August 1, 2005

Slightly Old Stuff

The following is a summary of stuff I worked on before the new Toolness was created, but after I stopped maintaining any of my old sites.


Narrowcaster - During the summer of 2004, I realized how great RSS syndication was and decided to get an aggregator. Unfortunately, all of them were horribly complicated: highly modal interfaces, tons of tabs and controls and buttons to mess around with and what have you. Taking some inspiration from the design of Google News, I whipped up my own aggregator using Python and MySQL. The interface is relatively humane, and the aggregator features some built-in filtering of certain feeds: for instance, stories from Slashdot that I’m not interested in–e.g., anything under their “Linux” category–are automatically filtered out. Since this was created solely for personal use, it’s still rather buggy in some rarely-used places; nonetheless, one year later, I (and at least one other person I know) still use this aggregator multiple times per day. The name “narrowcaster” refers to the concept of narrowcasting, which I first encountered in Nicholas Negroponte’s book Being Digital.

Update: This post used to contain pointers to off-site links, but I’ve since archived them back onto this blog. All that remains is the lone paragraph about Narrowcaster, which I seem to have lost the source code for.

© Atul Varma 2017