While I wrap up Fraidycat 1.1.3 — which solves the conflict with Firefox’s ‘Strict’ Tracking — here are some kind words from someone who inspired the organizational aspects of Fraidycat, Ton Zijlstra.
While I’ve been trying to work through a few rejections of the last version from the Chrome Web Store, a number of hot discussions have sprung up around the Cat.
So I built this - and its initial purpose was just to help me keep up on public TiddlyWikis (like philosopher.life) that I had discovered. But I couldn't get myself to rip off other news readers - I've not been satisfied with RSS and I disliked Google Reader. I didn't like that it basically created a second read-only email inbox - where I'm supposed to look through every message. And I didn't like that I lost the formatting and styling of the original hypertext. I much preferred just surfing my favorite sites periodically. As I began to add blogs, Twitter, YouTube support - it felt like I was connecting the whole Web, as if it was all one network, almost as if I viewed it like the government does. (Equipped with my own personal XKeyscore Lite.) I had felt isolated before - unable to see past whatever was being recommended to me on Twitter - but now I had a tool that forced me to rouse my dormant research skills. The task of reading, writing, publishing and hunting on the Web is a formidable one - and we're far from mastering it. It's no wonder that we abdicated to social networks that attempt to do it all for us. So yeah - Fraidycat is a very small attempt to move toward tools that give us some power. It really only adds the ability to assign "importance" to someone you are following - allowing you to track them without needing to be aware of them every second. But hey - it's four months old - I think it's a good start and hopefully others here can be encouraged by it to work on tools for the World-Wide Web again.
“What do I miss” is the wrong question, because the feeling isn’t an absence, but a presence.
If running your own website is like operating a nuclear reactor, then, yes: let’s give up on that. But what if it’s more like cooking dinner at home? That’s an activity that many people find challenging and/or intimidating, one with all sorts of social and economic ~encumbrances~, but even so, who would argue that it’s inappropriate to hope more people might learn to cook for themselves?
Maybe, after everything, we’ve actually ended up in a healthy place. Maybe the great gluey Katamari ball of technology has served us well. In 2020, you can, using nothing but the free app provided by Instagram, publish something very close to a multimedia magazine. Or, sitting at your laptop, you can produce a lightning-fast website all by yourself, every line of code calibrated just so, and host its files at a domain of your choosing. Or! You can do something in between, using a service like WordPress or Squarespace. This is not a bad range of options! ❧
There’s something between the lines here that feels like it’s closer to what the idea of IndieWeb Generations should really become. Perhaps it’s the case that when even a small handful of larger competitors like micro.blog exist it will force the larger corporate silos to come into line (they’ll lose out on market share and need to offer better service) and be more IndieWeb-like over time?
Annotated on March 21, 2020 at 11:34PM
Whether their scenario is a historical reenactment (albeit with higher-res images) or a seductive counterfactual, I don’t know. Whether it “matters,” I don’t know. I do know that I am enjoying my fraidy-follows, their slow pulse—people really are blogging, doing the dang thing—and the feeling of an old instinct waking up. ❧
Annotated on March 21, 2020 at 11:36PM
Quite a while I wrote about building a social reader[^ Then called IndieWeb reader, but social reader is the better term.], but these days I have to admit it went nowhere. The biggest problem with it being that I myself don’t really use any reader to consume stuff: I was not used to keeping up wit...
Of course an emergency update has to be rushed out, in a pathetic attempt to save face.
After two months of grueling work, a grumpy but very tough cat emerges.
I was really doubting that this would come together. This was a tough one. You’ll see why in a moment.
Details at: fraidyc.at/blog.
New Twitch, Kickstarter, Pinterest, Facebook support.
Sort follows, ignore post edits, expand everything.
And yeah - all Fraidycat news is moving to that blog link.
Fraidycat lets you "follow at a distance" blogs, social media accounts, and other web sources. I find it much more attention-respectful than a typical feedreader.
Tight little tools - RSS feeds for newsletters, Telegram and web hooks.
Fraidycat 1.0.7 is out (in the browser and on desktop), major performance improvements.
/feed/to the end of those URLs), I’ve made a few custom feeds for aggregated content.
However, knowing that some feeds are broadly available from my site isn’t always either obvious or the same as being able to use them easily–one might think of it as a(n) (technical) accessibility problem. I thought I’d make a few tweaks to smooth out that user interface and hopefully provide a better user experience–especially since I’m publishing everything from my website first rather than in 30 different places online (which is a whole other UI problem for those wishing to follow me and my content). Since most pages on my site have a “Follow Me” button (courtesy of SubToMe), I just needed to have a list of generally useful feeds to provide it. While SubToMe has some instructions for suggesting lists of feeds, I’ve never gotten it to work the way I expected (or feed readers didn’t respect it, I’m not sure which?) But since most feed readers have feed discovery built in as a feature, I thought I’d leverage that aspect. Thus I threw into the
<head> of my website a dozen or so links from some of the most typical feeds people may be most interested in from my site. Now you can click on the follow button, choose your favorite feed reader, and then your reader should provide you with a large list of feeds which you might want to subscribe. These now broadly include the full feed, a comments feed, feeds for all the individual kinds (bookmarks, likes, favorites, replies, listens, etc.) but potentially more useful: a “microblog feed” of all my status-related updates and a “linkblog feed” for all my link-related updates (generally favorites, likes, reads, and bookmarks).
Some of these sub-feeds may be useful in some feed readers which don’t yet have the ability for you to choose within the reader what you’d like to see. I suspect that in the future social readers will allow you to subscribe to my primary firehose or comments feeds, which are putting out about 85 and 125 posts a week right now, and you’ll be able to subscribe to those, but then within their interface be able to choose individual types by means of filters to more quickly see what I’ve been bookmarking, reading, listening to or watching. Then if you want to curl up with some longer reads, filter by articles; or if you just want some quick hits, filter by notes. And of course naturally you’ll be able to do this sort of filtering across your network too. I also suspect some of them will build in velocity filters and friend-proximity filters so that you’ll be able to see material from people who don’t post as often highlighted or to see people’s content based on your personal rankings or categories (math friends, knitting circle, family, reading group, IndieWeb community, book club, etc.). I’ve recently been enjoying Kicks Condor’s FraidyCat reader which touches on some of this work though it’s not what most people would consider a full-featured feed reader but might think of as a filter/reader dashboard sort of product.
Perhaps sometime in the future I’ll write a bit of code so that each individual page on my site that you visit will provide feeds in the header for all the particular categories, tags, and post kinds that appear on that page?That might make a clever, and simple little plugin, though honestly that’s the sort of code I would expect CMSes like WordPress to provide out of the box. Of course, perhaps broader adoption of microformats and clever readers will obviate the need for all these bits?
Fraidycat 1.0.4 is out today in the Firefox and Chrome stores.
- Inoreader has been working on a beta product that will make following social feeds in Twitter, Micro.blog, the Fediverse, and even IndieWeb sites with h-entry easier and prettier.
- Kicks Condor has been iterating and doing some interesting work on the FraidyCat reader over the past few weeks.
- Malcolm Blaney has a fantastic little feed reader in his Unicyclic site (not to mention that he’s also got a cool looking IndieWeb as a Service site with i.haza.website that I desperately want to have time to try out).
- The volume of different and interesting content going into IndieWeb.xyz as a discovery hub has been increasing lately.
- I’ve been admiring the discovery/aggregation work of Terry Greene on his OpenLearnerPatchbook and OpenFacultyPatchbook sites within the education space.
- CJ Eller and others have been contributing to Blogging Futures as an extended online conversation in the form of an aggregated blogchain.
And none of this even touches on the excellent continuing work on Microsub readers which continues to astound me. Even with all of this activity, I’m sure I’m missing some fun little gems, so please don’t hesitate to mention them.
Futilely attempting to build an RSS reader that’s not at all an RSS reader.
There are some interesting UI pieces hiding in here. I love the way things are sortable by importance. I like the sparklines for posting frequency. The color differentiation to give an idea about recency of posts is cool.
And one of the best things is that it’s not really a reader. In true Kicks fashion, it’s all just links, which means that one goes to the original site to read the content. I mentioned just yesterday the fact that some of my “identity” is lost with the CSS and details of my site being stripped within sterile readers. This sort of reader decimates that.
Of course, the verso of that is a reader that could be CSS configurable so that every site looks as busy or crazy as mango zone does in the video. Naturally, many browsers support local CSS, so I suppose I could make the New York Times look like Kicks Condor’s site, but who has the time to do all that configuration?? (Maybe one day…) Maybe some readers will have their simple chrome, but pull in not only the content, but the CSS and visual goodness along with them? The best of both worlds?