How to use Snackr

What are the buttons on the tab? From left to right:

Add a feed
Quit (why would you ever want to do this?)

Can I transfer feeds from my normal feed reader? Yup, as long as it can export OPML files. Click on the  Options button, then click the Import button in the lower left corner of the popup and browse to the OPML file. Snackr will automatically add all the feeds from the file.

How do I quickly add more feeds? There are a couple of ways:

  • If you use Firefox on Windows, you can set it to automatically add feeds to Snackr. Click on a feed icon or link, then choose "Choose Application..." from the dropdown at the top, and browse to the Snackr application in Program Files. Clicking Subscribe will then add the feed to Snackr. You can also check the "Always use Snackr to subscribe to feeds" to make it so clicking on any feed icon or link will automatically add it to Snackr without going through the subscription page.
  • If you're mouse-oriented, copy a site or feed URL to the clipboard with Ctrl-C or Cmd-C, then click the  Add Feed button on the Snackr tab.
  • If you're keyboard-oriented, copy the URL to the clipboard, then Alt-Tab or Cmd-Tab to the Snackr window and hit Ctrl-V or Cmd-V to paste it. Snackr will automatically verify and add the feed.

How do I get Snackr out of my way? It's overlapping my dock/taskbar. A few different ways:

  • Move your dock/taskbar. Snackr is way more important.
  • You can drag Snackr a little ways and let go to "throw" it to different sides of your screen or onto a different monitor. Or you can set the docking side/monitor in the Preferences tab of the  Options popup.
  • You can also collapse it temporarily using the  Collapse button on the ticker.
  • You can turn off "always on top" in the Preferences tab of the  Options popup.

Can I keep Snackr in sync with my normal feed reader, so I don't keep reading items twice and adding feeds to both? The current official version doesn't have this, but you can download a test build from the Snackr website on Google Code that integrates with Google Reader.

Can I sync Snackr between multiple machines? You can do this using the Google Reader integration in the test build above--just set up all your Snackr instances to point to the same Google Reader account. In the official build, the only way to do this right now is to shut down Snackr on one machine, copy the database file to the other machine, then run Snackr on the other machine. Not much of a solution, but if you want to do it, you can find the Snackr database file (FeedDatabase.sql) in the Snackr folder inside your Documents (Mac) or My Documents (Win) folder.

How will I know when a new version of Snackr is available? Snackr has an auto-update feature built in; it checks on startup and once an hour thereafter. You can turn this off in the Preferences tab of the  Options popup.

How often does Snackr check feeds? Currently it checks all feeds on startup, and after that it waits at least 45 minutes between checks of a given feed. I'm planning to add more control over this in the future.

Problems / confusing behavior

Snackr crashes on the Mac when I click on an item to pop it up. There are a few causes for this that I know of:

  • The CoolIris plugin for Safari--when this is installed, it seems to interfere with the Adobe AIR runtime. If you're not using this plugin, you can uninstall it by choosing View > Remove CoolIris in Safari.
  • Other items in <your home folder>/Library/InputManagers or /Library/InputManagers. If you have items in these folders, try moving them out to another location temporarily and relaunching Snackr. If this fixes the crash in Snackr, please send me mail letting me know which input managers caused the problem.
  • If neither of these fixes your crash, please send me mail with a crash log (if you don't know where to find this, I can give you instructions when you email me).

I'm running Snackr on Vista or Linux, and the popup animations look funny. Yup, this is a known issue. There are lots of known issues. Sigh.

I'm on Vista, and I have Firefox set as my default browser, but links still open in IE. See this blog post for a workaround.

Sometimes when I drag the ticker to "throw" it, it gets stuck in the middle of the screen. If this happens, just click on an item in the ticker, and it will finish throwing itself.

It doesn't seem like Snackr is showing items from one of my feeds. This could happen for a few reasons:

  • Snackr doesn't show items older than 30 days by default. You can change this in the Preferences tab of the  Options popup.
  • Once you read an item, Snackr never shows it again. However, items that scroll by in the ticker that you don't read do eventually show up again; Snackr cycles through all the unread items for a given feed, then starts over from the beginning.
  • There might be a bug. Send the feed URL to me and I'll take a look.

How come Snackr sometimes loads a whole web page in the popup? If an item has no description or content, just a link, Snackr loads the page at the target of the link (instead of just showing an empty popup). This takes awhile because Snackr has to wait for the whole page to load before it knows how big to make the bubble. I'd like to figure out how to improve this behavior in future versions.

I'm having some other problem. Check the bug/feature request list; if it's not listed there, send me mail and let me know!

General stuff about Snackr

Aren't tickers obnoxious? Sure. But if you're like me, you don't have time to read all the stuff being pumped out of blogs at an alarming rate. You just want to be distracted occasionally in boring meetings, or when you're supposed to be doing real work. If so, Snackr is for you.

Does Snackr cost CA$H M0N3Y$? Um, no. You think someone would actually pay for this thing? SRSLY. Snackr is free for non-commercial use. If you're fool enough to want to use it for commercial purposes, contact me.

Isn't "Snackr" a lame vintage-2005 faux-Web-2.0 name? Of course. You can think of it as a parody, if that puts your ironic hipster mind at ease. Just be thankful I didn't figure out how to register the domain "".

Where are all your shout-outs? Oh yeah, I almost forgot.

  • Rob Adams was my first user and has given me lots of useful feedback. He's also working on a feature or two that will show up in a future version.
  • Thanks to the folks who put together the as3corelib, which I'm using to decode dates.
  • And, of course, thanks to the Adobe Flex and AIR teams, without which Snackr would not have been possible.