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News the minimalist way - Why I use Miniflux

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Like two or three weeks ago, I was a little bored and thought about installing something new on my server again. Yes, I really like installing “things” (it’s actually just adding some lines of configuration to a file), especially when those things improve my life in some way. I installed Miniflux and using it really opened my eyes about the way I consume news. If you don’t want to host Miniflux yourself, like I do (which allows me to tweak the configuration), there’s also a very cheap hosted version for just some bucks a year.

Miniflux is a minimalist newsreader. All it does is collecting new stories from the RSS (or Atom or JSON) feeds I subscribed to. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary and is a type of web feed which allows users to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format. Atom or JSON feed are similar formats. Those feeds are from some news sites I like to read, blogs or even YouTube channels or newsletters. It also allows sorting feeds into categories and has a bookmark list. Although it has less features than some competitors, it does the few things, it’s supposed to do, very well. It’s really fast and looks clean. Take a look:

Screenshot of Miniflux

But the real benefit of switching from “visit every bookmarked site to check for news” to using a RSS reader is the reduced consumption of “useless” news: click-bait or articles that just aren’t interesting enough to catch my attention, when I scroll through the list with 100, 200 or sometimes even 500 new articles each morning, but articles which I would read using my old method. I now open less than 5 percent of the articles.

As an aspiring minimalist, I always search for ways to reduce clutter and time wasting activities in my life, to be able to focus on the important things, on things I’m interested in, on things that make me happy, or on things I care about. Completely cutting my news consumption isn’t a possibility, because that way I also cut out all the news I really want to read and getting a basic overview over what’s happening in the world isn’t that bad too. I need a way to better filter the news without being distracted by click-bait header images or blinking buttons. Using a simple newsreader helps me with that. It doesn’t really matter, which newsreader I use. In the past I already used feedly, Tiny Tiny RSS and a few others and it’s more about personal preferences.

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Jan-Lukas Else
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