FeedDigest undergoing upgrades

Due to our recent massive expansion, it is necessary for us to make serious investments in our infrastructure. That starts now. A nice dual processor machine with lashings of RAM and bandwidth has just joined us, and I'm almost ready to move some essential services over it to improve your FeedDigest experience. There's a little hold up, however, so I'm not making any promises it'll be all roses until the 10th. All being well, however, you may notice a big change by the end of Thursday!

Signups will return once this phase of the infrastructure upgrade is complete, most likely on Saturday 10th. Thanks for your patience!

Maintenance and migration time

You may notice signups from the front page are currently disabled. This is because FeedDigest is undergoing some maintenance in preperation for a migration to a new architecture in the next week or two. Signups will be back on ASAP. Do note that all signed up users can continue to access their control panels and create digests as before, so if you're already a user, log in.. and, you can do whatever you like :-) For all those without FeedDigest accounts so far, patience, I'm afraid, but good things are on the way!

Katrina Aftermath

I was delighted to hear of Andy Carvin's innovative use of FeedDigest to help deal with the rush of news and information surrounding the Hurricane Katrina tragedy this week. He's using FeedDigest to make a number of digests surrounding Katrina news, missing persons, and the blogosphere reaction. Better yet, he's serving it all of his free BlogSpot blog. I'm honored that FeedDigest can help deliver information to people who may have urgent use for it through these desperate times. Good work, Andy.

Downtime and the solution

Last night there was approximately ninety minutes of intermittent service from FeedDigest which caused a few problems for many users. The service was fully up and running again pretty quickly, but obviously there was an impact. I am still investigating the cause of the problem.

Lessons learned:

  • getting an e-mail-to-phone account so I can learn about downtime the second it occurs!
  • not to take a day off because that's always the one day things go wrong ;-)
  • get our new proxy system implemented ASAP

The new proxy system is an interesting one. From a year of RSS Digest, and now Feed Digest, I've learned that having 24/7 rock solid service delivery is of utmost importance, especially when you have paying customers.

At FeedDigest's level though, it's not viable to have rooms full of servers (not just yet anyway!) running the heavy-load FeedDigest software. It is certainly viable, however, to have multiple lighter systems in place to act as proxy/caches to FeedDigest. We'd simply associate with a round robin DNS so that a random proxy/cache server is hit for each request, and then that does the talking to the main FeedDigest servers. In that way, the service never appears to be down, even if a backend server is! The 90 minutes of issues yesterday have underlined that this should be high on the priority list now. Thanks for your support, notifications, and help in troubleshooting.

Secondly, keep your eyes on this blog for a major announcement in the next few days. Yes, FeedDigest is about to hit the big time. It was all signed and sealed several days ago, and it's almost ready to go public..

Lawyers using FeedDigest to monitor news

It's above my head, but a blog about appellate law practice has looked at how to use RSS and Feed Digest to monitor the legal systems they're interested in. The poster says: FeedDigest [...] also allows for filtering, so, for example, you can filter a Federal Register feed by only the subject you want, or limit a court feed to only certain keywords. So, you no longer have to pay for Westclip.

It appears Westclip is a news search and query tool geared towards the legal industry. I can't imagine it's cheap, so it's great to hear how people in such a niche industry as appellate law can use tools such as RSS and FeedDigest to monitor the information they want.

Danish review of Feed Digest

Anyone speak Danish? Could you translate a seemingly good review of FeedDigest in Danish for me? The writer links to some interesting examples, particularly this page which appears to be powered by a FeedDigest RSS feed.

Feed Digest user directory

I'm going to put together a bumper index of the sites which use Feed Digest. A lot of the information will be collected from referral strings, but I'll also need your help. I'm going to set up a page where you can submit your site's details, and I'll get it up ASAP. For now, however, if you want to leave a comment here with a link to your site and, if you wish, information about how you use Feed Digest, please do!

I'm also going to be resurrecting the practice of linking to 'donors', but in this case I'll be linking to paid up users of Feed Digest on a special page. This was a popular feature of the RSS Digest site, so I'm looking forward to bringing this online ASAP.

More blog mentions

Something I've learned about tools like Technorati and Feedster is that, well, they really don't track blog mentions that well after all. Feed Digest has had a lot more coverage than these tools have reported to me..That said, here are some recent blog mentions of note:

Thanks guys! (I am now trying some slightly different searches and tools to look for citations, I'll report on any results!)

Added 2 hours later.. well done to Feedster and Scott Rafer for being on the ball and commenting here. I've now been checking Feedster's look at my citations, and they're pretty good. Perhaps I'll have to start recommending them over Technorati. A bit of a shame as I love Technorati's new cute look, but.. it's all about the results. Off to try IceRocket in further depth too now..

LockerGnome reviews FeedDigest

LockerGnome has reviewed FeedDigest. I won't go into the details, but some quotes.. [..] a great RSS radar tool. Do we have a market leader in this category here? and [..] it actually offers much more under the hood than I first anticipated. Thanks guys!

Get ready for some posts about FeedDigest's imminent expansion and feature release plans..

Why RSS Digest became FeedDigest

Richard MacManus has solicited opinions on the branding of RSS or 'feeds'. The comments are interesting, but go exactly as I'd expect. The term 'feed' is now ubiquitous and obvious, whereas 'RSS' is more arcane. Most people in the industry know what RSS is, but 'feed' is significantly more useful to be able to market the concept to end-users.

In renaming RSS Digest to FeedDigest, I took a number of things into consideration. First, companies like FeedBurner and Feedster were cropping up, whereas companies beginning with 'RSS' weren't to be seen. Secondly, FeedDigest deals with RSS and Atom (and soon OPML) so sticking solely to 'RSS' seemed short-sighted. Lastly, 'RSS' is technical jargon, whereas 'feed' or 'Web feed' has the ability to take the technology to the masses. Much like the invention of the term AJAX caused a whole industry to flourish, so shall 'Web feed'.