In recent weeks, on my Business and Blogging site on the b5media business channel, I’ve been looking at some favorite feed readers – not all my favorites, some mine, some favorites of others.
In the course of the evaluation, one thing struck me forcibly: I had too many feeds to cope with in any given day.
No doubt RSS Overwhelm is not an uncommon experience for bloggers and other keen readers of blogs.
So having sifted so many favorite sites from the great mass of blogs, podcast networks and other sites, how do you sift what you have sifted? How do you get your reading back into something resembling order and sanity?
I came across aideRSS courtesy of a couple of new widgets and a blog post Reduce the flood of your RSS feeds with aideRSS at the A View from the Isle site of my friend and blogging colleague Tris Hussey. Tris is your man to be up with the latest: I take notice when he waxes lyrical about a new tool for enhancing the blogging process – and hopefully the blog reader’s experience.
aideRSS launches officially today, Tuesday July 24. I was privileged to be given an early look, so I’ve spent a bit of time getting my head around what the tool does and then installing it.
The short explanation of what aideRSS does is:
AideRSS is an intelligent assistant, which continuously monitors RSS feeds, finds the good stuff, creates a PostRank™, and delivers it to you. We do the grunt work of collecting information on every post, allowing you to focus on your agenda and stay on top of the news stream.
PostRank™ is explained here.
What I’ve figured out is that, as well as helping you filter your RSS feeds and highlighting the most popular ones according to various measures, aideRSS also analyzes the posts on a specific blog, including your own. That’s how I get the widget in the sidebar with “My Top Stories”. The other widget, which I’ve headed “Top Feed Stories” has the filtered results from a random selection I’ve taken from that multitude of feeds I mentioned above.
I’ve spent more time today on this than I anticipated, first because in a bit of clumsiness I succeeded in monstering the code for the sidebar, which I then had to re-construct laboriously, second because the widget for the Top Feed Stories is not quite configured to work in a regular blog sidebar. I’ve put it right down the first sidebar so that it won’t cover up other items, but that is only a short term solution. I can narrow the widget display, but that makes the titles and text of the highlighted posts harder to read.
Another minor irritation is that within the display of the widget it says “My Top Stories” but I want it to refer, if some text is really needed, to the fact that these stories are no “my” stories but stories from my feeds, as in the header to this section, “Top Feed Stories”.
Teething problems is all, and from the terrifically helpful responses I’ve had on the eve of the product’s launch from Kevin Thomason, marvellously titled Chaos Coordinator, and Ilya Grigorik, Chief Architect, I know the people behind this program are very keen to solve problems fast.
I’ve been doing the feedback thing. Who knows, even though I’m an eleventh hour tester, I might qualify for a schwag T-shirt!