We think mobile rivers are a great idea; Dave Winer’s New York Times river and BBC river are terrific ways to check the news when you aren’t at your desk. But what about your friend’s great blog? Or the Arc90 blog? Shouldn’t there be an easy way to check those on the go, too?
Unfortunately, since most blogs don’t offer mobile-friendly output (and most blogging software doesn’t easily facilitate it), the odds are that your favorite blog won’t offer a mobile version. The Arc90 blog isn’t even particularly super on a Treo. But most blogs today do offer a cool little technology called RSS that has a whole lot of applications.
Enter the Arc90 River Reader at http://river.arc90.com/. Give it a feed and it will hand back a simple page primed for mobile viewing. Now any page that offers an RSS feed can be mobilized. The Reader will also make links to the article go through Skweezer, so they look good for your mobile device. Here’s the Arc90 lab’s feed.
Would you rather use Google’s optimizer instead of Skweezer? No problem. We support that too; if you pass the optional “opt” parameter set to google, your links will adjust accordingly. Here’s the same Arc90 lab feed, but this time, the article links will be Google-ified instead.
Since the Arc90 River Reader accepts input on the fly, you could post to it with any feed URL and get back a mobilized feed – all it needs is <span class="sidenote" title="If the parameter doesn't exist, the input doesn't make sense or the feed is malformed, you just get the input box again. Try it. No ugly error messages.”>an “rss” parameter. This means you can leverage the awesome flexibility of RSS. For example, here’s New York City weather for your phone, or NYC traffic. Maybe you and a friend are out to dinner and need to find a movie to go to. With an Arc90 River Reader feed, all of this stuff comes to your mobile device.
Try it out, and let us know what you think.