Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Jun 18, 2009 6:55am


Shaun Inman just launched Fever, a web-based feed reading tool that you buy and install on your own server.

A few interesting things:

  • Fever implements SnarkMarket's "compress into diamonds" idea: When I click that button, spin your little algorithmic wheels and turn my reader into a personalized Memeorandum. Show me the most linked-to items in the bunch, and show me which of my feeds are linking to them.
  • I always wanted to turn Reblog into something like Fever, but never did.
  • It's written in PHP, which makes me happy. All this blibber-blabber about web-based MVC development frameworks, and PHP is still the works-everywhere-including-shared-hosting common denominator. It's truly the Bourne shell of the internet.
  • The installation procedure, esp. the way it ties in with the main Fever website, seems to be a way for Shaun to watch his user base, verify that installations are paid-for, and smooth the process all in one shot. Is it also a way to push updates, and is the chmod -r a+rwX step a possible point of exploitation? Too early to tell. Watch the video on the site, the installation bit is at the end.
  • It's being marketed and sold like shrinkwrap software but you need an account on the website to install and license it.
  • The division of feeds into must-read and might-read is pretty reflective of how most people think about their feeds in my experience.
  • Drag-and-drop on the web is stupid.
  • The grouping of entries based on linking is, to me, more of a way to mass-delete things that everyone's gabbing about rather than a pointer to what's actually interesting. When I imagined doing this kind of cross-item-similarity for Reblog, I imagined it as a way to quickly identify pockets of groupthink or P.R. clusters and rapidly/easily eliminate them. Just think, I could have handily avoided last week's internet-wide Google Wave boner!
  • I'd totally install and use Fever if I didn't use Reblog for publishing as well as consuming - all of my snippets and most of my Delicious links are tagged and published directly from my feed reader. It'd be cool if Fever could do this, maybe as a plug-in.

Comments (5)

  1. Mike Seems like fever could be a very good rss reader. We also have an rss reader that we will be open sourcing. The adelph.us reader allows for re publishing and shareing feeds.

    Posted by william on Thursday, June 18 2009 7:39am UTC

  2. "The grouping of entries based on linking is, to me, more of a way to mass-delete things that everyone's gabbing about rather than a pointer to what's actually interesting. ... Just think, I could have handily avoided last week's internet-wide Google Wave boner!" yes yes yes. i read a large number of feeds to find the interesting items that no-one is talking about. that said, if Fever can help streamline the redundant stuff, it's still useful.

    Posted by harold on Thursday, June 18 2009 6:18pm UTC

  3. I was intrigued enough by Fever (after reading Gruber's entry) to purchase a license. My impression thus far is that it is a remarkable feed reader, one that resembles an expert system or smart search more than a feed reader. Your comments that "The division of feeds into must-read and might-read" and "The grouping of entries based on linking is, to me, more of a way to mass-delete things that everyone's gabbing about rather than a pointer to what's actually interesting" are unrelated to how Fever works. Here's my quick analysis. Fever's "Kindling" section can be considered to be a list of "authoritative" sources. "Sparks" are citations of the authorities. The more citations for any link suggested by an authority, the higher (hotter) Fever's ranking. If you supply feeds that traffic in frequently-overlooked stories/links as Kindling and then find bloggers/writers who are likely to cite those frequently-overlooked stories, the Hot items in your Fever install will consist of frequently-overlooked stories just as they're picking up interest among those edgy purveyors of hypertext fare. This is key because one (you) probably don't want completely obscure and unremarkable links; one wants links that are quirky but that will have network value once they find their niche. Fever can help; you only need to supply it with the right Sparks and Kindling (cites and authorities).

    Posted by mistersquid on Friday, June 19 2009 2:38pm UTC

  4. mistersquid - when we were working on an early draft of Digg's recommendation system, the need to find possibly overlooked stories that were still trending upwards was a huge challenge. Even as Fever helps bring these stories up out of the mass of single-link items in your feeds, they're still going to be dwarfed by the hot news of the day, whether it's Google Wave, an Apple announcement, or Facebook's latest hiccup. To me, that's chaff at the top that needs to be immediately deleted en masse to get to the next level down. I think the stories that you're talking about are more like the Iranian post-election demonstrations: underserved by mass media but enthusiastically taken up by a more distributed second tier.

    Posted by Michal Migurski on Friday, June 19 2009 4:26pm UTC

  5. Michal - I understand your reservations and I'm not sure how Fever would work with you, but I do suggest you give it a whirl. I believe (perhaps mistakenly) that the issue with "dwarfing" may not be a problem because Fever shows a single link only once in its own section/div. As an item is more highly ranked, the cites (Spark) list contained in the section/div grows. Each link gets its own separate div so not-so-heavily cited items would just be lower in the Hot list. Johnnie aka mistersquid

    Posted by mistersquid on Friday, June 19 2009 4:53pm UTC

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