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RSS without a Reader

© July 2004 Tony Lawrence

Referencing: https://www.fyuze.com/zero/ (link dead, sorry)

Fyuze brings your RSS feeds to a web interface. While it is getting easier to integrate RSS readers - Firefox has an RSS extension; the next version of Safari will have RSS built in - I think this is still a good idea. For those of us who use more than one computer (at work and at home, for instance), having a centralized source for our RSS feeds could be very useful. This could also be beneficial while traveling and using public web access, or visiting friends.

So I do like the idea, but my experience so far has been a little painful: Fyuze is intolerably slow, and that might turn you off rather instantly. It's not quite as bad as it seems at first use: apparently most of the slowness is when you first login - probably it needs to do a big fetch of the predefined category lists to see what is new. Subsequent access is still slower than I'd like, but not the "this must be hung" response I experienced at first. Fyuze could probably increase its popularity greatly if they'd just add a "Please be patient" banner explaining the delays.

Fyuze does have some odd ideas about news, though. I signed myself up for my own feed, and by default that shows the "last seven items". Well, not as you and I would probably think of it: Fyuze assumes that my feed is sorted oldest to newest, so it ends up showing the oldest seven items. That's easily fixed (you can change it to show more items or only recent items), but it could be confusing.

You can add and delete feeds, categorize them, re-arrange them - Fyuze is nicely flexible, and does come with some built in categories: News, Tech News, Tech Blogs, and Fun.

If you give it a try, remember to be very, very patient on your first access. If I hadn't been distracted for a few minutes by something else, I might have given up prematurely, which would have been too bad because this really is a good idea.

Fyuze also seems to lack any control of update frequency. For example, after adding this article, I checked back with Fyuze to see if it would pick it up. Nope. Logged out, logged back in. Still no change, and no immediately obvious way to force an update.

I logged in again a little later, and again experienced the "I give up" slowness, which made me think it might be fetching feeds, but my site remained with the same "old" feeds.

Another hint: if you do try this, always open RSS links in a new window: waiting for Fyuze to reload after clicking "Back" is not fun..

I tried it again on Monday morning; still took almost a full minute to login or show any of my feeds, and the feeds still were not updated

Update: it's December 2007, and I just tried reaching this site.. it timed out. "dig" still reports an ip address, but I can't find any recent mention of them in Google and Alexa traffic shows nothing.. they may be shut down.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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-> RSS without a Reader

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More Articles by © Tony Lawrence

---July 8, 2004

Thanks for taking the time to check out fyuze. Our biggest weakness is
indeed our slowness. This is one of the things we are going to attempt to
address within the next month or so. Currently, fyuze is a part time
operation so our resources are a bit limited and our hardware underpowered.
Hopefully we'll soon have a new set of boxes powering the site. We've also
made changes to the software itself to make it faster for the user and
address some of the issues you brought up in your post.

"Fyuze also seems to lack any control of update frequency. For example,
after adding this article, I checked back with Fyuze to see if it would pick
it up. Nope. Logged out, logged back in. Still no change, and no immediately
obvious way to force an update."

fyuze does not fetch the RSS feeds in realtime (this would place a big
burden on sites serving RSS). Instead it periodically goes out and checks
all feeds for updates and stores the results locally. fyuze just hadn't
gotten around to checking your site again. That may be something we add. I'm also looking in to tying into the data from weblogs.com and blo.gs and other update monitoring services. But all that will have to wait until the upgrade.

I hope you stick with us. We're going to try to make some improvements in
the near future. I appreciate your feedback, and if you have any other
suggestions please don't hesitate to send them along.

Take care,

Justin Klubnik

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