I added a few too many feeds to my RSS reader recently, and it crossed the line from “a bit hard to follow, but I’ll manage” to “there are how many new items since an hour ago now??!”
Nobody suffers from information overload, just from poor filters, so the first thing I did was split the feeds into high-volume feeds, typically news sites that post 20 times a day that I usually just skim the headlines of, and low-volume feeds, personal blogs that post once a day or less and are usually worth reading when they do. I ended up with 30 feeds in the high-volume folder, at 500 posts a day, and 100 feeds in the low-volume folder, at 50 posts a day.
A good start. Then I thought: Is there some way I could randomly pick a post now and then from a high-volume feed and show it in the low-volume folder? Sort of to simulate dropping by a news site occasionally, just to see what’s going on.
And yes there is. Using the amazing service Yahoo Pipes, I’ve made a public pipe that takes a feed and “randomly” outputs just a few items from it.
To use it, go here, and fill in the URL of a feed, and the approximate factor you want to limit its content by. Click Run Pipe, then Get as RSS, and add that URL to your RSS reader.
It’s not really random, (“publication minute” % “the number you input” == 0), but it works, and I think it’s pretty cool.