The only problem was that if you wanted to use AmpliFeeder you had to set it up yourself to run on an ASP.NET server. Seeing as most hosting companies charge extra for this, many people were priced out of using AmpliFeeder. Happily that’s now changed with the launch of a hosted version available to anyone with a FriendFeed account.
Explaining how it works, Amplifeeder founder Jon Paul Davies says, “Every single user of FriendFeed has an instance of AmpliFeeder already set up and they dont even know it. Just go to the login page and sign in via FriendFeed’s brand new OAuth security API (AmpliFeeder is the first application to use it) and you are good to go. AmpliFeeder stores no usernames and passwords”.
Because it uses FriendFeed’s infrastructure, you can view anyone’s FriendFeed lifestream via AmpliFeeder simply by visiting http://ff.amplifeeder.com/user/FRIENDFEEDUSERNAME – they don’t need to set it up first, it’s already there.
“It’s all done directly via FriendFeed. It uses FriendFeed as the data store, so all of your FriendFeed subscriptions power “the AmpliFeeder channels, no installation needed. Custom domains are supported too. AmpliFeeder is really just a rendering, display and theming engine. It can ‘skin up’ any web application and make it look just lovely!”
AmpliFeeder has twelve themes available, all named after songs by post-punk band Joy Division. My personal favourite is the default ‘Disorder’ (pictured here). If only the ‘I Love Internet’ text at the top was user-configurable it would be perfect. You can set the lifestream’s title and subheading but their location on the screen varies depending on the design.
The service is still in beta at present and I found it to be a little shaky at times this morning, however Davies and Paul Kinlan, who developed the hosted version of AmpliFeeder, were quickly on the case to solve the problem. They’ll doubtless be working hard to improve the service over the coming weeks.
What of the news that Facebook has bought FriendFeed? Davies tells me that if the FriendFeed API ever gets switched off they “…can quickly port AmpliFeeder to whatever FriendFeed/Facebook hybrid turns up next, so it’s business as usual as far as we are concerned”.
While the best results for lifestreaming still come from putting in the effort to design your own custom stream, AmpliFeeder makes it easy to have a good-looking representation of your online life with no effort at all, and for that the developers should be applauded.