Lifestyle

A 9-post collection

NetNewsWire – Just the news you want, and nothing you don’t

NetNewWire icon
There’s never been a better time to get back into RSS. – John Gruber

I recently started using NetNewsWire on both my Mac and my iPhone to consume news via RSS feeds.

I made the change just before everything kicked off and the world got turned upside down, but it’s proved to be good timing.

I had previously been using Apple News to both keep up to date with the wider world, as well as follow specific sites.

But right now I can’t take it – the sensationalist headlines, the click bait, the fear mongering. I don’t need more of that in my life.

RSS isn’t a new technology, but it’s making yet another resurgence, and for me it’s because of one app – NetNewsWire.

NetNewsWire – the beautifully simple RSS reader for iOS and Mac

NetNewsWire for macOS
NetNewsWire shows you articles from your favourite blogs and news sites — and keeps track of what you’ve read.

It’s like podcasts, but for reading.

If you’ve been going from page to page in your browser looking for new articles to read, let NetNewsWire bring them to you instead.

NetNewsWire is free for both platforms, and it’s open source. Don’t be fooled by the term “open source” – it can often be misconstrued as synonymous for “designed by developers and decided by committee”, but that couldn't be further from the truth here.

NetNewsWire is an unbelievably great piece of software – opinionated , fast, light, accessible, and beautiful, and it’s unapologetically native. [1]

It’s apps like NetNewsWire that make me want to learn to code – to think that one day I could build something as great as this.

If you’re looking for some serenity in your news reading habits, and you’ve got an iPhone or a Mac, I implore you to go check it out.

Learn more about NetNewsWire


  1. Opinionated software tends to trump "please everyone" software – especially when you agree with the opinions of the decision maker. Brent Simmons, the creator of NetNewsWire has a fantastic blog where he shares his thought processes for many decisions he makes in bringing this wonderful app to life. ↩︎

Remote possibility

I'm not sure what the future holds, and I very much hope we can get through the Coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible. I long for the world to return to normal soon.

As with many companies, we are transitioning to remote working at GoSquared from this week onwards.

When we first started working on GoSquared, we were all at school. We used to design and code away from our homes, communicating primarily through Google Chat.

We used to catch up at school, but while building interfaces, writing code, and inventing copy, we'd each be at home, focused obsessively on building something great.

It was only when we started to "grow up" that we moved to London and got together in an office. It felt like the proper thing to do – what big company doesn't have a head office? We were excited.

And things stayed that way – we've been based in London with one central location for almost a decade.

We've hired remote team members, and built experience of working with people all over the world.

But now, it's all changing – we're all going remote.

It's going to be different. It's going to be new. Some things are going to break. But I am excited for what will be better.

I’m intrigued about a few areas where my life will be different – one area in particular that excites me is getting two hours of my day back.

My commute

My normal commute is approximately an hour door-to-door.

What can I do with an extra two hours in my day? I can use this for work, for pleasure, for fitness, or for something totally new.

A few ways I'm contemplating making use of my extra two hours a day:

  • Running – will a run to start my day transform my energy levels? Will a run at the end of the day be a perfect way to separate my working day from my evening?
  • Sleeping – will an extra 30-60 minutes in bed change my focus and energy throughout the day?
  • Eating properly – more time to cook, to use fresh ingredients, to plan my meals.
  • Writing – distraction free time to focus on writing.
  • Drawing – time to draw and sketch at the end of the day.
  • Reading – an opportunity to read an extra chapter, or consume another blog post at the start of my day.

The next few weeks and months are going to be challenging for everyone – but I hope there are many positives we can take from the ordeal we face.

Create better. Consume better.

Last year, my goal was to create more, and consume less.

Every year, the pressure to outline dramatic resolutions mounts as January looms.

But every year I grow older, and hopefully a little wiser, and this time I’m not throwing out my previous resolutions, I’m just evolving them.

Consume better

I feel extremely fortunate to be in a position where I can choose what to buy and where I buy it from.

In the last few years I’ve grown increasingly aware that I can vote with my wallet and choose to actively seek out the shops I want to support, the products I want to buy, and to actively choose to avoid the businesses I don’t agree with.

This year, I intend to focus on this further – rather than just consuming less – less meat, less alcohol, less plastic, less electricity – I also want to ensure the meat, alcohol, products, and energy I consume are better.

Better for me, better for the environment, better for everyone involved.

Create better

Last year I tried creating more.

Creating more certainly helps you build habits, and it helps you maintain your craft.

But I couldn’t bring myself to meet the schedule I set to myself – I found myself creating just to hit a self-prescribed goal. Perhaps I aimed to aggressively – trying to write something new on a daily basis for a few weeks.

I’m done with creating in quantity for now. I want to focus more on quality – on deeper thought, on more unique writing, art, and design.

This year I want to create more, but not too much more. What I really want to do is create better.

Stop comparing

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

The above quote rings more and more true the longer I'm on this planet for.

So much of our culture, and our social interactions involves comparing ourselves to others.

You can use this comparison to motivate you, but too much of the time it seems to cause dramatically more negative consequences.

“Keeping up with the Joneses” isn’t just a challenge, it’s an uninspiring goal. Stop comparing yourself to those around you, and start comparing yourself to where you want to be.

Focus on your own goals and let them drown out the voices in your head telling you to “level up” against those around you.


Time boxing

Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying hard to box out my time each day of the week.

One of the challenges I struggle with, and from speaking to many other people – both founders and anyone working in a small team – is it’s hard to switch between the hundred different tasks you have each day.

It’s widely understood that constant task switching destroys your productivity, but it’s so hard to escape when there’s a constant torrent of new tasks to be accomplished and decisions to be made.

But escaping the torrent and becoming productive requires you to be in charge. You need to take control of your time.

Control your time

If you can control how you spend your time you can do so much more.

I was always sceptical of this, but since putting a concerted effort into boxing out my time during the week, I’ve become dramatically more productive, less stressed, and I’m able to spend my energy on the most important work – not just the most urgent.

How can you start to take more control of your time?

One simple change I’ve made is to book in my calendar the time I would normally leave as empty with an event – perhaps it’s titled “Map out our plan for Q4” or “Deep creative work”.

It doesn’t matter too much what tasks you put in – what matters is you treat your “free” time in the work week as protected time.

If a meeting deserves to get a fixture in your calendar, why the hell doesn’t the most important work you do get to feature there too?

A chance to reflect

As a bonus – it’s one thing to map out your week ahead of time, but it’s another to reflect on where your time went.

During the week, stuff comes up. Priorities change. "Urgent" tasks – even when we try our hardest to avoid them – tend to take priority.

I’ve been trying to keep track of my time throughout the day retrospectively by adjusting my calendar events based on what actually happened.

None of this is highly scientific. None of this is necessarily “industry standard”. And none of this requires any fancy tools or software. It just requires a calendar and a mindset change.

Do you feel in control of your schedule? If you do, I’d love to hear about what you’ve done to accomplish such an achievement.

What is your top priority?

It’s important to know what you’re going to do today. It's important to know what you’re going to do next.

It’s also important to know what you’re not going to do today, this week, this month, or ever.

But establishing your set of your priorities doesn’t happen by chance or by accident. If it does, then they’re not priorities, it's just a list of things to do.

To be clear on your priorities you also need to think about what’s most important in your business, in your social life, in your family, in your relationship, and to you personally.

Is figuring out your priorities a priority right now? Maybe it’s time to make it one.

Running the marathon

On Sunday of this week, I’ll be running the 2019 London Marathon.

My primary feeling right now is fear, followed closely by nervousness, and a distant third is excitement.

I’m running for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution – the RNLI – they’re the charity that saves lives at sea. They’re like a fourth emergency service in the UK, except they’re all volunteers. They’re the people that come to save you if you are in trouble at sea or in a river like the Thames in London.

This post is less about trying to persuade you to donate – although if you are feeling generous or wish to show your support in any way, I would appreciate it more than you can imagine. See my JustGiving page to follow along.

The marathon is a distance I have never run before. Doing this is a venture into the unknown – will my body be able to cope? Will I make it to the start line without an injury? Will I be feeling 100% on the morning of the big day? Will I need to go to the bathroom mid-race? Will I eat enough of the right food to ensure I have energy to get me around? Will I hit the infamous “wall” unexpectedly and struggle to finish? Am I worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong?

The only thing certain to me right now is this: I would never have trained or run this far unless I had committed to entering for a place in the London Marathon.

If I can take out just one thing from this experience it’s that you simply don’t push yourself to your limits unless you have a really big hairy audacious goal to aim for.

And there aren’t many goals as big, hairy, or audacious as running 26.2 miles.

Just a few years ago I had barely run 5km. I hated running at school. And now, in just a few days I’ll be starting a race across an absurd distance.

The whole experience has had me thinking: is there an equivalent to the marathon in other parts of my life? How can I push the boundaries of my own abilities in other areas?

Whether it’s running or not – is there the equivalent of a marathon you can commit to to push the boundaries of what you think you can achieve?

Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far – whether with advice, suggestions, or donations. It means the world to me.

See you at the starting line!

Create more. Consume less.

The start of the new year always provides time to think deeply about what you’ve achieved (or failed to achieve) in the last year, and where you can do better.

Life can be short – when a new year comes along it reminds me of everything I still want to achieve.

For me, at this point, it comes down to two areas: create more, and consume less.

Create more:

  • Art. Draw more.
  • Writing.
  • Photography.
  • Time for exercise.
  • Good habits for money management.
  • Happy memories.


Consume less:

  • Social media.
  • News.
  • TV.
  • Plastic.
  • Poorly made, short-life products.
  • Meat.

Best of luck with your own goals for 2019.

My morning routine

I would not describe myself as “a morning person”.

I love a lie in. At the weekends I’ve always enjoyed lying in bed – perhaps with a cup of tea – and making the most of relaxing.

But during the week it’s hard to justify spending your morning under the covers – there’s a job to do, a business to build.

Needless to say, there are articles galore out there about building a good morning routine, to the point where the mere mention of the topic induces an audible sigh from those in the same room.

Despite the extreme cliché of the subject, I’ve been trying to figure out the right routine for me, and I thought it might be worthwhile sharing my learnings so far.

What I have learnt so far seems to suggest that waking up earlier – and happier, with more energy – requires more than just a loud alarm.

Goals for the morning

I have a few goals for my mornings:

  • Wake up early (to give me time before any scheduled events in my calendar).
  • Get myself showered, and feeling fresh.
  • Wake up with energy to start making decisions and acting on things.
  • To arrive at the office with a clear plan for my day.
  • To arrive at the office in a good mood, ready to crack on with the day.
  • To ensure I have enough energy to keep on form for the entire day – especially after lunch.

With all these desires for my mornings, I realised I clearly need to avoid any situations where I wake up late, rush to the office, and feel like I’m playing catch-up from the moment I’m in. I also need to avoid situations where I'm in a total grump and a pain for the team to work with.

My current routine

My routine so far goes something like this:

  • Set my alarm for 6am.
  • Actually wake up and get out of bed at 6am.
  • Get the kettle on.
  • Jump straight in the shower – no questions asked.
  • Leave the shower, shave, dry hair, get dressed.
  • Make tea (kettle now boiled!), eat a bowl of cereal.
  • Catch up on more casual / personal tasks like reading the news and messaging any friends who are waiting on me to get back to them.
  • Run through my tasks, emails, and other items and get them prioritised. I've started using Superhuman to manage my email workflow which has been a massive help here.
  • Leave the house for a leisurely stroll into the office, mulling over my first tasks for when I get in.

The morning routine starts the night before

Getting up at 6am has been painful for a long time. I'm only just getting used to it, and I still have my days of failure.

Even before I started reading "Why we sleep", I was vaguely aware of the importance of a healthy night of sleep. But waking at 6am simply can't happen (for me at least) if I'm getting to bed at