August 19, 2002
The quest for the ideal news aggregator (part 2) - Review: Fyuze.com

In response to fyuze.com creator Justin's comment to my posting looking for an ideal news aggregator, I decided to give it a spin.

As the FAQ/beginner's instructions correctly inform new users; fyuze has a slightly cumbersome but very powerful interface for setting up your "portal page".

Good things:

  • Skins! Great idea. I chose the "simple" skin and it was pretty clean
  • aggregated category feeds - great idea again - getting the 10 top headlines from the "Technology"-category, for example... Unfortunately the number and selection of feeds currently listed isn't the best. I'm sure this will have a future potential though!

Not so good things:

  • Comments: What's the deal with creating a fuyze-spesific comment-system where only other fyuze users will see them? No no no... This stuff was what we wanted to avoid by letting people comment on our own sites! All comments on an article in one place - as close to the source as possible! (Possible cool new feature: if fuyze could read the comments out of people's blogs, or at least display a count / provide a link?)
  • there is a "rate-me" (no idea what this is - nothing about it in the help section..) and a blogger.com compatible "blog about this" link for each line of news. Too messy. If I could turn it off, I would. Couldn't find an option for this at the moment.
  • a bit slow (maybe because I'm online via a modem from my laptop?)

Conclusion:

  1. big potential for some of those ideas - Justin seems to be a determined developer.
  2. I'm still looking for an ideal news aggregator...
  3. additional requirement/clarification to my list: ability to read news offline

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an email i sent to anders:

quick note:
you can turn off the rating and "blog this" items by clicking "configure"
(under each content source) and scrolling down to the "toolbar" section.
from there you can disable both of them by not showing the toolbar, or each
of them independently (if toolbar is enabled).

other thoughts:
the comments were done sort of as a "i'll do it because i can" feature. i
think in order for them to be useful, the user base would have to be huge. i
also thought it might be nice for commenting on sites that don't have
comment features (wired news for example). i do agree with you that
dispalying the number of comments on the actual site would be much more
useful. currently there is no way to do this, but with RSS constantly under
development, I imagine it might be possible in the near future.

i've also thought about implementing it trackback-style ala movable type so
that the "comments" would represent the summation of comments from many
different sites. that is, you right about an article on your blog and ping
fyuze. fyuze then adds your comments to list and the comment page for that
item contains the snippet of your post and link to your blog.

now that i've written that out, it sounds really good. i'm going to have to
look into that soon. very soon.

the rating system is also only ever going to work when/if the userbase gets
huge. i've never collected enough data to be able to put it to any good use.
the plans are/were to use it to recommend items a user might be interested
in ala amazon.com. just a bunch of number crunching.

i was also wondering if you might elaborate on what your offline browsing
requirments/wishes would be. are you looking for one large page you can
download that has everything on it? a small directory structure with pages
and text from the article pointed to (something like avantgo)? somethign PDA
based or laptop based or both?

thanks for the feedback!

Posted by: justin on August 19, 2002 02:01 AM

implementing TrackBack turned out to be much easier than i had anticipated. as such, you can now ping any article on fyuze through via Trackback, and the excerpt is added as a comment with a pointer to the blog post. just look for the little "trackback" icon next to the comments link to get the URL to ping.

Posted by: justin on August 19, 2002 04:10 AM

After following Justin's instructions and guidance I figured more out and indeed fyuze is a very very powerful tool. Maybe over the top? There are so many options that you really need to invest time and effort in getting it all straight and the way you want it... and in the end you need to be online to use it. (I realize that this is not necessarily a limitation for many, but it is for me). Probably fyuze.com can be useful for a lot of other people...

More tips for future development: check out how you can move elements around on the site http://www.portalen.no (click & drag the little four-hand arrow-drawings on top of each module) Cool, eh? ;-)

I'm still open for more feedback as to which aggregator tools I should test (and I'll post more reviews if I find something interesting :-)

Posted by: andersja on August 19, 2002 10:44 PM

I do remember using Fyuze, it was kinda nostalgic, when I saw this thread again.

Posted by: Joelt Mendoza on November 9, 2005 09:33 PM
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