I have enjoyed spending a few days playing with MyTaptu (thanks @sheldrake). I don't normally review apps but not only do I like My Taptu, it's also made me think about how I use my iPhone for gathering news and for being entertained.
One of my concerns about "Daily Me" personal news aggregators is their natural tendency to restrict reading to a limited range of topics and from a limited range of sources. I have long been puzzled so few people seem to share my enthusiasm for RSS (and pleased to see Bloglines lives on!) but I am also aware that although I check a lot of sites very regularly, I am increasingly focused on unhelpfully narrow choices and framings.
It is not very scientific claim, but I suspect that when I have a physical newspaper in front of me I am much more likely to read a story that is not on my usual agenda than when I visit a website. Counter-intuitively, the sheer volume of information out there actually limits me in my choices and I benefit from – need! – help in broadening my horizons.
This is where MyTaptu comes in. It is a very simple and easy to use aggregator, which cleverly divides the iPhone screen into (nearly) nine news pages, three rows of three story blocks which can be scrolled horizontally by theme, or vertically by category (called streams) . Visually it is a bit like the BBC News iPhone app, crossed with the impressive iPad Flipboard, see the video.
MyTaptu comes preloaded with a number of streams, comprising selections from a range of mobile specific feeds – News . Sport, Lifesrtyle, Technology etc – then allows you to add your own, including social media such as Twitter. The clever bit is that MyTaptu doesn't give you everything from each source (I find the Independent app almost unusuable because of the volume of information offered and the time it takes to load), but chooses and highlights a useful selection.
Right now I am flicking through the Football stream which this morning has somehow taken interesting stories from Football365, FIFA, Premier League, Guardian, Sky Sports, Uefa. and the Daily Telegraph without a great deal of overlap. I am also looking at highlights from the Guardian Culture and Telegraph Books, MyTaptu's Photography stream, my own Twitter feed and news from Sydsvenskan – a fairly personal mix, I suppose!
All this made me think again about how I use my iPhone (and iPad – I can't wait for the iPad MyTaptu!). I am sure will still use my PC or laptop for 'serious' news monitoring, and for keeping up with my favourite bloggers (for which Titter is largely replacing RSS as my alert system).
But what I rally like about MyTaptu is that when I have a few minutes to 'play' I am can absolutely guarantee that it will suggest a host of stories I will enjoy reading, including a good proportion that I wouldn't normally have chanced upon.