Have you ever used an RSS newsreader? Though you can surf to your favorite sites using your Web browser of choice, RSS readers bring all the news to you in a simple format that's conducive to getting more information quickly. The best RSS readers make it easy to add your favorite sites so you can quickly sift through headlines. When you find something of interest, you can often expand the story in an RSS reader or go directly to the site to read more. If you spend a lot of time on the Web, RSS readers are a great … Read more
RSS aggregator FeedDemon and e-mail client Postbox both have released recent updates to their not-quite-ready for prime-time programs.
FeedDemon 184.108.40.206 beta 5a continues to build out the feature set of the popular RSS and Atom feed manager. FeedDemon 3 is shaping up to be a must-grab improvement on the last stable release, version 2.7.
FeedDemon 3 is able to synchronize feeds not only with FeedDemon's own Web site, NewsGator, for online news reading, but it can also talk to Google Reader. I jumped away from Google Reader because at the time it was sluggish and … Read more
FriendFeed's new look, which was launched as an optional feature for brave beta testers, is now the default for all. The company flipped the switch on it this afternoon, and like previous redesigns there's no way to revert back to the old version. Going to beta.friendfeed.com simply brings users to the normal site.
Along with the new look, the company has updated its post-by-e-mail tools. Previously users had a special e-mail address they could send items to that went directly to their home feed. Users can still use that one, but there's now a central … Read more
There are a lot of ugly people on Facebook. One doesn't even need to look to know that this is a statistical certainty.
And sometimes it is hard for some people to trawl through all the difficult pictures (remember, these are the best versions of these folks) before they find a friend who might be termed attractive.
I have excellent news for these people. There is now a social-networking site for models. Yes, nary a blemish, nary a dirty tooth. And nary a short person, save for Danny DeVito.
Please allow me to explain.
BumpTop replaces your desktop with a visual environment unlike any you've used. It's a bit like a futuristic gesture-based interface, but it's tied to your mouse. Were it capable of simultaneous Web browsing, its utility would be much more apparent.
BumpTop makes the items on your computer's desktop more like their real-world counterparts. Icons and folders are assigned a virtual weight based on the amount of memory they take up and their importance to you. You can move them by click-and-drag, or fling them across the BumpTop space. The program determines their importance based on how … Read more
Among existing FriendFeed loyalists, it doesn't look like there's much dissent about the redesign, which is currently available as a beta test. An "anti-FriendFeed beta version" group hasn't gotten much traction. But on Twitter, which some people see as a FriendFeed complement and others as a competitor, opinions were much more mixed.
"I have (Twitter client) TweetDeck to filter and organize noise. Why then would I still need … Read more
FriendFeed is releasing a newly redesigned version of its service today (its second major one since launching), and the emphasis is all about viewing both freshly posted items and user discussions as they happen. The service has had a real-time view since October of last year, but this update goes deeper than that, adding it to nearly every facet of the site.
The new look can be accessed at beta.friendfeed.com.
If you've got real-time turned on, any item you're viewing with will refresh with new content as other users interact with it. This includes both likes … Read more
Skimmer (download) is a new social aggregator powered by Adobe AIR. It supports Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and Blogger, and lets you stay abreast of the latest content from each of those services. Everything gets sucked up into a single stream (a la FriendFeed), which you can then sort out by service, keyword, or group of friends. Like Twhirl, Alert Thingy, and others, the idea is to casually keep an eye on all these places while getting real work done in other applications.
In addition to pulling in content, you can also use it to post to any of the included services. It has a built-in YouTube and Flickr uploader where you can simply drag in files and edit the metadata before it's sent off. It also doubles as a personal blogging platform of sorts, letting you combine your various feeds into a single page that can be customized, then embedded on a hosted page or social networking profile.
You can customize the look and feel of this page using a built-in editor, which turns all your feeds into a really slick-looking personal blog with cascading streams of information (I've embedded an example after the page break).
While the app is beautifully designed, I found the main content feed difficult to parse, which is a shame because that's all I'd use an app like this for. The Flickr photo browsing is elegant, and fast loading, but the text portions for places like Twitter and Facebook come in at a very small size. They can be resized to be a tad larger (or absolutely enormous), but the application will scale the text up and down to fit in each update slot, which makes reading hit or miss.
Skimmer has some tough competition coming out of the gate. FriendFeed recently began delving into desktop applications with its AIR-powered notifier, and existing apps like Twhirl and Alert Thingy are getting more and more services all the time. Skimmer has a chance to stand out with its Web site builder, which does a really great job at repackaging your content to go elsewhere.… Read more
Streamy, the personalized home page meets social feed reader, is now open to everyone. We originally profiled the company back in mid-2007. Since then it's been rebuilt and is noticeably faster. It's also streamlined the blog reading experience, which is the core of the service.
While I originally compared Streamy to Digg for the way it filtered up news stories based on who was reading and recommending them, these days it's a lot closer to FriendFeed. There's more of an emphasis on reading the content without leaving the site, and interacting with other users who have … Read more
By now everyone should have the new Facebook, a redesign the company is touting as a leap forward from the previous version. In case you missed Rafe's hands-on with it last week, and our report from the press briefing the week before, the gist is that you can now filter the flow of information by groups of friends, and by application. The problem is that as a main feature, the application filtering isn't quite polished--and it shows.
Instead of putting all the information into one big stream and letting users pick how much of each type of news … Read more