Cross-posted from the Particls blog.
Up until now Chris and I have been in the nuts-and-bolts part of the project. As a consequence the app “seems” stable (/me touches wood) and we are now free to do more interesting things. So far we have been doing LOADS (and I mean LOADS!) of planning and design behind what I consider to be at the very heart TouchStone – The Attention Engine.
Now we can begin focusing on the ‘Visible Innovation’ part. Breaking down the things you care about into a single and intrinsic number. The iAM Rating.
But ranking items based on stuff I like isn’t enough! Because, for most people, just subscribing to a feed is an indication of interest. So, we have to consider other factors.
To be honest, programmatically, I have been a little frightened of the iAM binary. It’s so important to nail it! So far our plans are pretty ambitious and the basic core of iAM (processing items as they are injected into the Attention Engine based on source and keywords defined within an XML file) is functioning already – what’s been lacking has been the interface and the more advanced bias calculations. This lack of any interface has worked extremely well for me, because while there is no way to configure the XML file, I don’t have to code it!
Chris recently upset this delicate balance by actually developing the iAM interface mockups for the release of the Limited Alpha!
‘iAM’ is so exciting though, because it isn’t JUST a keyword scanner and ranking system. It’s a whole system to scrutinize the items based on:
Content (keywords and source)
Source (where it came from)
Author (who generated the item)
History of past items that got your attention (by scanning items for similarities to items marked as read in the cache file)
Buzz value (how popular is the item on the internet and to other people)
The publishers recommended importance (so publishers and bloggers could distinguish the variable importance of items they generate)
All this is very exciting, but it’s STILL not enough. TouchStone is also about allowing the user to configure the DELIVERY of items based on the iAM determined value. So we will work on those “visualization widgets” as well.
It’s great to see all these things finally start to come together. While we are quite proud of our ticker, it’s time to move forward and finally uncomment the code that fires off the other alerts. Soon guys and gals – soon we shall be firing off SysTray, Cursor, Centre Screen Modal, and (my personal favorite) Compact SysTray alerts based on things you deem important.
Enjoy the Limited Alpha (those that have it) and those that don’t – email email@example.com already!