I <3 Viigo

A couple of weeks ago I had the misfortune of losing my Blackberry to a casual thief. Grrrr. That sucked.

Now that I have a replacement in hand, one of the things I really wasn't looking forward to was getting everything re-tweaked to work the way I'd customized the previous device. It's a pain to have to go back through and set up all the old shortcuts and favourite apps I'd already tweaked to work precisely the way I liked on the old handheld.

When it came to reinstalling Viigo, however, the entire process was rendered completely painless. I downloaded it, ran the install, logged in with my old username, and boom! All my feeds, folders and settings were re-created and synchronised without me having to tweak a darn thing. Such a simple thing to do - but why can't all apps work this way?

Going through this made me realise that I haven't blogged about Viigo yet, and I should. A month or so ago, I'd sent out a plea through Twitter and elsewhere, trying to find a good offline RSS feed reader for the Blackberry. I'd experimented with BerryBloglines and a few of the other options folk recommended, but none of the products I'd tried actually implemented offline reading properly.

What I really wanted was something that would take advantage of slack synch cycles on the Bb, to pull down feeds and cache them locally, such that I could then catch up on my blog reading while on the subway. Something, in other words, not unlike what AvantGo provided on my trusty old Palm Vx more than 8 years ago (albeit without the RSS).

By luck, I happened to be speaking at the ICE08 conference about a month ago, where I heard about Viigo. They'd done a special promo deal with the event organizers, pushing a skinned version of their app to interested attendees. Always happy to toy with new tools, I downloaded Viigo and was instantly smitten.

This is probably the perfect mobile app for me and has quickly become the most-used program on my Blackberry after email. It genuinely has changed my life, for the better. Instead of carrying the nagging guilt for being constantly behind on my feed reading, I can keep up-to-date on my commute every day, and I'm never without good stuff to read. Plus, I'd actually much rather be catching up with the news and blog posts on my Blackberry in the morning than trying to handle a full-size newspaper on a crowded tube train.

I know, I'm gushing - but I really do like it that much. If you're a Blackberry or Windows Mobile user, read a lot of blogs, and haven't checked Viigo out yet - what are you waiting for?

[Disclosure: in case you're wondering, no - I have absolutely no professional relationship with the Viigo guys. I do know their VP, Web Marketing from a former life. Terrific bloke. But that has absolutely nothing to do with my passion for their product. I didn't even realise he worked there until after I'd fallen in like with this thing.]