Here's a new service I can't wait to use--in part for its good looks, and also for its attempt at combining several different news and social services together in a user-friendly manner. It's called Streamy, and the easiest way to describe it is a mashup of Google Reader, Meebo, Del.icio.us and Twitter. The emphasis however, is on Web content, and how to make it both easy to read and share with others.
This morning AOL launched myAOL, a group of three services wrapped up into one customizable page. MyAOL is made up of three services: myPage, a customizable start page akin to Pageflakes or Netvibes; Mgnet--an audiovisual mashup of news; and Favorites--which for all intents and purposes is a Web-based RSS reader. All three offer various ways of browsing, reading, and discovering news and Web content.
Since most users are already familiar with the concepts of myPage and Favorites, the real surprise here is Mgnet. This is one of the cooler things I've seen lately, and somewhat similar to Google's recently released Google News image browser. Users can pick out topics they like or are interested in, and Mgnet will pull up a small array of images linked up with story headlines. Clicking one brings up the story description in a separate pane, and users are able to vote it up or down (a la Reddit) as well as see related news stories (which are powered by Sphere).
In addition to providing stories it thinks you'll be interested in, Mgnet also keeps track of "what's hot," a small list of the most-clicked and voted-on stories. I found this more interesting than the actual AOL front page, since it's a little more visually stimulating. The one missing piece in this system is a way to see how user voting is affecting each story, something AOL will likely add later down the line.
Favorites is also impressive. As an RSS reader it's well-equipped. There's a fairly extensive listing of prepicked feeds from a variety of Web sites. There's also the option to add your own feeds, either with a straight RSS address, or by searching by URL. To keep track of your various feeds, you can set up folders, a little bit like Google Reader. You can also go in and reorder feeds with simple dragging and dropping. The one missing piece is a trashcan to delete feeds you don't want anymore, which instead is handled in a separate feeds manager.
AOL's got a pretty solid lineup of Web apps in one spot with myAOL. What it lacks in true originality, it makes up for in execution, as all three services are simple to use and feature-rich.
See more screens below.… Read more
The service claims to pull its headlines from over 1,300 different sports feeds. It also doubles as a regular old build-it-yourself feed aggregator similar to Netvibes and PageFlakes, albeit a little less flashy. Users can add RSS feeds as either text or video feeds. The video feed catcher is especially cool and gives you a little thumbnail for each clip. If you do this with a text feed, you won't get anything but a black box.
SportSnipe has a few ways to sort and share content. You can bookmark pages you'd like to share with others through a variety of social bookmarking sites. You can also turn off comments and hover over previews. With a quick toggle you can rearrange the feed boxes and extend the feeds to see more than just a few headlines. There are also embed codes for putting your feeds on a blog, Web site, or social networking profile (which I've done to the right.)
In many ways, SportSnipe isn't very original as a single-page aggregator. Pageflakes and Netvibes do a much better job with their presentation, and the resemblance to Popurls and Original Signal is unquestionable. However, SportSnipe has a really great directory of sports feeds that aggregate quickly and are far more comprehensive than what Original Signal offers. The video feed implementation is a nice touch as well.
More screens after the jump. … Read more
The Digg implementation is a little underfeatured, as there's no way to actually Digg a story from your phone. You can still browse through popular stories on the front page, as well as user's profiles. The … Read more
It stands to reason some of the first people to own the iPhone will be those in the tech community or at least interested in Mac technology. For all the latest tech news, grab this app for your iPhone that combs all the most popular Mac sites for news stories and information. It offers a great list of headlines along with short summaries so you know what you're getting before you jump to the Web site.
iPhone link: http://www.mactech.com/commapplenewsforiphone.php
Web site link: http://www.mactech.com/
You and I may be RSS junkies, but plenty of Internet users are not. The masses still dig reading e-mail. And sending it: many small business owners are more comfortable blasting their customers with e-mail than they are updating a blog.
Feedblitz, an established blog-to-e-mail service provider, is rolling out new capabilities that serve both readers and authors who aren't comfortable with blogs and RSS feeds. Like Feedburner, Feedblitz can convert blogs to e-mail feeds. In fact, Feedburner offers Feedblitz-powered e-mails to its users. But Feedblitz on its own offers a lot more customization options, including a solution that … Read more
I heard about a German Web 2.0 blog today: Zweinull. Reading it in translation (thank you, BabelFish), it occurred to me that I should add this site's RSS feed to my blog reader (Netvibes). But how to get the site's feed in English?
BabelFish wouldn't do it. (It gave me an entertaining error message, though: "Insane value.") I was initially encouraged when I used Google Translate, which did in fact give me a version of the blog's XML page in English. But I couldn't subscribe to it. Then I found David Rothman's advice: Use Yahoo Pipes.
It worked. It's not as easy as using a one-step translation service, but it's worth the effort for reading blogs you think you might like that are not in your language. I'll walk through a demo of translating Webware into French. Here's what you do:
Step 1: Launch Yahoo Pipes Fire up Yahoo Pipes. You might have to log in to your Yahoo account first. Select "Create a pipe" from the top navigation.
Step 2: Get the Feed item In the left-hand nav on Pipes, under the Sources menu, the first item is Fetch Feed. Drag that onto your Pipes workspace. In the Fetch Feed box, paste in the URL of the blog's RSS feed.
Step 3: Get the Translate item In the left nav again, click the right arrow for the Operators section, then find the the BabelFish item and drag it into your workspace. Select your translation from the dropdown list.
These are rough times for the news business. The present is unsettling and the future appears grim. … Read more
I gave it a go this morning and came across a few … Read more
There's the temptation to start talking about the Democracy Player with a Lord of the Rings-esque, "One Player to Rule Them All" joke, but that wouldn't be very democratic, would it?
The latest version of the open-source Democracy Player contains some serious upgrades that make it worth a second look, if you haven't liked it in the past. The most important improvement is that the publisher, the Participatory Culture Foundation, seems to have worked through most of program's early stability issues. After tooling around with the player for hours on Windows Vista, it neither crushed my system's memory usage nor crashed. Memory usage and stability have been major issues for the plucky little player, and I suspect they will continue to be. But at least it wasn't gathering piles of RAM like a YouTube-obsessed squirrel fearing the approaching winter.… Read more