Sam Brown

Fever° Red hot. Well read.

FeverFever is now available! The moment you have all been waiting for.

“Fever takes the temperature of your slice of the web and shows you what’s hot.”

Shaun Inman’s latest creation will ultimately change the way you use RSS. Massive unread counts, unsubscribing from the noise and dreading opening your feed reader will all be things of the past. Find out why I’ve been on a subscription binge with Fever.

Main feature: the Hot tab

Fever Hot Tab

There are three main tabs in Fever, Hot, Kindling and Sparks. Shaun describes how these work better than I ever could:

To make the most of the Hot list, Fever asks you to make a simple distinction between essential and supplemental feeds. Essential, must-read feeds are Kindling. Supplemental, low signal-to-noise feeds are Sparks. Sparks ignite Kindling raising the temperature of items and links that should not be missed.

The Hot tab gauges the temperature of everything you are subscribed to by taking into account how often something is being talked about. Fever works better when you are subscribed to lots of feeds, both essential and supplemental.

The Kindling view works as you would expect an online feed reader to work, you have a list of all of your feeds and favicons with all of the latest entries at your disposal, be sure to check out the super handy keyboard shortcuts for a mouse-less experience.

Fever Interface

Advantages of using Fever

1. Automatic Updates

Installation is a breeze, only a couple of small files are needed to install Fever on your domain. All future updates will be downloaded automatically, can’t wait for this feature in Mint 3!

2. Self Hosted

I’m a massive fan of self-hosted apps as many will know and I’m glad this is another.

3. The Hot Tab

This is one of the major selling points of Fever and trust me, it has changed how I use RSS. With customisable date ranges you can really fine tune how you want the hot tab to work.

4. Powerful Preferences

Hide the dreaded unread counts, behaviour and display modifications as well as cron enabled auto-refreshing and a super handy bookmarklet (Feedlet) for subscribing to new sites.

5. Blacklists

To help prevent ads becoming listed as Hot items, you don’t want that now!

6. Good Looks

As with anything Shaun touches, the code and the design are of the highest calibre.


To sum up, I have been using Fever since April 2008 – moving away from desktop applications NewsFire and NetNewsWire took a bit of getting used to but I haven’t looked back since.

Like Mint, this app is not for everybody, you may be happy with Google Analytics and Google Reader and that’s great, Shaun has no qualms about that.

If you want something that’s different, new and promotes the power of RSS you really should think about giving Fever a serious look in. A big congrats to Shaun!

Post a link to this on Twitter ↩


Rockers Delight 17 June 2009, 02:03 #1

Looks great, but I don’t know if I’d get used to moving away from NetNewsWire (even though I hate, hate, hate the icon). I got my proverbial balls busted on Twitter for asking if Fever synced across different Macs. >_< I’m definitely going to think about making a purchase.

nathan 17 June 2009, 11:05 #2

I’m trying hard to love this, but it’s driving me insane that it takes up so much horizontal space in my browser.

Also every time I load ‘hot’ it has the same items. Does it not take into account read items? I check my feed reader like every 10 minutes, I don’t want to keep seeing the same content.

The big temperatures are cool looking but don’t actually add much, having the list ordered by temperature is enough, I don’t care what the actual value is.

It is totally beautiful and impressive though. I’m going to force myself to use it and see if I can’t get used to it’s quirks.

John Fredrickson 17 June 2009, 11:21 #3

Fever looks pretty sweet so far. I just discovered I can add my twitter stream to my sparks which is a huge plus. Since I mainly use Twitter to find interesting links, this is a perfect use for it.

I can’t seem to tell if hot links only come out of the kindling though. Can links ignite out of only sparks, or do they have to be in the kindling to get ignited?

Joel Helin 17 June 2009, 13:22 #4

I was blown away by the design, but I don’t know if the application is for me. You see, I’m still in the past using bookmarks in my browser. I also love the idea with self-hosted applications.

Maybe this is what I needed to get out of my miles long bookmarks?

Julian Schrader 17 June 2009, 22:34 #5

I just installed fever on my server and it looks great, to say the least.

This really helps with my reading and omits the stress induced by unread counts.

Nathan 18 June 2009, 07:02 #6

How do you organize all your feeds? Everything I imported from google went into kindling, it will take me forever to move 90% of the feeds to sparks.

Also, can I not display full content of posts? It seems like I’ll have to click every item I want to read and go to that site. I like being able to browse headlines in google reader, expand, read it, then move to the next. Does fever expect that you will only want to read a summary within fever, then go to the actual site?

Sam Brown 18 June 2009, 07:15 #7

Nathan – You should be able to export your OPML file from Google with Groups intact and Fever will respect those when you import them, moving high signal-to-noise feeds into Sparks obviously has to be done manually as these are personal preference.

You can of course display full content posts, simply go to the Preferences and uncheck ‘excerpt items’, you can do this on a Global (all feeds), Group or Individual Feed basis.

Or when scanning through the feed items with the spacebar, hitting numeric 0 on the keypad will open the full article, likewise clicking a feed item will open it’s full article within Fever.

Ian P. Hines 21 June 2009, 08:25 #8

Thanks for the perspective. I’ve been trying to find all the user reaction I can on this, since there is no preview available.

I think I’m going to go for it.

Preshit 23 June 2009, 00:47 #9

I’ve been using Fever for the past few days and I can certainly say that the Hot Tab is going to change the way people look at feeds. But I can’t help but wonder if Fever references the shortened URLs on twitter. If I add a few twitter feeds to Sparks, does Fever reference the bit.lys and tr.ims as well?

Commenting has closed for this article. Feel free to me.

Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.