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 !