Archive for October, 2009

Can a computer find interesting news for you?

Friday, October 16th, 2009

This article was inspired by a blog post over at Pingdom:

Beyond RSS – Four sites that can tell you what you want to read

I encourage you to try these sites out. They are all trying to create a more automatic news experience. I’ve tried Lazyfeed and the experience wasn’t bad. I found some interesting stuff that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

I’ve noticed this trend of sites trying to automatically find what I want and present it to me. But I guess I don’t completely trust an automatic process to find news for me. It seems whenever a computer process tries to do something that is better left up to a human, the results are lacking. I’ll have to admit that much progress has been made in many areas of automation but there is still much room for improvement.

ThyNews approaches the problem of finding interesting news a different way. This approach is to display all the news headlines on one page and let you scan the headlines for the news that interests you. It is an alternative where you can have a more active role in finding interesting articles. Really, ThyNews is a tool of convenience to help you see many headlines at once and you can decide what is interesting. No one knows what is interesting to you like you do.

Pingdom’s “Beyond RSS” article mentions the “problems that the latest generation of RSS readers are working on: the ability of services to adapt to individual readers’ interests”. ThyNews has just introduced some social news features which can help users discover news sources from who they follow. This could be useful in finding news sources you’re interested in, assuming that who you follow has similar interests as yourself. Overall it is experimental and may or may not prove to be useful in adapting ThyNews to individual readers’ interests.

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Introducing the new social features of ThyNews

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

I’m happy to introduce some great new features. In the screencast below you can see how the new social features work.

Overall it can help you find great new sources of news to add to your page. Using the follow system, even if you don’t want to add the news source to your page, you can see its headlines and visit the articles via the “preview” button.

This is only the introduction of these social features. There is still more to do make them more useful. But the basic following/follower system is in place. You can now see whenever someone finds a news source that they liked enough to add to their page.

This feature will also help with weeding out the bad feeds. Some feeds have problems displaying for various reasons. Sometimes, a feed might not display properly because of an obscure bug in ThyNews. Other times, a feed might not display because of a problem on the feed publishers end. Of course, feeds with problems won’t make it on to many pages in a social system like this. Also, as a good feed gets added to more pages, it will show up in the system more and spread around the system even more.

If you like the new social features and find them useful, please let us know in the comments.

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Hello world and ThyNews users!

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

I’ve started this blog to keep ThyNews users and anyone interested up to date on new and upcoming ThyNews features.

Currently ThyNews works well for many searches and feeds. For the most part all the features of dragging and dropping to order your page work fine. Podcast support is functioning so you can play podcasts directly from your ThyNews page.

Here’s the current screencast to demonstrate these features…

thynews-podcast-demo

ThyNews has come a long way. I originally envisioned it to be just what it is today, so it’s great that it’s been accomplished. As I’ve been using it, I’ve had additional ideas to make it more useful. One of these ideas (which I’ll be rolling out soon enough) is to make it social by allowing you to follow what other users add to their pages. You can also add or preview each feed directly from the “following” section on your page. This can help you find some great news sources to follow. I’m looking forward to this feature coming out.

This blog is designed to be a way I can communicate to ThyNews users what’s new. You’re feedback in the comments about each new feature and the service as a whole will be a great help in making it that much better. If you use ThyNews please let me know in the comments.

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