We’re alpha!

I’m very pleased to announce that this evening I installed Build 0 on our development server, so now we’re officially alpha.

Here’s the note I sent to the people who registered for the private alpha:

Greetings,

Based on the interest you’ve expressed in doing an early evaluation of the web’s newest community news aggregator, I’m sending you instructions on how to sign into the feedhaus private alpha.

1) Visit http://www.feedhaus.com.

2) Enter the username “********” and the password “********”. That’s it, you’re in!

Here’s a small primer on how to use the site:

First, check out the newest stories that appear at the top (you can’t miss ’em). Then, click on any tag to see all articles across all feeds that match that tag, along with relevant photos and videos. Finally, slide the history slider at the bottom backward to see what the tags and articles looked like in the past.

You can always return to the present by clicking on the feedhaus logo in the upper left.

That’s the entire end-user experience. However, if you want to become a power-user, I recommend that you click on the “register” link to create an account. You’ll need to fill out a form and validate your e-mail address. After that, you’ll be able to tag feeds, which makes you a contributor to feedhaus’s concept of “what’s hot now.” Click “add a feed,” enter the feed URL (RSS or Atom), enter some tags, and off you go. Remember, unlike del.icio.us, you’re tagging feeds, not web sites. So instead of entering http://www.cnn.com, you’ll want to find CNN’s RSS or Atom feed and then add that URL (for example, see http://www.cnn.com/services/rss/).

The outer basic authentication will be removed when we go to beta, but for now, we need your help in ferreting out as many bugs as possible. We’re also interested in usability suggestions and any other feedback. Please channel all feedback through the blog (by commenting here).

That’s it! Go get ’em and thanks a million for your help!

Best regards,
Chris Bucchere

P.S.: Thanks to Andrew Bays for all his hard work on the feedhaus backend and to Allison Bucchere for her fabulous visual and graphic design.

It’s not too late to register for the alpha! E-mail us at [email protected] to join the party.

Visual Design

feedhaus_public_alphaWe started applying the visual design tonight, which means one thing: we’re getting close! The image to the left is the first cut at the logo. The background gradient is a friendly green, but all the windows where you will actually interact with the site are white with blue hyperlinks and black text, which provides a nice sense of familiarity. Since much of what we’re tying to do here — applying tags to feeds — is so new to the masses, we want the site to be as friendly and as un-intimidating as humanly possible.

Progress Report

The wheels of the Feedhaus machine are spinning along . . . .

Today we installed an early prototype on the development server and validated that about 90% of the functionality is implemented and basically working. You can sign up, sign in, sign out, edit your account, tell a friend, tag feeds and view the main tag cloud and detail pages. Well, you can’t just yet, but we can. The Feed Update Daemon (which we affectionately call “FUD”) isn’t quite ready yet, so it’s not activated on the development server.

We’ve chosen GoDaddy.com as our hosting provider as they’ve been doing all the hosting for bdg since I started the company in 2002. They provide great customer service, reasonable prices, flexible plans, and most importantly, their hold music features a great 90s retro/neo-swing band, The Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Hordes of people have already signed up for the private alpha. What are you waiting for? E-mail us to sign up today!

bdg Announces Plans to Launch Social News Site

Today bdg announced plans to launch a Web 2.0 social news site in Q3 of this calendar year (2007).

This site, which will be called Feedhaus, will combine the power of RSS with the utility of end-user tagging to create an ever-growing and changing folksonomy of news that will keep everyone in the know about “what’s hot now.”

To read more about bdg’s first foray into the consumer web, visit the Feedhaus blog or sign up for the site’s private beta at www.feedhaus.com.

Welcome to Feedhaus

feedhaus_public_alphaWelcome to the Feedhaus blog!

Several of us at bdg are working hard to bring you a next-generation, Web 2.0 news site that will change the way the world views news by always keeping you in the know about what’s hot now. As we’re preparing for launch, which is scheduled for the end of Q3 2007, we thought we’d give you a little taste of what’s to come.

First, some background:

Feedhaus is a concept that I dreamed up in the middle of 2006. It spawned from my desire to have a place where I could go and find out what’s going on right now so that I could “scoop” my friends and coworkers with breaking news before they found out about it. My options right now are limited. There’s Google News, which is pretty good for mainstream headlines. There’s Digg, which is good for niche news and speciality/weird items. There’s a few creative takes on news aggregation, like Marumushi’s News Map and Original Signal. There’s also a slew of feed aggregators; however, all news aggregators focus on the individual (like Google Reader) and not the community (like del.icio.us).

What if you could combine the convenience and power of news aggregation with a user-driven folksonomy to classify the news?

Then, unlike Digg and del.icio.us — which are solely based on user input to classify and popularize information — the relevance of user-classified news would change based on real-world events, not on Diggs or other end-user actions. And what if you could see the lifecycle of news stories waxing and waning in popularity and relevance in real-time, without ever hitting the refresh button? Enter Feedhaus. . . .

Recent changes in the way content gets delivered on the web, along with some slick technologies (Rome, Comet and Lucene to name three of them) and some creative coding by bdg-ers Chris Bucchere and Andrew Bays, make all of this possible — even, dare I say, easy. Nearly every news site, blog and most Web 2.0 sites (including all the sites referenced in this post), expose their content through structured data feeds using RSS/RDF or Atom. Feedhaus allows users to classify feeds from any source and of any format with tags, much like del.icio.us or Flickr.

But, unlike those sites, which allow users to tag static content, when you tag a feed on Feedhaus, it’s as though you’re tagging a living news source that’s constantly growing and changing.

Imagine a tag cloud where the tags actually grow and shrink based on real-world events, all powered by background agents that are constantly checking feeds for newly added content. Then, when you click on a tag, a tag-specific page appears, showing a realtime-updated list of articles aggregated from all the feeds associated with that tag along with a Flickr photo badge and a YouTube video stream with images and video, respectively, matching that tag. Now, you’re beginning to understand Feedhaus.

Here at bdg we have a lot of other ideas about features for Feedhaus and we’re struggling to cut out all the fat and launch just “the right” number of features to give me — and all our users — exactly what they need: a single place to find out what’s hot now.

If you’re interested in participating in our private alpha, please e-mail us. (We won’t use your e-mail address for anything other than to notify you about the beta and make other Feedhaus-related announcements.)