August 18, 2002
Still looking for that ideal news aggregator

After I wrote the article about providing XML feeds from your website, I thought maybe I should become one of those power users too...

I downloaded AmphetaDesk, set it up with a bundle of my favourite blogs & newsfeeds but quickly stopped using it; I want new headlines to be on top, no matter where they're from. Didn't find an option for that, so I moved on to Meerkat but was struck by the inability to add non-predefined feeds. Out the window with that one too...

So - now I'm on the look for a decent tool - does everyone out there use AmphetaDesk or Radio, or is there some obscure tool that's just not properly marketed (yet?). Let me know & write me a comment - I want to use a news aggregator too, but I want it to be

  • Ultra-configurable, for example by being able to:
    • sort by blog or by date (for each news-item, for each blog update or anything else
    • config whether I want to see excerpts or not (maybe just for the top 5 stories, for example)
  • lean layout
  • ... (all insert all kinds of obscure requirements on usability, mobility (I'm always on the run with my laptop -- maybe it should download and cache articles for me?) and more here...)

What other people say:
  • James recommends AmphetaDesk
  • John, the information junkie, has created a pretty cool aggregate-site here: http://john.bpa.nu/ (nice lean layout too - how about adding excerpts to the <a title> field for improved navigation?
  • There are cool PHP things available for example here
  • Mark's made cool Python stuff available here
Now, let's all summon the powers of the Internet and make all those cool bits come together! ;-)

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Comments

you might check out fyuze. it's an aggregator that i have been slowly developing over the past year or so. it doesn't meet all of your requirements, but it might be worth looking at. it has many configuration options and extras such as "synthetic" feeds which allow you to monitor topics/keywords and categories and not just specific sites. i try to incorporate and feature requests that users make (for example, just added an option to strip HTML out of descriptions when displayed), so if there's something you'd want from it, let me know.

Posted by: justin on August 19, 2002 12:02 AM

First impressions of fyuze:

1) signup should be possible with an email address containing a "+" (my preferred way ot tracking email is Qmail (see www.qmail.org)
2) layout is a bit funky for my taste, but the idea of skins souds good...
3) More feedback when I get an account ;-)

Posted by: Anders on August 19, 2002 12:17 AM

I wrote something about my experience finding a
good aggregator for Linux:
http://www.boblycat.org/musings/archives/2002/09/04/news_aggregator_for_linux.html

Posted by: Stig on September 4, 2002 10:24 PM

Hey, it's John here (the information junkie). Seeing as I couldn't find your email address anywhere on your site, I thought I'd just post a comment.

The link you've got to my aggregator (http://john.bpa.nu/), is no longer valid. That link now points to my personal site. That link should never have been valid, I have no idea how it ever pointed there.

http://headlines.bpa.nu will take you to the aggregator you first saw. Also you might be interested to know http://athena.bpa.nu is where I'll be doing development on the 'proper' version of my aggregator (ie. ability to add/remove feeds, user customisation of feeds, etc, etc). At the moment there's just a bunch of php scripts, and a functional spec, but hopefully I'll get back on track once holidays are here.

Posted by: j.ohn on November 1, 2002 04:10 PM

Hi there John, thanks for the note; the URL is duly noted. Cool aggregator btw :-) (I saw it in my referrer logs; that's how I found it the first
time...)

Keep up the good work!

Best regards,
andersja

Posted by: andersja on November 1, 2002 07:09 PM

One issue I found with many news aggregators I found was that I still had to go and read the top stories from *each* channel. So, I ended up writing my own that shows cumulative items from ALL feeds sorted chronologically. eg:http://vsbabu.org/mt/feeds/

It is a Python script that I run periodically - http://vsbabu.org/mt/archives/2002/09/22/news_aggregator_less_dirty.html

Some feeds (notably, Mark Pilgrim's) seem to have changed the link element's representation - that bug needs to be fix it. Anyway, it works for my viewing habits - check one page every hour or so and proceed to interesting stories.

Posted by: Babu on November 3, 2002 08:08 PM

You should check out the news plugin for Trillian Pro. A brilliant chat-client now with optional news-support :)

http://www.ceruleanstudios.com

Posted by: Cistern64 on November 18, 2002 04:14 PM

Trying this ... http://www.tidakada.com/cafeRSS/

Posted by: Achmad Bisri on March 1, 2003 05:37 PM

Trying this ... http://www.tidakada.com/cafeRSS/

Posted by: Achmad Bisri on March 1, 2003 05:37 PM

you may never find a better visual experience than Klipfolio - really worth checking out

Posted by: jimbo on November 22, 2004 11:38 AM
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