Tag Archives: attensa

attensa releases new version :)

attensa logoAttensa released a new version of its rss reader for outlook/attention management software. Those who saw my presentation on attention data at barcamp london will have heard me talk about Attensa. It prioritises your feeds in a “river of news” view so that in theory at least you see the posts you want to first whilst still retaining the ability to jump easily to feeds you want to check less often.

The new version improved 2 key things for me – one was an error on startup of outlook (which when I ignored seemed not to interfere with the running of the software) and the other was the inability to use the scroll mouse with any accuracy. Both these have been fixed so I am now a very happy user of the Attensa reader 🙂

A desktop alert system was introduced in this release which I am hoping that it is just the first step along the way as all it does right now is tell you that a post has arrived from feed X. I’d much prefer it to tell me what the post is so that I can decide then and there whether I want to read it.

There are a few other major improvements i would like to see:

  • The first is to the river of news view – it still prioritises by feed rather than post – so even if some of the posts do not interest me at all they are prioritised along with the rest of them 🙁
  • The second is similar to the search boxes found all over Vista – the ability to type in a tag/keyword and immediately see the posts referring to it. I wonder if I would actually use this often but it certainly makes finding those posts easier and quicker 🙂

Overall though it is a very good RSS reader in itself (having the flexibility of both the river of news view, folders and integrated into the outlook application). It will be interesting to see how the attention management side of the application progresses over time as there is still plenty of room for improvement – not least by adding support for email.

solving the rss deluge 3 – touchstone

Well the hype and anticipation in my mind dissipated quite quickly – installing touchstone on my computer lasted all of 30 minutes. It is in alpha so I should not have expected so much but it is a shame nevertheless. It crashed constantly. I’ll install it on my non-production system and play with it there.

In the meantime it is back to Attensa for now..

solving the rss feed deluge 2

It has been 2 weeks since I wrote my first post on dealing with the large volumes of information coming at me through my rss feeds. I have been using Attensa to see whether this would solve my problems. Now its time to try Touchstone, one of the other products that tries to deal with attention management.

First though, how did Attensa go? There were problems initially with the beta – but I had a great response from the Attensa support team who worked with me to try and solve the problems. We got it working in the end, though not yet perfectly – it crashes outlook after several hours of having Outlook open and I cannot have it in my Exchange mailbox – but both of these will hopefully be solved in the next release, though unfortunately I do not have a timeline on when this will be 🙁

It was very interesting to use Attensa though – I definitely read different posts as a result of using the software. I would be interested to know more about how the prioritisation worked. I still found myself jumping down to posts that I knew were there but had been placed lower down the list somewhere. It definitely was more efficient than before however. There were several negatives that can really be expected at this early point in development so hopefully will improve over time (?):

– it seems to prioritise by feed and not post which was a shame.
– rss feeds that post more often were given a higher priority even if I read every post from those that post less often
– the ability to prioritise (or otherwise) keywords manually

Anyhow, the software was easy to use once I got it set up though scrolling with the mouse wheel in the river of news view is impossible (it jumps half a page at a time). Right now if the other attention management applications are not better I would still use Attensa over other readers.

So onto some good news 🙂 Touchstone emailed me giving me an invite to test the software. I almost missed it as for some reason gmail decided their emails were worthy of my junk folder! I am not sure why really. Certainly, nothing stood out from the emails as a reason why this would happen.

[update] touchstone rebranded to particls