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Coming down with a Fever

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways


Lately my RSS feeds have gotten a little on top of me, mainly because I access them from a desktop aggregator on a PC I can go days without switching on. Although Twitter has become a good source of links not everything gets through. So I finally decided it was time to find a solution that truly worked for me.

The main problem I needed to solve would be to have access to my feeds from multiple computers, in multiple locations and probably on my phone too. The obvious solution would be Google Reader, but, and I can’t really explain why exactly, I didn’t want to use Google Reader or any other online aggregator really.

So with that in mind I decided to buy and install Fever, the latest web application from Shaun Inman.

Why Fever?

When looking at Fever it appeared to fit what I needed. One feature of Fever that makes it stand out above other feed readers is that you have to host the application on your own server space. Although this may seem troublesome to many it’s nice to have more control over the service and be less reliant on an external service that could change or disappear at any time. Normally I’m reluctant to pay for applications I can find free elsewhere but at only $30 (£18ish) it didn’t seem like so much of a stretch.

Getting Started

Installation was rather easy, and what was really awesome was the amount of work that has clearly gone into the process. Unlike most paid applications where you buy the system and subsequently download and install the software with Fever the process goes a little differently. As Fever has some complex functionality it’s not guaranteed it will work on everyone’s hosting package. Therefore after signing up on the Fever website you are given the files for Fever to test for compatibility with your host. After all the checks are done it is now that you pay and activate the application.

The compatibility check did throw up an issue for me however, as I didn’t quite adhere to the installation instructions to the letter. In the instructions it says to install the application in a sub-folder of the main domain, with /fever suggested. I instead decided installing it straight onto a sub domain would be much better. This didn’t work so I did as I was told and moved the files to a sub-folder and tried again. Luckily from there everything went smoothly.

First Impressions

So far the app looks very cool, and works well, but there is one mystery; the hot list. I still don’t quite understand how this works. I’m not too sure how stuff makes it into the hot list but then in my list I have sites such as Basecamp that I don’t subscribe to as a heading above feed items I do subscribe to. These items can then be duplicated under other headings. Even though I don’t know where these headings come from surely I don’t need the duplication of the feed items?
Another question also arose from a feed that showed the date of some old posts as only recently updated. This isn’t a big problem and I’ve brushed it off as an initial install issue.

Maybe in time I’ll figure it all out, but even without the hot list Fever is an awesome system that gives just enough control without loads of fiddly things that I’ll never use and never understand. The next problem I have to deal with is insuring I don’t start checking my RSS Feeds as often as I do Twitter otherwise I’ll have no free time at all.