Lex Friedman blogs here.

Lex is the EVP of Sales and Development for Midroll, the world's best podcast advertising network.

He was previously Macworld's senior writer, and continues to contribute to the publication. He is the cohost of the Not Playing podcast, a cohost of the Turning This Car Around podcast, a cohost of the The Rebound podcast, and the sole host of the Your Daily Lex podcast.

Lex's first book, The Snuggie Sutra, is exactly what it sounds like. His most recent book is a Dr. Seuss parody for adults; it's called The Kid in the Crib.

You should follow him on both Twitter and App.net.

Lex would be delighted to speak at your awesome event.

Reeder for iPad and Robert Zimmerman, harmonica enthusiast

If the guitar had never been invented, would Eric Clapton still have become a legend in some other artistic pursuit? Would The Beatles have rocked with an upright bass and, say, a lead accordion? 

Or, would those artists have ended up like this bizarro-world’s Robert Zimmerman, amateur poet and harmonica enthusiast? Sometimes, it takes the invention of a tool (the guitar) or medium (television) for artists to discover how they can best exploit their talents.

Without the iPad, we would never have seen Silvio Rizzi’s Reeder for iPad. Reeder isn’t merely the best RSS client for the iPad that I’ve seen — though it is that, and by a mile. But like Twitter (née Tweetie) for the iPhone, which is the best Twitter app on any platform, Reeder is hands down the best RSS client available on any device. And to think, without the iPad, we wouldn’t have seen Silvio’s artistry in creating such an elegant, intuitive, and powerful RSS reader.

And make no mistake: Software design is art, and if you don’t think so, then quite frankly you’re doing it wrong. Silvio’s Reeder for iPad is a thing of beauty, an RSS reader the exudes qualities like elegance, grace, and tremendous respect both for the content it represents and the reader to whom it caters. It, more than even the iPad itself, is magical.

Some background: I fell in love with RSS, like so many Mac users did, thanks to Brent Simmons’s NetNewsWire. The desktop app very simply defined what RSS was all about, and I continue to use the software to this day.

Whenever feasible, though, I now prefer reading through my feeds with Reeder instead. Touching my feeds, like Steve Jobs said about surfing the web with your fingertips, does certainly feel “right.” It’s closer to the visceral reaction one gets from holding a book than from reading off a monitor. I tap on the article that captures my interest, and instantly I’m reading it.

Now, to be fair, that’s how essentially every iPad reading app works. What makes Reeder deserving of my lavish praise?

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that it’s hard to put into words. But I’ll try. The sepia-toned app is very visually pleasing, while being devoid of extraneous visual flourishes. It’s simple, sepia, and understated — which serves the content it showcases quite well.

Tap to see an article. Slide content in and out. Explore with your fingers. Reeder wants you to touch the content you consume, and though you may need to discover some of its remarkable UI concepts, the app is clearly on your side, working to help you uncover its interface.

Unfortunately, Reeder’s been ensnared in that 5% of apps that don’t get approved within their first seven days. So you’ll need to wait a bit more to try it out for yourself. But once it’s there — do so.

Without the iPad, we’d miss out on a lot of great apps. And that would be a shame. But no app that I’ve used on the iPad is as beautifully, poetically artistic as Reeder. I’m simply delighted that Apple gave Silvio his guitar.

Posted on June 8th, 2010