Wow Wow! Stitcher.com – Pandora of news / talk radio

Works on IPhone. Big selection of customized audio news, on Iphone. No more chintzy local radio for me.

Its huge – he ability to listen to NPR, WSJ, and Top Rated Podcasts on your PC or IPhone – they have a huge list of categories that you can choose from – and their algorithm notices what you like and don’t like – delivering you better stuff the more you liten.

Amazing stuff – this will be my go-to source for news for the foreseeable future.  Go Stitcher.

Interesting thoughts from TC:

I have mixed feelings about Stitcher’s potential. While the desktop-based version of the website works as advertised, I have a hard time picturing many people sitting at their computers listening to recommended news articles and debates. This works well enough with music, but news content is much more involved – generally you need to pay more attention to what is being said, which probably isn’t how most people will want to spend their free time.

On the other hand, the iPhone version of the site has a chance to be a runaway success. The prospect of having my favorite blogs and podcasts streamed to my iPhone without ever having to sync up with a computer is very appealing. Right now the iPhone version of the site is clunky, mostly because of issues with iPhone’s integrated Quicktime player (though streaming over Edge works surprisingly well). But these problems should be short-lived, as Stitcher’s development team is hard at work on a native iPhone application which could see the service really start to shine this June, when Apple releases its sanctioned app store.

I totally agree.  While the PC version of this might be useful for some, the mobile version has the potential to be a game-changer.  I’m very impressed that they’re even reading top blogs aloud to provide this quality audio content to our phones.  I will definitely be using and paying attention to this company.

Customized News Innovation, Feed Filtration, Relevance…

The problem many people face is that there are so many sources of information that we’re trying to keep track of, we’ve become buried. Information overload is a real problem for many web users, and one way to cope with it is to filter your RSS feeds so you only see what you want to see.  There are many ways to filter news feeds from your favorite sources, including passively by relying on meme trackers like Techmeme or social news services such as Google Reader’s shared items.

My biggest problem is that each of my feeds is a single, sequential series of posts that is organized by time, NOT by importance or relevance to me.  With a super-bright friend, I’ve been working on some interesting new ideas in feed filtration.  Imagine a website that had the most interesting and relevant information for YOU.  A sort of fully customized TechMeme…a YouMeme.

Poking around, I’ve found several interesting attempts at solving this challenge:

Feedhub.com –  learns from your behavior to suggest posts to you – so far, the user interface and service looks pretty sweet.  It gave me my own feed, based on my OPML, which I added to Google Reader, and it will look at my history and give me feeds back.  TBD.

** FeedZero.com –  It uses Bayesian filtering to present you with a list of filtered feed items – all you need to do is subscribe to a bunch of feeds, mark which ones you like and don’t like (similar to classifying items as spam or not spam in an email client) and it’ll learn your preferences.  It has just gone into testing so any feedback would be appreciated – http://www.feedzero.com.  I loaded up my OPML here and it does some interesting things.

The interface is sometimes clumsy in operation but clever in its layout.  Seems fairly effective at choosing stories I’ll like.  This bayesian method must be interesting.  So far, so good.  Despite the somewhat clumsy interface, the news it is filtering for me is good.  Great case in point, after only one day (yesterday) of reading posts and saying ‘yes / no’ to certain ones, it loaded up several articles.  The 3rd one, which impressed me the most, was a post about the sale of the domain name, solarenergy.com.  It knows I like domain names, it knows I like solar energy, and it spooled up THAT article, out of several hundred it could have shown me.  It’s also doing well on other themes too – it’s awesome enough to have this sort of service that I find myself reading MORE news overall, because of the consistently high relevance of the stories to ME.

There are a LOT of other services that are doing something in this sphere:  AidRSS, FeedRinse, FilterMyRSS, BlastFeed, etc, but for me, the two above look the most interesting.

TBD if the end result of all of this is (a) to build my own company that does this, or (b) that FeedZero or some other service is useful enough that it is unwise and unnecessary to dive in myself.