I’m a bit of a tech news junkie. Some people want to keep up on stocks and financial news. Some people want to keep up with politics. Some people have to know what’s going on right now in current events. Some people always have to know the latest automotive news. Me, I have to know what the newest gadgets are, what the latest and greatest web application is, and what’s new in social media. So, when offered the opportunity to get a never ending stream of news tailored just for me, I thought, fantastic!
A couple months back I wrote a post on a new web service called Ohpan from Atype Studios. It basically aggregates all the news in the world and streams it to you. As you tell it what stories you like and which ones you don’t it begins to learn your likes and dislikes and your news feed gradually becomes more and more you.
Now, Ohpan has taken it to the next logical level and is offering an iPhone app so you never have to be without the news you love. Instead of a left to right stream of news, you get new news articles as you scroll down. This is different than other online news feeds where the new stuff always shows up at the top, but it makes sense to have it this way on the iPhone. As you use the service, you will see why. I’m not a very technical guy so I can’t explain exactly how they do it. I assume fairy dust and happy thoughts have something to do with it, but I could be wrong. There are a number of features I want to cover in this review so I will just start listing them out.
- Stream: This is your main source of news. All the new stuff shows up here and you can tap on any of the news headlines for more information
- Articles: When you tap on an article you can quickly “star” it to let Ohpan know you want more news like it, or “strike” it to let them know you don’t want similar stories. From the article you can go to the original and Ohpan will take you there. You can email the story. You can publish the story to a social network, or, and this is cool, you can send the story to Twitter.
- Localization: Ohpan will use the location from your iPhone to further tailor your experience
- My Stars: You can always go back to see the stories you like in the “My Stars” section to make it easier to review and share stories you have already read
As of right now I have noticed a few issues with the service, but bear with it; it is a work in progress:
- The stream seems to load slow unless using a wifi connection (of course I am on the antique iPhone so that could just be me)
- Heavy use of the stream will kill your battery
- I am unable to log-in using my Ohpan web account. And, the web log-in connects to facebook and/or gmail, the iPhone app doesn’t offer these log-in options
- The user preferences seem to forget who you are and where you are when you close the application
- Location based information doesn’t do much for customization
- Locations are finite. You are given a list of locations to chose from, your location may not be there…yet
There is plenty more for you all to find out about on your own, but these were some of the features that I found most useful and some of the issues I found most annoying. As with the web based service, I found that the Stream became more and more specialized to my likes rather quickly. There are more screen shots below for your viewing pleasure. And here is a link to some more information (http://drop.io/ohpanPR), more screen shots, and a link to the app store. Overall, I find this to be a very useful application for on the go news. Look for a lot more updates, add-ons, and features from the Crazy Canadians at Ohpan.