Pay for a feed reader?
But you have Google Reader, why would you need anything else?
The problem with RSS feeds is that they are like tattoo collecting: Â easy to get but eventually one runs out of room. I love reading broad and ranging topic from all corners on the Internet, tech news, design blogs, high literature, long-form stories, random photoblogs and odd tumblogs. I was originally skeptical of RSS, but once I bought in, I at the whole hog. I tried to pull a Scoble. I read thousands of blog posts a day, I was a info-junkie.
Eventually I learned that it was not sustainable. I could be a normal human being or I could be consumed by my feeds. I have gone back and forth between reading too many feeds and too few, feeling like I was missing something.
For the past 3 months, I had managed reading only 15 feeds regularly, with 5 or so, irregulars that I visited via bookmarks. I was happy with that amount, it was manageable without being disappointingly meager.
I shy away from sites like Digg because the wisdom of the crowds quickly turns into the stupidity of the masses, linkbaiting and meme chasing, all of which are the temporary high or intermittent reinforcement that the addictive Internet can breed.
When I saw feedafever.com show up in my feed reader multiple times and the concept intrigued me, I broke out the credit card. A personal Digg, a recommendation engine for the self, with a built in feed reader. Sign me up.
Fever is an interesting piece of software, it requires a server with PHP and MySQL, taking it out of the realm of the desktop and creating a personal webapp like WordPress TK. This captures the appeal of similar products like Google Reader, making it available everywhere. Fever also includes a slick chrome-less iPhone “app”, so my feeds are always in my pocket.
The magic of Fever is the recommendation engine. Feeds are broken into two broad categories: Kindling (Must reads) and Sparks (Occasional, infrequent reads). Using some magic and some link comparison, Fever ranks what is “hot” on the Internet basing popularity on the normal body temperature of 98.5. The more popular an entry or term, the hotter the temperature is. Fever ranked as 117.8Â° on the day of release.
Fever does two things for me, allows me to read what I want and find out what topics are hot in the Internet. The recommendation engine also shows which blogs are part of the echo chamber. In the first few hours, it became very apparent that some sites are either incredibly self-referential or contain a lot of cross posting (I’m looking at you Boing Boing). Fever let me unsubscribe from quite a few blogs, because I know I am catching the hot stories from them.
The odd thing is, Fever works better the more feeds that are thrown at it, so I am subscribed to a lot more feeds. An interesting part of the excellent execution of the feed reader is that new feeds can be automatically added as a “Spark” providing it as grist for the recommendation mill. If I find a blog continues to show up in the “Hot”, I can infer that I might want to add it to the “Kindling”.
So far, Fever has been a success and a $30 (plus hosting) I find it to be quite a steal for such an interesting service.