://www.newsbeuter.org/

>> I’m not giving my email address to an RSS reader. Thats kind of the whole point.

> What? How is that 'the whole point' of an RSS reader?

To be able to subscribe to information sources without having to give away any personal data, start getting spammed, etc. Seems especially relevant in light of all the recent (if belated) privacy concerns surrounding social media.

Registration is to help you save your feed preferences. Web version is open for all - https://telescope.surf

This is really fantastic actually. I wish OP had just shared the web version.

How difficult is it to get another email address?

You've missed the point: users should get privacy by default and make choices to preserve their privacy, not have to dodge service requests (like getting another email address) to keep their privacy. The point isn't technical, it's ethical.

Services you should handle yourself on your own computer (like RSS feed reading) can be done for you but when they're done for you they become "Service as a Software Substitute" or "SaaSS" (see https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/who-does-that-server-really-s... for more on that).

A SaaSS RSS feed reader grants others power over what you're allowed to read, when you're allowed to read it, and that choice also empowers others to track you in your reading. If you don't value your privacy you'll lose it and then you'll likely come to regret losing it after it's too late and you've given trackers enough information to predict your habits.

I bookmarked Telescope.surf when it was first announced here.

I've grown to like it a lot. In fact, just this morning I bookmarked on my iPhone too. I like the idea of a "app", but the web site works fine and I don't put many apps on my phone but I'll just keep using it as is in Safari.

It's especially nice since Apple mucked up their "News" app in their last upgrade and I've not used it near as much since.

Thanks for using the app! Let me know how I can improve it.

Any details on how it compares to eg. Reeder?

The focus is more on a central home feed which shows posts based community votes, very similar to reddit or HN

Although this is interesting and looks good, I don't think its going to be better than what I have now in Feedbin.

Here’s my take on a minimalist RSS reader: https://teamdashboards.com

This is a work in progress. Customization doesn’t work yet. I’d like to get feedback. If many people like this interface I’ll continue developing it.

Sweet! Tired of the Apple news app shoving crap down my throat that I don't want to see.

You can tailor AppleNews to just follow topics or sources u want....

You can follow http://www.pxlet.com if you don't want to get lost in all the different sources and it comes with bunch of other features. I check this one everyday now.

The initial checkboxes (where you select news sources) are really slow. There's a half second lag for me between touching the screen and seeing the checkbox get checked in the UI.

Are you rendering the checkbox as checked only after a server trip returns?

Correct. Sorry about that. I'll fix that to have instant feedback and uncheck only if server throws an error.

I'm using rss2email with multiple categories on a dedicated IMAP account + sieve to organize into IMAP folders (using + email separator) and discard / filter topics I don't care about.

Could you open it to more countries? Seems nice, but it's not in Mexico's App Store.

I'm using FeeddlerRSS out of the limited options of good RSS readers in my country, but I'd like to try others.

It is available in all countries actually. May be your language settings is limiting the app? It’s only in English for now. Or App Store takes time to index the app in all countries. Please check back in that case. Sorry for trouble.

I apologize, it is there. I assumed it wasn't because the search "Telescope" showed some apps ending with "scope", then some astronomy apps and after that a bunch of non-related games. Thanks.

It should be available world wide

I like it. Have you thought about adding any simple Social features yet?

Can you elaborate on that? Currently the social feature I have is that you can upvote the posts and your feed is compiled based on the upvotes it received across the Telescope community.

I would be cautious about adding any features that would lead to trolling, but I think it would be valuable to be able to “follow” my friends and see what article they have read and Think are “valuable”. The only “commenting” I would enable would be private DMs, and Even then I would encourage that to be via email or SMS.

Good point. Im thinking about the best way to implement that.

Nice. If you need helping thinking of how to monetize this eventually, feel free to reach out.

I'm not the original commenter but a user could have friends, so a user can see what feeds her friends are reading and upvoting.

And so you'll have invented the Facebook News Share function... do try not to steal any elections if you do ;)

haha. I'm wary of information bubbles so trying to avoid "personalizations", but yes some sub-view with social feed would be nice to have.

You could add commenting.

Definitely coming up. Commenting will require a lot of thought and effort so keeping that for later.

Needs an account? Pauses music on startup? WTF is going on? License agreements? What the heck is this app up to? I immediately uninstalled it, sorry.

I've been using telescope.surf on and off since it first launched. I really love it and it renders rather well on Firefox for Android.

Thank you for being the regular user! Let me know how i can improve it.

I started using it a few weeks ago, and finding it really useful. It has made to the front page of my iPhone! Good work.

Awesome! Thank you! Let me know how I can improve it.

Requires iOS 11 or higher.

I'll try it some other time. I'm just not ready to give up 10.3.3 on my 6S yet.

I would have stayed on iOS 10 on my 6s if it weren't for the KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability.

A new poll puts Beto O’Rourke just 3 points behind Ted Cruz in Texas

This was in the sports section

Sorry categorization is not perfect yet. Still working on it.

Is there a way to subscribe to certain keywords?

Coming up soon. Im working a way to subscribe to topics and keywords

Awesome! Look forward to the release, that would be super useful.

News based on popularity is inherently biased. A quick look through the web feed shows that most, if not all news are from left-leaning publications.

How is this better than Feedly?

Enable landscape, please!

I disabled it because it looked awkward reading a feed in small height window. I'll test again and reconsider it.

Is there an android version?

Sorry not yet. Hopefully ill be able to get to it soon. Please check out web version meantime - https://telescope.surf

This is a free app and looks pretty cool, but may I ask how do you make profit?

Im planning to add premium subscription feature soon.

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