Extending Aggregators [1].

Extending Aggregators.

(Re)defining the News Aggregator (And Your User Interface While We’re At It)

Dave talks about what a news aggregator is.

deus_x is thinking about what an aggregator should be.

I’ll take it one step further, I think the entire computer interface should be overhauled to be more aggregator like, events streaming by, hover your mouse for some info, click for even more info. An incoming email slides by, click to read, or just let it go by and in a while your folders with unread mail in them will stream by. A friend just updated their weblog? You’ll see the update stream by in your interface. Instant messages slide by, click it to reply. A computer process just started hogging CPU? You’ll get an event for that too.

Ok, the two rhymes at the end of that signaled that my brain had overloaded so I’ll leave it at that for now. Please, please, please send me your thoughts on this, either email, comment, or AIM (acemcburney).” [Adam Wendt’s Agnostic Audiophile Smorgasborg]

I had an interesting IM chat with Adam tonight about news aggregators, and he’s got some great ideas for the next generation of this software. Adam opened the conversation by asking what I thought aggregators will need to be and do in the future. My response is that I think aggregators will be our information faucets (funnels?) in the future, so they need to become mobile to go where we go. That means they need to scale to everything from tablet PCs to cell phones. The biggest barrier to this scaling is a usable interface (assuming wireless bandwidth projections are accurate and we do get high-speed, always-on connections at some point).

I like the implementation of CSS in Aggie to hide the full post in order to facilitate scanning. The content is still there, though, waiting for my “click.” But as Les Orchard and Adam note, we need other ways to access the items flowing through the faucet. We need to be able to weight those channels we feel are most important, we need subject and keyword access, we need to be able to group channels and posts in whatever arbitrary ways we see fit. We’ll also need ways to scale enclosures, audio, video, and otherwise (it will happen someday). Adam throws in ratings, especially by a trusted group, in order to highlight the flotsam from the jetsam.

Of course, then Adam totally blew me away with the idea of throwing away the computer interface altogether and using an aggregator to access everything from email to instant messages. Whoa. I’ll take the red pill!

The point, of course, is that the next generation of aggregator software, if done right, has the chance to tip, which would be a Martha Stewart Good Thing.

[The Shifted Librarian]