This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

AideRSS as reading option

Several people in my reading list have mentioned AideRSS in the past few days (Tris Hussey, Des Walsh).  The service just launched on Tuesday, so I thought I'd have a look.

First Impression

AideRSS is advertised as a mechanism to filter feeds and then re-sort the articles by those that have high "PostRank."  The ranking mechanism obviously looks at things like comments and Digg and other rating services.  What I don't know is whether the ranking mechanism looks at the other blogs in my feed to rank relative to the things that seem to be interesting to me.  I don't see a mechanism that lets me feedback into the system so that I can, for example, tell AideRSS that I am not interested in posts about the iPhone.  Or that "Links from" posts really shouldn't receive a high ranking.

While the service is online, I can pick up a feed that consolidates the top stories from all my feeds and dump that into my feed reader.  Tris has been using this longer and gets the sense that it works fairly well to give the cream of the crop.  This is cool, but it is also a little confusing.  Does this mean if I want to read the lower-ranked articles, I have to go into my normal reading mode and get duplicates of the ones that were popular?

They also provide a number of widgets that let you display selected PostRanked articles on your website.  So, you can do "top articles from this blog" or "top articles I read," where "top" is defined by AideRSS's mechanism.

Second Impression

AideRSS are getting a lot of buzz.  A few places on the site tell me that they are very busy.

Aiderss feeds in my readerA few days later, I came back to the site and subscribed to my "top posts" feed.  This screen grab shows the list of articles in my aggregator.  The only change is that AideRSS add the PostRank to the title.  Everything else is the same, including direct links to the blog article, pictures, etc. 

It looks like my concern about "my" popular content may have been too early.  The articles seem to be filtered better to my interests today.  More specifically, I am not seeing articles that are "popular" but not terribly interesting for me.

AideRSS isn't really setup to be a feed reader / aggregator.  The website doesn't allow for things like mark-as-read or other full bore mechanisms one sees in other readers.  (I don't think that's why they set this up.)  I can't even find a way to see articles that aren't my "top" articles.

Screenshot from AideRSS top feedsHere's a shot of "my top feeds" to show the "aggregator" capability and the information AideRSS provides.  Clicking on a single item simply opens a new window at the website in question.  Clicking the "more" gives an excerpt with some more detail on the conversations and bookmarks related to that post.  I don't quite get why my highest PostRanked stories aren't showing up on the first page.  It seems to be showing them by date first, not by rank, which is what I'd want.  Even when I switch the sort order to PostRank, it only ranks the one page - it doesn't show me THE highest-ranked articles of all the pages of articles.

What would be cool: give me a feed of my top articles; my mid-ranked articles, and my bottom-ranked articles all based on the list of feeds I've given AideRSS.  Then I'd just have three feeds to subscribe and I could read those feeds that contain everything, rather than my hundreds of feeds. 

Or maybe figure out how to integrate with feed readers and provide an additional column (the PostRank) by which to sort articles.  This would require changes on the aggregator end, as most are not flexible enough to allow display of additional data that might be in the syndication feed.  Hrmm, I bet the aggregators that work with Outlook could be made to do this (Attensa and NewsGator).

BlogHer reaction for Friday

MindManager 7 after some playing