Add a scrolling RSS ticker to your desktop with Snackr


If information is power, then surely adding more of it onto your desktop in the form of an RSS feed ticker is a good thing, right? (Note: I am being somewhat facetious here).

In any case, if an RSS ticker is what you want, then Snackr, a free multiplatform Adobe Air application, is what you need.

Snackr is stylish and feature rich. It will display entire articles on your desktop on mouse-over, can be placed on any side of your screen (side-scrolling or vertical), can import and export OPML files, and can event log pull feeds from your Google reader. The downside? Snackr can be both CPU and memory intensive.

Display options: aside from choosing the side of the screen, you can tell Snackr what level of opacity you want it to have, and whether or not it should stay in front of other windows. See screenshot to the right.

Snackr Screenshot1

Snackr Screenshot2 - optionsThe user experience: is a rather nice one. Assuming, your desktop isn’t too cluttered with other elements, that is. Clicking on a story will display the RSS part right on the desktop, and will give you the option to click into the article in the browser. You can ‘star’ posts, Gmail style, and browse them later on. You can also quickly email, Twitter, Digg or post the article to delicious (via the little up arrow icon in the bottom right), but not to Instapaper/ReaditLater.

Google reader integration: two words; “supercool” (or is that one word?). Hook it right up to your Google Reader account by providing your login and password.

The verdict: a great desktop-based RSS reader. On the one hand, it looks good and provides a great user experience, on the other, it may be too resource intensive to be suitable for most users. However, unfortunately, the CPU usage issue is a deal breaker, and I am hoping they fix it in a future version if this app is to have any chance of actually staying on people’s machines. Also, one thing I would have wished for is posting on for individual posting on Instapaper/Read it Later type services. Hoping these will be added in a future version. Also, the option to not have the program icon always visible in the taskbar would be good.

My advice: if you have a powerful, high-end machine then try it out; you will be rewarded with a high dose of stylishness. The memory use is about 60-80 megs, which is high but not super high, and may be a function of it being an Adobe Air program, but the more worrying part is the constant CPU activity, which I will say again I really hope they fix in a future version.

Alternately, for nine other RSS-reading options, check out this post.

[Thanks go to reader Panzer for tipping us off about this program].

Version tested: 0.41

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux. Requires Adobe Air.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (~792 K).