January 26th, 2006



Every RSS reader sucks. Period. I'm working on a new one- and it's going to be something like this:

Problem Statement: Every RSS reader sucks. There is no organization, keyword based filters that only do simple searches with no ranking or rating scheme to prioritize with, and every single client side aggregator uses an interface that is only on the level of a mail reader. Web based ones invariably have cluttered pages, poor organization. There is no visual prioritization.

Specification: A new RSS reader needs to solve these. In terms of organization and visual prioritization, one needs to look towards news papers. A well designed newspaper gives important articles a central spot and more real estate. An RSS aggregator, for news, should do the same thing. In order to decide what articles are important we need:
  • Click tracking. When a user reads an article, we should increase the priority of articles from that site and similar articles.
  • Similarity can be judged via Technorati tags.
  • Collaborative ranking- Technorati links, Google PageRank, etc. gives us an idea of the popularity of an article- which doesn't mean it's good, but there's a reasonable probability. Coupled with these other editing tools, we're not going to be slaves to the popular
  • User tag prioritization. A user can assign a value to tags- articles tagged with those bits get higher priorities.
  • To maximize filtering, there is no intention of using this aggregator to display every article from every subscribed feed.
  • Carefully structured "FeedPaks", pre-built OPML files bundled with the application or downloadable from a server provide a set of related feeds. Instead of hunting for feeds, the Bigguns can be bundled into one lump.
  • Related articles are collapsed under a major headline, a la Memorandum and GoogleNews.
  • User intervention should be at a minimum. The average user does not want to spend time editing for themselves. FeedPaks should contain rankings for tags and serve as a one-stop solution for getting the top feeds on a given topic.
  • Even so, user overrides should be available. A user should be able to subscribe to any feed, without a FeedPak, and incorporate it into their organization.
  • It should integrate with major browsers, so that subscription can be a one click process.
  • It should integrate with major media player technology so that podcasts and vlogcasts can be embedded right into the display interface as if they were text articles, and played without further user intervention. This means supporting RSS enclosures.
run the fuck away

demoncaller: Free at Last

In case she doesn't get ahold of Internets in the near future, demoncaller and her asshat husband are no more. She's free at last, and escaping the South for the frigid civilization of the North. Cold, but civilized. It's not a moment too soon either- on the phone with me, she slipped into a bit of a Southern accent.

So, I for one, congratulate her on her newfound freedom, and look forward to having her in town. But we may need to set up a "Get her to Albany" fund. We'll see.