MeFi on iPhone via RSS through Google Reader

MeFi on iPhone via RSS through Google Reader
January 5, 2009 1:56 PM

What's the best way to browse MeFi on an iPhone, usually via RSS?

I'm not sure if this goes here or on Ask. Anyhoo, the full site renders great in Safari on an iPhone, but I usually use the RSS feed, and my reader of choice is Google Reader. That has a great iPhone experience, but when i follow links from the RSS feed, i'm in the mobile version of the site which is close to illegible. The comments are all smashed up and it's really hard to follow a thread.
posted by butterstick (22 comments total)

I completely agree. Google sends you to their mobile version of MeFi which is terrible. We don't have control over that, and there's no Google Reader setting that I know of to get around that.

When you click through to a thread, you can scroll to the very bottom of Google's mobile version and click "read in HTML" (or something similar) and you'll go to the real version of the thread on the MeFi server. But that's tedious for long threads. Mobile Safari is a real web browser, I have no idea why Google insists on serving up terrible altered HTML for it.
by pb at 1:59 PM on Jan 5

I take it back. You can turn off Google's mobile proxy now. Here's how:

1.) Open up Google Reader on your iPhone.
2.) Scroll to the bottom of the page, tap the "Settings" link.
3.) Uncheck "Reformat linked web pages for mobile browsers".

And with that, Mobile Google Reader is useful again.
by pb at 2:15 PM on Jan 5

I was just going to say I've never had this problem. I guess I already had that "feature" turned off.

I will say, though, I'm starting to get increasingly annoyed at sites (not YOU, MeFi) that automagically direct me to their crippled mobile versions when my iPhone is more than capable of handling their full site.
by evilcolonel at 2:34 PM on Jan 5

It would be nice to have a version of the RSS feeds that link to the version of threads instead of the version, it's so much nicer.
by blue_beetle at 2:41 PM on Jan 5

Except I wouldn't want to have two feeds, one for the phone and one for the desktop, that get out of sync with each other.

Actually I think it would be nice if the site did--optionally only, of course--exactly what evilcolonel is complaining about.
by dixie flatline at 3:39 PM on Jan 5

Yes, evilcolonel, those sites are just awful crap. I end up not reading them. Some of them (salon, etc) redirect to a useless homepage instead of the content I actually wanted to read.
by Pants! at 4:26 PM on Jan 5

Pantsless with a glass of port and a bit of cheddar and crackers.
by Brandon Blatcher at 4:27 PM on Jan 5

Wow, the mobile version is pretty cool. It's nearly cool enough to use instead of the regular version (on my "non-mobile" laptop). Here's a link to this page, for reference.

I just noticed a couple of things though, there's no way (that I saw) to navigate away from that page (besides the back button). And the title is cut off, even though it doesn't show very much ("MeFi on iPhone via RSS th").
by philomathoholic at 5:50 PM on Jan 5

I would like to be able to post from mobile.mefi

I'd also like to be able to get to recent activity.

I'd also like a pony.
by empath at 6:07 PM on Jan 5

I will say, though, I'm starting to get increasingly annoyed at sites (not YOU, MeFi) that automagically direct me to their crippled mobile versions when my iPhone is more than capable of handling their full site.

I'm looking at you, talkingpointsmemo
by empath at 6:08 PM on Jan 5

I prefer regular mefi to either mobile version, but Google's mobile version of Twitter is nice because it doesn't pop up new windows.
by Pronoiac at 6:38 PM on Jan 5

Sorry empath, but we're not planning any changes to We threw that mobile site together to gauge the difference between having an iPhone-specific version and simply reading the standard web version. The verdict was that the standard web version is fine on an iPhone and we already have all of the features working there.
by pb at 7:48 PM on Jan 5

For some reason I've found it's mostly the media companies--who REALLY should know better--doing the hateful enforced-mobile-redirect thing. As Pants! said, it would be one thing if the sites redirected you to the mobile version of the article you wanted to see, but usually they just dump you on the mobile "portal" someone created for flip phones three years ago.
by Ian A.T. at 10:07 PM on Jan 5

My favorite way to view mefi is to login through the main site, then go to your prefs, then select the plain text theme.

With your iphone in landscape (sideways) mode, all of mefi is pretty easy to read and is devoid of cruft.

On your desktop machine, remember to go to prefs and select back to the original blue if that's what you normally use -- the iphone will keep the plain text cookie as long as it retains cookies (forever/when you format the phone).
by mathowie at 12:07 AM on Jan 6

I would really really love it if we could get a custom iPhone theme or something...i.e. just a line of code to force the screen width to be small. I only did iPhone web development for a day or so but isn't there a css string that will set the zoom level automatically or something?

I find holding the iPhone landscape for long periods of time hurts my hand and the text is still pretty small. One day I accidentally got this (by browsing to another site and then coming back, not sure how) and I wish it could be like this.

iPhone sample text accidental webshot thingy.
by Brainy at 12:44 AM on Jan 6

Can y'all put a link at the top of every metafilter page that is an anchor to the bottom of the page just for iphone visitors? Scrolling to the bottom of threads is a huge bummer on an iphone.
by popechunk at 6:18 AM on Jan 6

popechunk, and when you're in a long thread and you accidentally hit the menu bar and it scrolls to the top....ugh. But what can you do about that?
by Brainy at 8:48 AM on Jan 6

Brainy - Click on a timestamp every now & then. If you scroll to the top, just click back..

Doing this before you click on a link is also good, so you don't lose your place when you return.
by Pronoiac at 10:02 AM on Jan 6

I'm not sure that the timestamp trick always works for me on the iPhone.
by popechunk at 8:28 PM on Jan 6

When I view MeFi on my iPod Touch, there is no "post comment" button below the comment box, only "preview" (though the post button appears upon preview). Is this a bug or is it by design?
by camcgee at 10:13 PM on Jan 6

It's by design. We want to force a preview of the comment one way or another—either Live Preview or HTML Preview. We found that Live Preview causes a terrible delay when you type on the iPhone, so we disabled it. That means the only type of preview that's available is the full HTML preview, and we wanted people to look at that before posting. I know it's a drag to reload the whole thread on an iPhone, especially long threads.
by pb at 11:25 AM on Jan 7

Oh - if going back to a timestamp doesn't work, go to the title bar & hit enter without editing. That might work if it misremembers your spot on the page - e.g. if you scroll or reorient while the page loads, or it just misremembers where you were.
by Pronoiac at 1:17 PM on Jan 7