I'm just so close to NewsBlur being profitable. I am 35 premium user accounts away (for a total of 80 accounts). Once NewsBlur goes profitable, that's when the real hard work starts. I would then have support issues, broken features in edge case browser/OS configs, and the headaches of keeping a server running for high availabaility, while on a shoe string budget and working super-part-time. (I write most of NewsBlur on the A train, 35 minutes each way from Brooklyn to midtown).
The hardest part about coding on the A train is when dancers/singers come on. I love watching performance theatre, especially on a train. I just stop coding, put the lid down, and enjoy the show. And if you know the A train, you know this happens once a week.
Otherwise, I am just so in love with coding NewsBlur that I can focus. I talk to myself a little (quietly), drawing in the air with my finger, and am just a little NYC crazy that nobody questions me.
I get a seat 19/20 times. (That's once per two weeks that I have no place to sit). I bring a small book, just in case, so that I at least have something to do on the train.
I've missed my stop a few times. It happens, but it gives me an extra 5 minutes to work, so I don't sweat it.
Hmm, coding on the subway as a blog post. Brilliant! Ok, next week it is.
I also used to sing in NYC trains, not the A though. I made about $100 every 6 hours.
Here are all of the custom graphs that I make through munin: https://github.com/samuelclay/NewsBlur/tree/master/utils/mun...
This is fantastic, and very inspiring.
I take the A train because it's closest to my apartment, but also because of Ella Fitzgerald singing "Take the A train." Now, if you're form NYC, you'll know that the A train is an express train, so when I see the C train, which is a local train, I'll take it to squeeze 5 more minutes out of my commute. The other benefit is that when folks see both the A and the C pull into the station, they all run to the express train, leaving me a greater chance for a free seat on the local train.
Maybe its just me, but, there's something nice about working on a train. There's no wifi (at least, on trains run by the MTA) and the train sounds make for nice white noise.
I used to have a ride on the LIRR from Nassau into Penn for an internship. I'd bring my laptop with me and get a good hour's worth of coding, per direction. At least, when I got a seat.
I guess you are only factoring the cost of servers, not your own time.
- App server: 1GB, $40 / month
- DB server: 512MB, Postgres/MongoDB, $20 / month
- Task server: 512MB, Celery/RabbitMQ, $20 / month
Great work. Content publishers will also like this because you aren't scraping, and you are preserving the original format of their content.
(Bug report - are you auto-detecting feed urls? I put in the domain for my own site and it didn't find the feed, although it is referenced as a rel. You also don't have Sydney as a timezone)
It looks like your feed isn't being served with an appropriate mime-type -- or at least not one that it understands. Seems to be failing in the 'test' method.
'Australia/Adelaide': '(GMT+09:30) Adelaide',
'Australia/Darwin': '(GMT+09:30) Darwin',
'Australia/Brisbane': '(GMT+10:00) Brisbane',
'Australia/Sydney': '(GMT+10:00) Sydney, Hobart'
Obviously this is beginning stages, but i think the typography and sizing of UI can still be refined and reduced substantially.
The intro page is the weakest for me. The calligraphic doodle below google reader feels alien. RSS reading is all about streamlining your reading. I'd dull down the colours of the UI to the max (think the new itunes monotone scheme) in order to maximise the individuality of the fed content (which is the USP of your product).
You only need The Google Reader Sign Up and the How it works shown for the beginning. The New Improvements feed is not what a first time viewer needs to see when they put thier virgin eyes on your product.
That is basically my single mode of operation in Google Reader. I'm sort of surprised that I can't do it trivially because I thought that everyone used RSS readers that way.
Other than that, the UI is pleasant, though.
Everybody reads RSS differently, and I am only trying to pleasure a few groups for now. But river of news is one of the highest ticket priorities. Up there with the iPhone app (which is 60% done), fixing misbehaving feeds, and fixing the many Chrome bugs.
One thing I can't figure out, though, is why many feeds do not show the "real" page for the item. Instead, it reverts back to just using the feed or showing the front page of the blog in question, even though the URL is clearly in there. When I'm on "Original" I'd just like to see the URL for the item on the right without having to open it in a new tab/window. Or is this a bug?
What your describing is that every link shows it's original site endpoint, which means reading every story would require a separate page load. Instead, I just consolidated the front page, and if you want the story content as it appears in the feed, then there's the Feed view (and you can go back and forth between them with the left and right arrow keys).
Otherwise, it's a slow process to load all of those stories one-by-one.
Oh well, that's a shame. One of the initial big wins (in my head) was that I like to see the original design of the item rather than the plain feed version (handy for these individually designed blog posts nowadays) but without opening 101 tabs over my session. This still works fine in NB for blogs where all the posts are held on the front page a while, it seems, but just not those that nest things on individual post pages I guess. (Hurrah for you open sourcing it though!)
When you change feed, and the "iframe"(or whatever it is) is loading the next page, you should fadeout the old one, and maybe (if possible) put a loading gif or similar until load completion.
That would make the interface far more responsive, since when i was clicking feeds to test, sometimes i didnt notice if the click was doing something or not, and that produces frustration along with multiple clicks (unnecesary work overload)
Cool app anyway! Wish you the best :)
Is it intentional that there's such a big whitespace gap on the 'home' page? (Chrome 7, OS X 10.6)
I really hope, and believe, this will replace my use of google reader, which I have found to be absolutely painful to use. I wish google products had more inspiring interfaces.
I'd love to talk to you about your decision to open-source it sometime.
Keep up the good work.
The focus is on the sites. The logo only shows up when you first go to newsblur.com. That's also intentional. Why do you need to see the logo as you're reading your sites?
As for why I went open-source, I figure that the good will that comes from being open-source will help me obtain my #1 top priority: meeting future co-founders. NewsBlur is my public resume. Making it profitable is priority #2. Well, it can easily be profitable if folks are buying premium accounts and not bothering to host everything on their own servers. Seems to be working out pretty well, so far.
And that truck for an icon? It's for all the food I have to truck in to feed her. Har har.
All the best to you and Newsblur
I consider my work as the epitome of the "Design is not just the look" ethos. I spend what little free time I do have thinking about the flow for all the little parts of NewsBlur.