Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bloglines Splicer -- An Improvement On Bloglines Shuffler

I have created a new and improved web application called the Bloglines Splicer that arranges your unread feed items in a new way: the first item is shown for each feed, then the second item is shown for each feed, then the third for each feed, and so forth. This way, your feedreading is distributed evenly among all your feeds -- a great help if you are under time constraints (imposed by yourself or by your circumstances).

Contrast this with Bloglines' default alphabetical sort (which favours feeds named with the early letters A, B, C, ...) or its Sort By Number Unread (which favours the larger feeds). With the Bloglines Splicer, you can walk away from the computer at any time knowing that you have reviewed all of the feeds to the best of your ability, given the time constraints.

For example, suppose Slashdot has 5 unread items, Populicious has 20 unread items, and CNet has 10 unread items. The Bloglines Splicer will present the items to you in the following order: S P C S P C S P C S P C S P C P C P C P C P C P C P P P P P P P P P P.

So head on over to the Bloglines Splicer and try it out!

  • Yesterday's attempt, the Bloglines Shuffler, favours feeds with more unread items because it simply shuffles the items and presents them to you. In contrast, the Bloglines Splicer does not have this bias -- it gives equal preference to each feed.
  • Clicking the "Mark All As Read" link will tell Bloglines to mark all items as read, even items that have arrived after Bloglines Splicer has generated its results. So if you are concerned about missing items that arrive while you are reading the results, be sure to click it before you read rather than after (right-click and pick Open In New Window, so you won't lose the current results). On the other hand, if you're like me and don't care about missing a few items, you can happily ignore this.


  • Hmm, is this really necessary? I usually read bloglines this way: Only the item title is displayed, and I click on the Feeds root to see all unread items from all feeds. This way I can scan through all unread stuff within an minute.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/18/2005 2:23 a.m.  

  • This is much closer to the type of thing I'd use if blog-reading was getting out of hand.

    The downside of this, of course, is that it would get people like me to worry (even more than usual) that I'll drown a REALLY good post with a somewhat less important one simply by posting twice in one day, for example.

    However, if/when you really have simply too many blog posts to read, I guess those are the breaks. Still, I'd ideally like a good way to in a sense say: "This is a particularly meaty post" and "this one is frivolous" in a reader-sensitive way.

    By Blogger Darren Torpey, at 4/18/2005 8:10 a.m.  

  • Darren - Thanks for the thoughts.

    Quirkyalone - Yeah, if clicking the Feeds roots works for you, more power to ya. The trouble is when you've got a ton of unread items, it takes more than a minute to scan. It typically takes me 2 hours to go through all my unread items each night. Robert Scoble takes 5-6 hours to go through his 1300 feeds.

    I wanted to cut my time down to 1 hour, so it helps me to read my feeds "horizontally" rather than "vertically"

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 4/18/2005 9:22 a.m.  

  • It's not working for me... I get this error:

    Exception: NameError: uninitialized constant REXML::Validation /usr/local/lib/ruby/site_ruby/1.8/rexml/parsers/treeparser.rb:80:in `parse' /usr/local/lib/ruby/site_ruby/1.8/rexml/document.rb:175:in `build' /usr/local/lib/ruby/site_ruby/1.8/rexml/document.rb:45:in `initialize' /home/jonathanaquino/public_html/bloglines_splicer/splice.rhtml:65:in `new' /home/jonathanaquino/public_html/bloglines_splicer/splice.rhtml:65:in `items_grouped_by_feed' /home/jonathanaquino/public_html/bloglines_splicer/splice.rhtml:83

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/18/2005 1:43 p.m.  

  • Hm! It's working for me. I'll have a look when I get home.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 4/18/2005 1:47 p.m.  

  • I don't know if this will help, but:

    I got that same (or similar) error when I typed in the wrong email/password combo. Perhaps that was the problem for the user above?

    Either way, I hope that helps you track down the problem, Jon.

    In case it wasn't clear -- the system did work when I put in the right info.

    By Blogger Darren Torpey, at 4/19/2005 5:57 a.m.  

  • Awesome - thanks for pointing that out Darren. So everyone if you find you're getting errors, try re-entering your username and password.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 4/19/2005 6:36 p.m.  

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