Not resting on our laurels

Feedhaus_StickerTeam Feedhaus put out a new release tonight. This was primarily a bug-fix release. Here’s a run-down:

1) Speed up history detail pages — we’ve got more than 1.2 million stories stored up since our private alpha began in early September. Finding those records to show required some heavy lifting, but by adding some indexes to that table and making a few code changes, you can now play with the history slider all you want and pull up old stories almost instantaneously.

2) Speed up regular detail pages — some browsers were having trouble displaying some of the detail pages, mostly just because they were too big! We’ve capped the number of stories now at 20 per detail page. Eventually we’ll add pagination, but for now, there’s still plenty of news and blogs for you to read, with the latest and greatest stuff always bubbling to the top.

3) Detail page clipping — some tags returned feed content that was too wide for the detail page, which required you to scroll horizontally to see the full extent of the content — yuck! (We’ve had lots of complaints about this.) Using some CSS hacks, we fixed that for all the major offenders that we could find. If you find any other “wide loads” (i.e. detail pages that are too big for their britches), please let us know.

Feedhaus Selected as a SXSW Web Award Finalist

2008_web_awardsWe’re very pleased to announce that Feedhaus has been selected as a finalist for a prestigious SXSW (South by Southwest) 2008 Web Award!

We’ve been selected, along with four other great nominees, from among a pool of hundreds of sites for the “Technical Achievement” category, which, according to SXSW, describes “sites that are re-inventing and re-defining the technical parameters of our online experience.”

As a finalist, we’re also eligible for the “People’s Choice” award, so please vote for Feedhaus (daily until March 3rd).

Kudos to the SXWS committee for recognizing Feedhaus! Hope to see you in Austin from March 7th-11th for this great conference.

Introducing the Feedhaus Newsroom

Team Feedhaus is very pleased to announce the launch of the Feedhaus Newsroom. Powered by feedhaus but integrated seamlessly with meebo, the newsroom gives you a forum to chat with your friends while constantly being updated with the latest news from the hottest tags on feedhaus.

You can recommend stories and tags to your chat buddies and they can do the same to you, which I’m sure will result in some lively discussions!

To access the newsroom, sign into meebo.com using your credentials from AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, GTalk or ICQ and then invite one of your buddies to chat. Witin the chat window, click on the rocket ship. Scroll down to “news & entertainment” and then click on “Feedhaus News.”

This will invite your chat buddy to the newsroom — which works even if your friend isn’t using meebo — enjoy!

My Love Affair with Instant Messaging

Do you love instant messaging? I do.

In fact, I remember the first time I used a chat room when my parents signed us up for AppleLink, a BBS (remember those?) that we could access using the modem on my first computer, the ill-fated special “Woz” edition Apple IIGS (remember THOSE?). The year was 1986 and I was in the 5th grade. In 1989, AppleLink was bought by a little-known company called Quantum (by a little-known person named Steve Case), who later rebranded the service as America Online. I remember when the service changed and how excited I was because it meant one thing — even more chat rooms!

In my high school and college days, I would telnet into academic Unix servers and talk to my friends on ytalk and later on PCs using AOL Instant messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger and GTalk. The only chat service I never got into was ICQ, although I did log in once in a blue moon for a special purpose chat on one topic or another.

So, long story short, I love chat rooms and the whole concept of chatting online. But, circa 2000 or so, all my friends were on different chat networks! At one point, I was running three chat clients on my machine — what a waste of resources. Enter Trillian (and Adium for the Mac, Gaim for Linux, etc.): now I could manage all my buddies in one place.

Then came that fateful day in 2004 when the client site I’ve been visiting since August of 2003 shut down all chat ports and banned Trillian from our desktops.

For the first time in my life, I was a man without a chat room.

Then, in 2005, a new Sequoia-baked web site went into alpha. I immediately jumped in and registered for this new chat room, called meebo, which offered the ability to combine all my buddies and chat across all the networks (like Trillian) but do so under the guise of a normal web site running on port 80. This of course allowed me to bypass the chat port and client software restrictions.

Fast forward to the end of 2007, and meebo now features rooms (how nostalgic) along with an open API, for which various companies have built a plethora of applications ranging from chess to speed dating to video chat.

So why did I just chronicle my love affair with chat in all of its gory detail? And no less, why did I do so on the Feedhaus blog?

Stay tuned, because tomorrow we’re going to announce a very cool new part of feedhaus that will truly change the way people consume news on the internet . . . and how they partake in discussions about current events.

Watch this space — and I promise — you won’t be disappointed!