Daily Archives: October 21, 2003

Dave Winer on Radio's Aggregator and me on "Pirate!"

Dave talks about Scoble's use of NewsGator as an aggregator:

A picture named scoble.jpgJust had a phone talk with Scoble, and finally I have a clue why people use aggregators integrated with email clients. He had a couple of compelling reasons. 1. Since it's integrated with email he can easily forward an item to people he works with via email. 2. He has a folder where he drags items he wants to write about later. BTW he uses NewsGator. I still prefer the blog-style interface of Radio's aggregator. [Scripting News]

I like Radio's aggregator because I run Radio on a home server. This gives me the easy ability to read and post news from a consistent interface anywhere on the planet.

I dislike the aggregator in Radio in part due to it's use of tables and lack of customization. I've tried the myRadio but haven't found what I'm looking for yet.

Imagine a product for Radio users called “Pirate!”. It's a tool that loads at startup and modifies the calls in Radio.root to use “Pirate!” calls for things like the aggregator. First on the agenda: rewrite the HTML output for Radio's aggregator and set a preference for it. Pref #1–text only summaries, pref #2–classic or current style, pref #3–CSS based templates with allowance for headlines, grouping, etc.

Next, aggregator email to user based on criteria. Example: I want any post that comes in to my aggregator from Dave Winer to be emailed to me, but only once every two hours. I want a second summary email twice a day (8AM and 4PM) with news from selected sites out of the many I subscribe to. Finally, keyword searching like “directory” “google” “scripting” found in a feed generates an immediate email.</p.

“Pirate!” would also do theme generation, much like TypePad does. Take the user through a series of questions, generate the preview and have the user approve it. This would open the door for a little more web-based fun and imagery than we have now, and allow CSS-valid templates more flexibility.

In all, I want to propose that we need Radio Lite. Radio is a simple user tool, but the infrastructure is too complex. Rewrite and redevelop Radio like this:

  • DB backend like embedded mySQL (think NetNewsWire)
  • Standard UI instead of the web page. Two programs (Radio and web browser) doing one this is confusing to users. Beginners don't get the outliner. When they do, graduate to Radio
  • Leave the cloud metaphor in place. $40 gets Radio Lite and hosting on the cloud. $80 gets regular Radio and domain mapping.

These are ideas. Add your own. Brent Simmons is almost there with NetNewsWire. He's written an aggregator that posts news, but still requires the weblog software. Why not take it the next step further?