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Show HN: Mailbrew – Automated Email Digests from HN, RSS, Reddit, Twitter (mailbrew.com)
114 points by linuz90 on March 3, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 39 comments



I just set up something similar for myself with Huginn [0], took a bit to figure out how it works but I've been liking short daily summaries. This definitely would have been faster/prettier though.

[0] https://github.com/huginn/huginn


Would you perhaps share how you did it with an example? I really like the concept of Huginn, but haven't had the inclination to play with it further myself; setting something up for my own sources' summaries would be a good way to start, I guess.


Sure. I started with Reddit, for a very basic setup you'll need:

1. A website agent that parses the Reddit JSON api (just add .json to a subreddit URL)

2. A trigger agent to filter based on your criteria (ex. minimum 50 points) and transform the JSON to a nicer message

3. An email digest agent to bundle the messages into a single email

Each one of these feed into the next so you go from the raw JSON to a nice email. Then you can easily just feed more things into the email digest agent to add more to it.

Let me know if you have any other questions, my email's in my profile. It was pretty confusing for me to get started but I'm getting the hang of it now.


What I do is I use a WordPress I stallation to consume RSS and Email Newsletters they have plug-ins that slurp rss feeds (I use feedwordpress) And I use the Email to Post feature built in to WordPress to consume newsletters..

Now that rss feeds I like and newsletters I like are in wordpress as a post.. I have a plug in that sends an email digest of what's posted...

What I like about my ghetto setup is that I can easily search and get "related" articles..


Never really had the right mood to set up Huginn, maybe because my own system is not that bad (a bunch a Telegram bots and channels, pointing to HN and some subreddits)


Author of Huginn here. I'm so glad it's working well for you, that's exactly what I use it for as well.


I set something similar up to mail me PDFs while I am in federal prison.


> I set something similar up to mail me PDFs while I am in federal prison.

That's amazing. I would love to hear more.


Its basically Puppeteer for using Chrome headless to browse to sites I want, then Readability library that Mozilla makes is used to extract text from the page - if that fails it uses the regular page.

It does this every week and emails a PDF to a friend to send in a weekly mail packet.

There are APIs you can use to auto upload and they will send the letter via the post. The problem is they aren't conforming to the rules like no staples, lots, returns, weight, etc.

There are also keyword filters and mappings to avoid some unfortunate article like "How to Kill A..." or some other clickbait that might trigger some kind of review. It would become "How to Hug A" and I kind of just have to keep track of those in my head.


That's really impressive. Thanks for sharing!


Nice to see Mailbrew on HN. Been using it for a while to make sure I get tweets from smart people that tweet rarely


Is it possible to bunch all of the newsletters into one email? I was interested to try out about 5 of the recommended newsletters, but I'm not exactly thrilled about 5 news emails per day/week. I have enough emails to sift through already, and my first thought was to cancel all of the subs :/


Absolutely! Right now it’s a manual process though, you would need to add sources to the one newsletter you want to keep. But we’ll make it much easier in the future, sorry about this.


Thanks!


Loving Mailbrew so far, but it's too half-baked at the moment for me to be willing to pay $10/month for it. For context, I happily pay for 1password, fastmail, workflowy, notion, stratechery, NYT, Spotify, blackblaze, 2 VPNs and countless other subscriptions so I am not your average cheap bastard on reddit.

It doesn't even support producthunt, indiehackers, designer news, etc. yet. I'd also love for the ability to scrape and detect updates to websites that don't actually have RSS feeds (no idea how to achieve that technically, but that is something I'd pay $10/month for).


Cool product, could be good for people that want to move from constantly disturbing notifications to daily digests. What is the roadmap for supporting more sources and for creating customized digests (i.e. create digests from custom sources that other people can follow)?


Thanks. More sources and customizations are really high on our list. Long-term, we really see this becoming some sort of knowledge/news-hub for people.


Hey, how do you get the top tweets? Like do you especially filter those out based on no of likes/retweets? Also, do you have discover top threads of a person? Though, i think top tweets would cover the first tweet of a top thread too. Still, having thread specific feature would be nice and enticing to many users. great work!


I absolutely love this idea! I've been consuming nearly all of my news out of my inbox as of late, for a lot of the same reasons outlined in the homepage (information dieting, "reclaiming your time", etc).

Definitely going to try it out!


My inbox slowly became my information hub as well, and I always defaulted to it in the end. That's part of the reason Mailbrew was born.


Perfect. Exactly what I was looking for to send me the X top stories from HN everyday but $10 per month is way to much for this. $10 per year is what I would happily pay for receiving the HN newsletter every day.


I understand the sentiment, but disagree with the conclusion. If an information/continuing-education tool is exactly what I'm looking for and isn't prohibitively expensive for me, then it's worth it (note: recognizing that I'm assuming HN is such a tool for you). At $10/month, the tool is cheaper than what many folks pay for coffee.

Anecdotally, there are also lots of folks that say they can build something similar without having to spend the money, but how often do they actually build it? And how much time would they actually spend building it? If the existing tool works the way I want/need it to, I'm more likely to gain value by paying for that existing solution than building it myself.



Yeah, that article makes fair arguments, there are a lot of (often inaccurate) assumptions that go into comparing subscription services to the price of coffee.

I still think the comparison can be a useful way to measure one's own willingness to spend money because it can highlight how the cost of something seemingly mundane adds up. My armchair theory is that people don't always think about their cup of coffee (or anything that, in the moment, seems like a one-off expense) in terms of the annual cost, but they do think of subscription services in those terms (rightly so). And contextualizing e.g. coffee-spending in terms of annual cost can be a helpful way to determine for oneself whether a product is worth it.

And yes, it depends on how that individual values things, and it may not be the right comparison to make for you, but broadly, I think the exercise of thinking about how habitual costs add up is helpful. And again yes, this depends on the individual, maybe this is something you already do and have been doing for a long time so isn't helpful for you.

I agree the comparison isn't accurate and should be examined in context, but I don't think it should be avoided completely.


If you're looking for only HN stories, hndigest does it for free https://hndigest.com/

(note: I'm the maintainer of HNDigest)


Thanks, subscribed!


I'll build you a clone and charge $0.83 a month! Sound good?


That looks pretty sweet. I’ve noticed a few projects offering summaries lately. Is there a Google Cloud or some other service offering summaries? I’m curious if it’s been made simpler recently.


That would be super-interesting to us, an issue we have been struggling with is filtering/summarizing content from sources with lots of content such as RSS for sites like The Verge.


Was thinking about doing this via iOS 13 Automations, but certainly something I'll check out. I use Feedly which pulls in HN, my other many rss feeds and even Twitter. As use RSS to fav/save the top articles each day that I read later in Feedly Saved or Instapaper. If this service supports sending just content from Feedly Saved and/or Instapaper that would be great.


Actually looks like Instapaper offers an RSS feed of latest 25 items. So once can use Feedly to organize all RSS feeds, including pulling in from HN and Twitter, and use the native save feature in Feedly, that can also sync to Instapaper. And then use MailBrew to send that Instapaper feed to email, or create an automation on iOS 13.


This looks really cool, but the UI is unusable on mobile for me. The layout is broken and therefore many texts cannot be read. I will check this out once I'm back at my laptop.


Sorry about that, I thought we addressed mobile actually. What was broken specifically?


I'm a user of mailbrew when they launched their beta. Love how it makes all my reddit, twitter information overload bearable.


Unreadit comes to mind and probably is what inspired this service. Very cool.

I didn't see anyone else mention it, so I figure I should.


The team that is building Mailbrew has also built Unreadit.


Cool idea, imho a bit pricey for what it offers, I think per subscription billing would make more sense.


Good luck folks :)


Thanks man!




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