FeedHub: HAL, er MAPE, Filters Your Feeds

Graeme pointed me to FeedHub – another next generation feed filtering service. On first glance, it reads like FeedRinse – import a bunch of feeds, apply some filters, drop the resulting aggregated feed into your regular reader. The difference, FeedRinse’s filters are manual and FeedHub’s are automated.

My first hiccup with the FeedHub service: Registration.
Right on the top of their main page is a sign-in form with an OpenID link. I click it, authenticate, and enter my OpenID url and receive an error.

Huh? I guess they don’t automatically create my account – even though they have everything they need from my authentication to do so. Hmmm.

Back to the main page to cick the big ‘Register’ button – then another OpenID link. And a button to upload my OPML. Three attempts later, the OPML file stuck. Then they asked me questions about how much of the items I wanted, I chose “the most interesting stuff” (how do they know?) which seemed far more useful than “60% of the items”.

I then loaded up the feed url they gave me and was reminded:

“While you can normally expect to see new content in your feed every 3-4 hours, it will currently take 24 hours to start getting content in your new feed.”

While I wait for the propreitary, trademarked mPower Adaptive Personalization Engine to do it’s magic, I caught up on some early reviews of the service:

“One problem: for me it doesn’t work. It doesn’t pick the stuff I’d really like to read from my feeds. Almost none of the items match my link blog, for instance.” – Robert Scoble

Confirming what I’ve said before – I’m not confident with computers identifying what’s relevant or interesting to me. Spam is easier – there are patterns. I’m not convinced interestingness does.

My lone FeedHub feed updated and it pleasantly surprised me. At the top of each item in the reader is a FeedHub control bar with a number of links including one I’ve only seen in one other service – 'don't show items like this'. Yeah for FeedHub. I’m less enthusiastic about the meme-organizer it feels more like a distraction and oddly disconnected from the reading process.

6 thoughts on “FeedHub: HAL, er MAPE, Filters Your Feeds

  1. It looks like both you and Scoble reviewed a service that explicitly says it takes time to generate the results it’s promised. That seems unfair to the service.

    The login issue you experienced sounds lame, but that’s a one-time thing so doesn’t say much about the value of the service overall.

  2. Ed, thanks. Looks like we need to bring back the blink tag for me – cause I missed the message about waiting during the setup process.

    The signup/login experience can be handled much, much better across the board. If something as common place as opening the door is this frustrating, what else is?

  3. Now your last sentence of your last comment seems unfair. It seems like a slippery slope dismissal of the entire service based on your experience with their registration process – a process one only would need to do once, and a process people would likely put up with if they heard the service was awesome enough to overcome the registration hurdles.

    Of course, they could improve the service that’s been live to 2-weeks as well.

    I don’t know if the service is any good. I haven’t tried it.

    Can interestingness work for RSS? I could see popular feed sorting based on how many others have starred, emailed, linked to, or clicked through on the same stories in their readers. And the same rules could be used to sort lower volume feeds based on individual user’s behavior. Would that work? Perhaps. However, I can’t say that I have a burning desire for such a service.

  4. Ed, That’s fair. I have a pet peeve about sign-in/registration processes that get in their own way. I shouldn’t have let that frustration bleed over into speculation.

    Also, I think interestingness can work for RSS – in fact, I’ll argue it’s already baked in. (You read feeds, and blog what’s interesting to you, I to the same, etc).

  5. Good point about the baked in nature of opt-in RSS feeds. But what about this: I currently have 125 unread articles in my reader. Let’s say I only have 10 minutes to catch up on on my feeds. How can I sort this unread content to make the most of my 10 minutes?

    I’d also like a reader with a mobile version that will automatically hold back posts with audio or video since I can’t process them on my Treo. Today, I star them to watch later, but it would be better if I never saw them at all on my phone.

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