I recently broke the graphics drivers on my Windows Vista installation, so re-partitioned and now run Ubuntu full-time at home.
On Windows I use FeedDemon as my full-time aggregator. It has a degree of speed and polish unmatched by any other web or desktop aggregator.
This means that all my feeds are automatically synced with newsgator.com – a web-based aggregator which is not fast and not particularly polished. Although it might be polished, I don’t know, it’s so slow that I tend to just give up (sync with Google Reader is coming).
FeedDemon has significantly raised the bar for any aggregator I use. Web-based tools no longer cut it, in particular when I have hundreds of feeds and, at times, thousands of unread items.
On Ubuntu the options for a native aggregator are Straw or Liferea. Both are currently undergoing rewrites. Liferea seems like the better option for me, and it has a plugin system which is appealing, but there’s no sync with any online tools.
NewsGator have an HTTP-basd API (PDF reference and sample code which requires a minor tweak to run) which is quite straightforward. It gives back data which can be consumed by the Universal Feed Parser. Venus uses the Universal Feed Parser in planet/spider.py after fetching data to create the cache which powers it.
This time last year I wrote a very very basic wxWidgets tool for browsing the Venus cache. A modification to planet/spider.py to use the NewsGator API would seem like an easy way forward, whilst gaining all the power of the Venus filters, plugins and existing XSLTs.
I might just have to try that.
Following up on my Personal Aggregator (lifestream) dissing of the other day, here’s what I’d prefer to see (I should note that none of these ideas are original, and for most of my audience probably hark back to 2001):
Humans are interested in conversation. Conversation is what drives us. The things I want to see in a stream are places where I’ve previously entered into a conversation, either by starting a new conversation or by replying to someone else, and there have been responses which I’ve not yet read.
Some examples of this: comments on my blog posts, comments on blog posts which I’ve also commented on, comments on my Flickr photos, comments on Flickr photos which I’ve also commented on, emails, web pages marked as “for:pip” in del.icio.us, personal twitter messages (both direct messages and @pip), and so on.
After those items, I’m next interested in the conversations going on around me. That is to say, things that people I know are doing . This is where personal lifestreams can play a part – I’d want a feed from each person’s stream which I can then merge and create an contacts’ lifestream from. These activities also contain an inherent interest value. For example, blog posts and Flickr photos are almost always more interesting than twitter udpates which don’t really contain much value for me.
So let’s just review some of this, and see what we can do:
My Immediate Planet:
- comments on my blog posts: gmail-created feed available
- other blog comment replies: cocomment feed available
- twitter @pip: no direct feed, can filter normal twitter feed
- twitter inbox: no feed
- flickr comments: feed available
- flickr comment replies: feed available
- for:pip in del.icio.us: feed available
- blogs: feed available
- flickr contacts’ photos: feed available
- del.icio.us network: feed available
- twitter: feed available
- tumblr: feed available
- last.fm: feed available
All of this is, of course, separate and additional to attention-data maintained resources.