Inert Detritus The Internet's dust bunnies

27 July 2009 @ 12pm

A few words about Fever

Shaun Inman’s Fever has been out for a little over a month, and I’ve been using it full-time since its release.

I love it. By its very nature, a web-hosted app means never having to say, “I’m syncing”. When I close my laptop at home, walk to the shuttle, and open Fever on my iPhone, it’s up to date instantly, with no read status sync problems to worry about. This is nothing against NetNewsWire: syncing is hard, and I never got a two machine setup to consistently work for me.

I use Fever’s aggregation feature1 only when I’m a few days behind and want a quick summary of what’s being written or linked to.

The aggregation filter works best with a lot of feeds: give it a wide base of feeds to start looking for signal, and it’ll have no problem pulling together a good list of that day or week’s most heavily linked items. I’m not sure how well it would work for someone with a less insane number of feeds, but that can be countered by adding more feeds to Sparks to help things along. I’m subscribed to about 300 feeds, and have another 20 in Sparks, to attach some numbers to what I’m talking about.

I do miss some features of real desktop applications: a local cache of article text would be nice. NetNewsWire stored article text and links locally, but Fever, being a pure web app, doesn’t do this. It’s hard to use the site on the shuttle (a high latency, low bandwidth connection), and it’s obviously impossible to read completely offline.2

The iPhone-compatible version of the site is well-designed and easy to use, and is lightweight enough to use on EDGE. Going to a site to read an article and getting back to the reader is dumb easy: you’re already in Safari, so there’s no app switching to mess with.

A lot of people are reluctant to try Fever, either because they don’t have hosting set up, or there’s no way to try it for a week or two before buying. I already had hosting and a couple of domains with Dreamhost, so setting up the application was easy. If you don’t have hosting, I don’t know if it’s worth noodling with a locally hosted setup: it’s probably possible, but I can’t imagine it’s easy to configure all the pieces you need present: PHP, Apache, and MySQL, at the very least.

Long story short, I love the lack of cross-machine sync, and I miss completely offline reading. If you’re a happy NetNewsWire user that uses more than one client in a week, you should check it out. If you’re a single machine user, and don’t have domain hosting already configured, I don’t see much of a reason to try it.

  1. “Here, let me aggregate that for you” []
  2. A single suggestion for future features: I want a Gears/HTML 5‑compatible version, where it pre-downloads article text and links. I’d be ok not supporting a fully-offline mode, since this puts things back into a, “how do I sync read status?” situation like most desktop apps, but if you pull text and links from local storage, and only transmit read status changes over the wire, the site will work well even in the most bandwidth-constrained situations. []

1 Comment

Posted by
6 February 2010 @ 8pm


Bought Fever a week ago and I must say that I like it a lot (though I’m not using it to its full potentiel)

Could you share the feeds you’re subscribed to ? Thanks !