January 16, 2013
News and updates

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(Image source: Wikipedia)

We hope that you all had a great holiday season and entered 2013 as enthusiastic as we are now! As you may guess we are receiving tons of emails with feature requests, and to make those easier to track we have configured a special feedback page. Go ahead and check it out - you can submit new feature requests as well as vote for existing ones. Also this now gives us lots of visibility into what our users really want, so we can spend our time on what’s important first. Keep your voices coming, but please avoid creating duplicate issues (we hate deleting them).

During past months we have mostly been busy refactoring our database backend. This is not something that you can see, but it helped us cut some hardware costs and will ensure that we can scale as fast as our user base grows. We also implemented some minor features you’ve been asking about - reverse post sorting and new passwordless Pocket integration. (You will need to check your Settings menu for that).

Unteleported logo

You might have also noticed a new image that says Unteleported on our main page. Don’t get scared, as we have not got bought by an evil corporation just yet. We have been discussing various ways to cover our increasing hardware costs, and we liked the idea of being sponsored by cool companies we can relate to. Unteleported is the first of such companies - they are our good old friends, a team of software development professionals (hey, our only real software engineer works there!) who agreed to partially cover our bills. We are extremely grateful for what they do and would like to encourage you to check their new shiny website out. If you have a cool software project to develop, they are the right people!

We were receiving requests and suggestions about translating The Old Reader to various languages. Well, we have a winner! We thank our bright friend and an early Old Reader adopter Daria Nifontova for the Russian translation she made (now available in Settings menu). For anyone else wishing to contribute there is now a separate github repository, and we are happy to accept your pull requests.

And finally, we don’t want to be ahead of ourselves, but our next major update will probably include that B-word we all are waiting for. Cool, no?

12:00pm
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Filed under: news reader happy 
October 8, 2012
5000 users, starting iOS app, future plans, hopes & tears

One happy team

This is amazing. Incredible. Outstanding. And absolutely unexpected. We reached our personal milestone this morning. In early June Dmitry made a bet that he would start making an iOS app once The Old Reader hits 5000 registrations, and the team gladly accepted this challenge. We have not expected this to happen until early 2013 but in these last five days ~1900 new users registered. These are mostly some awesome people from Brazil who have found us and spread the word in Twitter with astonishing passion and lots of sincerity. 

We are sorry for some technical issues you might have experienced recently; importing your feeds should work much better now and we are trying various things to make it work perfectly. And thank you all for your patience, words can’t describe how important and touching it was to receive reassuring replies like “Ok, I can wait :)”.

So, 5000.

What does this mean for us?

The Old Reader is not even half-finished. We have lots of different tasks to do and the list is growing on a daily basis. All Dmitry talks about these days is different optimizations, while Anton silently opens terminal and starts typing, while Elena is trying to land us a sponsorship or a partnership. And, of course, we are looking forward to bookmarklet, mass-editing, sorting, and lots of other features you requested.

What does it mean for you?

The Old Reader is not even half-finished. But some day it will be.

What does it mean for all of us? 

As we promised earlier, along with other tasks we are going to start working on an iOS app. Yes, it’s a big deal for us.

Last month was not the best for our team in terms of our project: one of us changed jobs, some of us changed countries and all three of us are now unable to spend evenings and weekends coding, tweaking, fixing, writing emails, resolving issues, and generally having the best experience that friends can have: creating something together. But we will continue doing everything we can to bring The Old Reader to the new level.

We thank all our users for your interest, kind words, critique, suggestions, patience, and new challenges you give us. And thanks to our old and new friends for using The Old Reader to read, curate, and share the best content ever. Keep on going and we will keep on working. 

P.S. We knew that Elena can cry while reading emails and replies in Twitter, we witnessed her doing that multiple times during last few days, but apparently she is also able to write a post and cry at the same time. Hardcore multitasking.

August 17, 2012
First public release

Also known as Milestone 2.0 in our internal discussions. We closed 51 tickets in our tracking system and dedicated five weeks to designing, implementing and deploying a lot of key-features. Most notable for our users are: 

New identity and slick interface design

We teamed up with bright and talented Igor Kosyrev to create a completely different image of our project. Our logo, interface, twitter and blog already look brand new, however we will be additionally fine-tuning the interface during next several weeks.

Pocket integration

We replaced ‘Star’ button with a ‘Pocket’ button to store everything you want in your Pocket (ex Read It Later) account. Their app was made for it and it gives lots of organizing options.

Browser extensions

We created small Safari and Chrome browser extensions to notify you on new things to read.

Enhanced hotkeys and list view

Full list of hotkeys:

  • 'j' and 'k' (space and shift + space) to navigate posts;
  • 'o' opens the post in a new window;
  • 's' to share a post;
  • 'l' to mark it as liked.

Navigating through list view will open next post and close previous automatically.

We are concentrating on Bookmarklet, mobile versions, mass-editing features and everything we mentioned here for now.

Thank you and stay tuned.

6:37pm
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Filed under: news about reader improvements 
July 10, 2012
Milestone 1.5

(The Old Reader team, finishing a milestone on a Saturday night)

This is another happy announcement — we closed milestone 1.5, which means that The Old Reader now has the following features up and running:

  • List view;
  • Folders view (with counters);
  • New landing page and a privacy policy;
  • Facebook approval for timeline sharing;
  • Better performance: optimized tables, revamped feeds fetching, some operations running on the background;
  • Atom feeds bug fixed;
  • Tiny userpics;
  • Resharing your friends posts.

Things we are currently working on:

  • New (but still simple) design and style;
  • Mass-editing of RSS feeds;
  • Bookmarklet;
  • More sharing options;
  • Search filters;
  • Post tagging;
  • Read It Later (Pocket) integration;
  • Brushed up mobile versions.

We have also added one more server and are happy with the project so far — it is something we have done from scratch by ourselves (with friends’ help) and now new tasks, things to manage, bugs to deal with, user feedback to consider and milestones to reach are getting are more and more challenging and interesting. We now have to deal with with scalability, performance optimization and interface issues and we are excited about that.

Thank you for being with us.

June 12, 2012
Thank you note

Today  The Old Reader’s beta version became public and our team is happy with all the support and feedback so far, please keep ‘em coming.

I want to thank my friends for inspiring, helping and motivating me, so I never gave up on something I liked. I want to thank Dmitriy Krasnoukhov & Anton Tolchanov for making it happen and being incredibly patient while doing so.

I want to thank everyone who responded to my numerous letters and helped us along these eight weeks and personally Igor Safonov for logo lettering and UI improvements, Danil Mekhanoshin and Sergey Tomilov for UI analysis and fixes, Dasha Mingalieva for icon, Kseniya Ryzhkova for priceless guidelines and advices on communication, Natasha Rostovtseva for insightful questions and comments, Anna Gorodetskaya for a professional view on social media issues, Anton Outkine for agreeing to take care of some future layouts, Nata Pokrovskaya for being an attentive OCD beta-tester, Anna Zabolotnaya for encouragement and my sharebros for incredibly detailed useful feedback and kind words. 

I could go on and on with the list, you guys are awesome, thank you for every new user, mention, tweet, feature request and bug report. We already have a new milestone and some serious improvements to deliver.

Thank you all very much,

Elena Bulygina (The Old Reader’s team)