Hi everyone, so the picolisp application I've been working on and off
on for the past year has started to come together. It's a feed reader.
It can be found here: http://vizreader.com
The reasons for making a feed reader are many, but there are two that stand out:
1.) I don't like Google Reader, the GUI for instance is annoying.
2.) Even if I liked GR it would still be a good idea since I've
realized that almost 100% of the time I spend on the internet - when
I'm not googling or browsing wikipedia - is in the reader. Being able
to control that experience is important, getting Google to implement
feature requests is a long shot...
The name comes from the fact that there are quite a lot of
visualizations that can be employed to make sense of the information,
but most of all for discovery, especially the link maps. In this
respect the Twitter link map has been really helpful. It wasn't
supposed to be like that from the beginning but I got hooked on
visualizing at some point down the road. The visualizations are
displayed through shockwave files so the flash player is a must if you
want to view them.
At this point there are no community functions but everything is
primed for this if the reader gets a few regular users.
Feel free to try it out, some pointers first though:
1.) Don't test it just because it's a picolisp application, the feed
reader should be a really important application for you, just like it
is for me. At this point I don't want a lot of unused cruft i the DB.
2.) If you use Twitter then vizreader will be especially useful as the
system doesn't differentiate between microblogging and normal
blogging, only the display of the posts are different, a difference
that I enjoy a lot.
3.) If you like it please don't tell anyone who don't fit the
description in #1, at this initial stage it is a good thing with only
- Separate tags with commas, yes tags can contain spaces (I hate when
- If you update your twitter feed note that the interface you end up
in will refresh the feed every 60 seconds, it will of course go
towards your daily API limit.
- The whole database is updated 6 AM central US time, using the
application for the next 30-60 minutes will be painful as there will
be frequent write blocks in place. I will look into the new pubsubhub
protocol to see if this procedure can be eliminated in the future.
- If a feed is selected for reading and it hasn't been updated in the
last two hours it will be updated, this can take some time, yet again
the subhub thing could solve this problem in the future.
- There are no error messages when external sources time out.
- So far only OPML files exported by GR and a desktop app called
FeedReader has been tested to work. The xml.l library is used to
import them so they have to be perfectly formatted.
- The positive/negative graphs/features should be considered a joke at
the moment since they simply use word lists to determine the amount of
negative or positive words in an article. They only respect first
level negations, "not good" will be interpreted as a negative
statement but "not very good" will slip through and be interpreted as
a positive statement.
- Show error messages when external sources time out.
- When a feed is added the feed list should update right away instead
of having to reload the home page.
- Update the number of unread posts in every feed in a certain
category/tag when the category is "opened" in the list to the left.
- Profile setting that controls behavior when a feed is clicked,
update always, never or after an arbitrary interval, it's speed versus
freshness which is important enough that it should be controlled by
- Get it to work on the 64bit version, it is currently running on the
I hope some of you will test it in a serious fashion and like this
first draft despite the rough edges!