I've recently been examining my RSS situation, having been an Apple Mail user for the better part of two years. I recently started experimenting with NetNewsWire after discovering that I was able to read my feeds on my iPhone and on the web.

However, I've recently discovered a reader that has since piqued my interest:


I've read online reviews and watched the demo video, but it's hard to get a sense of whether or not Fever will mesh with the way I like to read news. So I have a few questions:

  1. What's the difference between "kindling" and "sparks"? The description on the page is somewhat unhelpful:

    Essential, must-read feeds are Kindling. Supplemental, low signal-to-noise feeds are Sparks. Sparks ignite Kindling raising the temperature of items and links that should not be missed.

    I get the tempreature metaphor, I just don't get how sparks "ignite" the kinding, or what kinds of feeds are better for kindling vs sparks

  2. The RSS readers that I've liked have treated feeds like email and list all my undread items in one pane so that when I click on one it gets displayed in another pane. I suspect that I prefer this method to Google Reader because it allows me to have greater control over what is marked as read vs unread, as well as being able to easily skim the titles to see if there's anything that immediately piques my interest.

    I know Fever is designed to try to float the most interesting/relevant news to the top, and I'm wondering how well it really works in practice. I'm also wondering how easy it is to mark items as read/unread.

  3. How well does the iPhone client/Fluid client work, and how do they compare with NetNewsWire for the Mac and iPhone?

  4. Does the temperature actually mean anything, other than to serve as a way to sort the feeds? Is it fun/intuitive or does it get in the way?


After using Fever for a couple weeks now,

  1. An example of sparks: Digg, del.icio.us feeds, all different types of what you consider high volume/high noise feeds. Kindling would be feeds you actually care to read, say for example the StackOverflow blog.

  2. I used to prefer the pane method but after using Fever I've come around as the way Fever shows the feeds allows (felt like forcing at first) me to go through feeds much more quickly and to actually deal with them rather than let them pile up.
    That said there are keyboard shortcuts to mark items as read and unread: z will mark recently read items as unread. a wil mark an entire feed as read. See http://YOURDOMAIN/PATH/TO/fever/?shortcuts if you have it installed.

  3. I use a Fluid instance on all my computers - keeps it separate from my other browsing (set to open any non-Fever link in my main browser however) and makes it feel more like a normal application. The iPhone web app I've found a bit buggy (mostly cosmetic) and the animations are quite choppy on my 3G. All in all I've come to avoid using Fever on my iPhone as much as I avoided NetNewsWire on my iPhone because of performance.

  4. As you start to adapt to the way Fever best works the temperature is interesting with the most interesting bits rising to the top. It's worth the price tag if you check your feeds once, maybe twice a day but if you check all the time the advantage of bringing important news to the top I found tended to diminish (as often times you had already read it in your Kindling).

Summary: It's a different way of reading feeds and having to host it on your server is different but it's definitely my one and only feed reader now.

  • Thanks for replying. I do tend to stay on top of my RSS by reading the feeds as they come in, so it sounds like, at least partially, my vigilance defeats the notion of sparks. However, I do read Reddit, HN, and sometimes Digg - how are feeds like this handled as sparks? – Kyle Cronin Aug 6 '09 at 23:04
  • In one way Sparks is just like a folder in NNW - you can still read your feeds (by feed if you'd like) just as you would any other feed. – Chealion Aug 7 '09 at 13:58

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