Using Newsblur on a Tablet

I love using Newsblur on a desktop/laptop but I run into problems when using it on my Android tablet. I can scroll through the articles but they’re not marked “read” as I do so. Also, if I go to “next unread” the next story gets highlighted but does not load in the reading pane. I could use the mobile app but it’s not made for a tablet (rather a phone) so I’m sort of out of luck for the time being when it comes to tablet access. Just thought I’d mention this so that perhaps a solution might be reached at some point.

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I’m building a browser-based tablet-friendly Newsblur interface to solve precisely this dilemma. Within 2-3 weeks I think it will reach a state I feel comfortable opening for public beta; I’ll post to this forum when it’s ready.


Thank you!

I also have an early beta of a browser-based interface for NewsBlur called PlainReader. It’s targeted at Safari (desktop & iPad), but I think it should work fine on an Android tablet too (no guarantees, I haven’t tried it).

The big caveat right now is that PlainReader is not hosted, so you need to have the application running on a desktop or laptop on the same LAN as your tablet in order to use it. So if you’re looking for something you can use on the go, this isn’t it (yet).

Very nice! Mine is also on GitHub, so when I say “public beta” I mean a hosted version.

Differences between MobileBlur and PlainReader, as surmised from the PlainReader readme:

Points in favor of PlainReader

  • PlainReader is based on the UI of another feed reader app, and is substantially prettier than MobileBlur
  • PlainReader runs articles through Instapaper to clean up the presentation and remove some ads. MobileBlur just gives you the feed’s raw HTML.
  • Pinboard support

Points in favor of MobileBlur:

  • MobileBlur will be available as a hosted service, PlainReader is not (and is not designed to be exposed to the Internet, but only a LAN)
  • MobileBlur will support changing the Intelligence filter level


  • MobileBlur (currently) only targets reading individual feeds, while PlainReader only supports the River of News view. I could support River of News too, if enough people show interest.
  • MobileBlur is targeted at Android devices (at least Dolphin and Opera Mobile), though I’ll try to made it work decent on Safari. PlainReader solely targets Webkit browsers (e.g., not Opera).

Thanks, spiffy. That’s a nice, thorough comparison (although I haven’t tried out MobileBlur yet).

To clarify, I would like to host PlainReader instead of requiring users to run it locally, but I haven’t quite figured out how I want to go about doing that. It’s not at the top of my list either since my iPad virtually never leaves home, but if there’s a lot of interest, I’ll prioritize the hosted version.

Yay, it’s time to release the publicly-hosted beta of MobileBlur! And just in time for your new Christmas gadgets, too!

I’m still working on a number of features and UI improvements, but in the spirit of “real developers ship” and “release early, release often”, here it is:


Please use the handy feedback button (visible after logging in) to tell me anything you’d like to see changed.

Spiffytech - trying it out, getting some 500s. You seeing them on your side?

I’m not getting 500s myself, but I see your errors in my log. Looks like it’s some kind of Apache permissions issue with a Python module.

I made sure Apache has access to all the site files. Let me know if the problems persist.