Shaun Inman has taken the problem of individual RSS overload and solved it with a brilliant, beautiful web-based feed reader called Fever.
I had the honor of helping beta test Fever over the past year, and six months ago I actually switched away from NetNewsWire and now use Fever exclusively.
It really is that hot.
The reason I switched is because the selling point of Fever (subscribe to as many feeds as humanly possible, and never feel stressed about not being able to keep up with all of them) actually translated to my experience. Fever is much more than a good idea with a pretty face — Fever really works.
Up until now feed readers have pretty much had only one function, and that is to collect all your unread items. Which is why the only solution to feed-reader overload is to slash and hack your subscription list.
Naturally, Fever works splendidly as a standard feed reader. You can group and browse your feeds just like you always have. But it doesn’t stop there, and neither should you.
Suppose you want to simply check in quickly and see if anything new or exciting is going on. In any other reader you would have to scan through all your feeds, and mentally assess what’s going on. That’s a lot of thinking, and it certainly doesn’t happen quickly. Which is why people are constantly feeling the need to cut back on feeds.
Yet this is the main point of Fever.
As Shaun put it, “Fever takes the temperature of your slice of the web and shows you what’s hot.” Which means the more feeds you’re subscribed to, the better Fever works. Go nuts! Subscribe to as many feeds as you can.
All these extra feeds are called “Sparks”. Once you subscribe to them, you never have to look at them, sort through them, or worry about them again. But you DO get to use them to help keep your Hot tab alive and active.
It’s Hotter in a Site-Specific Browser
The way I check feeds in Fever is the same way I used to check feeds in NetNewsWire: using the arrow keys exclusively to find new articles, but reading the articles on their respective websites. This is why I prefer to run Fever in Fluid.
In Fluid’s preferences, under Behavior, I checked the box for links sent to default browser to open in the background. Since I like to read articles in their perspective author’s site, when I right-arrow out to an article or a link it then opens up in Safari, and in the background. Once I’ve opened up the small handful of things I want to read, I close Fever and begin reading.
If Fluid is opening an additional tab or window every time you arrow out to an article then go to Fever’s preferences (not Fluid’s), and de-select “open links in new window/tab”.
- Make sure you put the Feedlet into your browser’s bookmark bar. You can’t set Fever as your default RSS reader in Safari’s preferences, so clicking on the RSS icon in the Address Bar won’t subscribe you to the feed in Fever.
- The main keyboard shortcuts I use are “a” (for marking an entire feed as read), and “s” (for saving an article). Fever has a slew of keyboard shortcuts; you can find them in Fever’s main menu.
- Selecting “Show Unread” from the menu, or pressing “u”, will show you only the feeds that actually have unread items in them. Removing the clutter of lots of feeds that have old articles you already read last month.
- Though the iPhone interface of Fever is extremely slick, it can get a bit borked when you visit a webpage. A quick tilt of the phone to change the orientation will fix it.
- Fever installs automatically, and its updates are pushed automatically (not unlike WordPress’ in-app update feature).
- In Fluid’s General Preferences I’ve checked to show the dock badge. This way you can see your unread count in the dock (assuming you want to).
If you need some help getting Fever populated, here is my current OPML file, which includes about 200 feeds altogether.
This is just one of a handful of winded and entertaining software reviews.