Recently, I wrote about making the switch from Google Reader to Fever. In that post I explained that I would write a more comprehensive review later. Here is it.
Fever is a webapp. To use Fever, on my desktop, outside of a “browser” I use ChillPill. So, I hope not to confuse the two in this review. Primarily, I will be writing about the webapp.
Fever is mostly intuitive. It isn’t as straight forward as Google Reader (GR)—with GRs non-metaphoric category names. (Fever, uses names like Kindling, Hot, and Sparks which can be daunting for a new user. But, don’t worry they are easily explained.) But, a new user, to Fever, can get up and running in about 10(ish) minutes and have a good idea of what to do. The nice thing about Fever is that there isn’t a bunch of controls just the necessary ones. GR had so many controls that a new user can easily get lost. (I rarely used the web interface simply because I couldn’t stand to look at it.) In my opinion GR is cluttered. Fever isn’t. Fever is much more minimalist and allows the user to do one primary thing—read.
Technically speaking, I was able to get up and running in about 5-10 minutes. All I needed was my database credentials (which, was easy to find in my host’s control panel), a FTP program (I use Transmit), the Fever files, oh, and most importantly a hosted domain (ie. my own website). I use 1and1.com.
- If you already have a website (Which, if you are interested in Fever I would imagine that you do.) and a FTP program then you will need to go to the FeedaFever.com site and download the package.
- Once you have it downloaded, then you will need to upload it to your website.
- When it is uploaded you will need to follow the easy setup instructions to create your account. You can find these instructions under the Download/Add a License section.
Download, unzip and upload to your server. Change the permissions of the /fever/ directory to 777 and visit /fever/boot.php in your browser to run the Suite.
(While that may not sound easy. It is. I didn’t have to change the permissions because they uploaded as 777, but you will want to check them just in case. In Transmit you just command-i the folder, an info window pops-up, and you change the permissions there.)
- When this is finished, import your current RSS feed OPML file and then you are ready to go. (You will have to export this from GR.)
I really haven’t, directly, used the web app—much. I say “directly” because the ChillPill app that I use appears just to be a Fluid app.
My first impressions?
As soon as I understood the Hot vs. Kindling features better, my attachment to Fever has grown. “Hot” feeds are supplementary feeds that I won’t read everyday, but that I am interested in because of the information they might supply. So, in my “Sparks” category (this is where I store my supplementary feeds which are used to determine the temperature of the topics of the day.) I have Engadget, MacRumors, TechCrunch, and TightWind. Because of the articles they are posting in my “Hot” section today, July 1st, I have: MacStories, Open letter to BlackBerry Bosses, and information on Nortel Patents—as well as some other titles.
I don’t read Hot. I scan it. It allows me to see the hot news without having to sort through a bunch of posts. Kindling, on the other hand, are the posts that I am interested in following each day. Ones that I want to read everything (or nearly everything) they are writing on a daily basis. I have art, writing, and some tech feeds stored in Kindling.
Fever is refreshing. I have almost 200 feeds and I am able to focus on just those feeds I really want to keep up with. To me Fever is a near-perfect blogger’s friend. “Near-perfect” because it allows the user to quickly scan the primary topics of concern in their news circles. If I want to see what the main topics of the day for Apple, place the Apple feeds in Sparks and check out the hot, hotter, and hottest items for the day. I would love to see it add some features to allow the user to post snippets better, but that is me nitpicking.
- It’s mine. I control it.
- Setup is easy.
- Hot is an excellent way to filter “important” matters of the day.
- I have a webapp as well as a desktop app.
- If you have an iPhone (or other smartphone) the webapp formats nicely.
- It has some interaction with Instapaper, delicious, and twitter.
- The ChillPill app takes up too much memory (it’s just a webkit browser—as near as I can tell.)
- Could take advantage of the desktop experience a bit more.
- Sometimes Fever can’t figure out the rss feed of a particular site (even a blogspot one I am not sure what’s the deal.)
- Needs better integration with Instapaper. I would prefer to have Instapaper pop-in rather than being redirected to a different page.
- On refresh the list I am viewing refreshes. Not usually a problem, but when I am half-way (or more) down a list and I am refreshed to the top that is very frustrating.
On the whole?
Fever is an excellent offering. I would love to see it come with a better desktop app. I would love to see it better integrate with other tools in a more revolutionary “webtop*” experience harnessing the power of the native UI and the power of the web. But, in the end I am happy with it. Yes, there are some gripes, I am picky. But, I am pleased with the product and have yet to have buyer’s remorse. I suggest you check it out, if you want to control your own.
* By which I mean: A better hybrid web/desktop UI. Something more iTunesish in nature without all of the clutter of iTunes.