AllTop + Fluid = A Tasty News Drink

It's no secret that I'm something of a news junkie, and I like to be an efficient news junkie, too. That means I'm always on the look out for new ways to improve my news gathering and filtering arsenal, so imagine my delight when I stumbled across Guy Kawasaki's AllTop Web site.

Anyone that spends any length of time news hunting online invariably ends up at several different Web sites. That's just the nature of the beast. AllTop takes all of those sites you are most likely visiting anyhow and groups them together on a single page. The interface is clean and sleek, sites are organized in an easy to follow grid, and rolling over an article headline reveals a nice article synopsis.

Sure, I could see all of the same information in my RSS reader application -- and I do -- but that's not the point. The point with AllTop is that I get a slick overview of the Web sites that I'm going to be checking out anyhow, and yes, TMO is on the list.

AllTop by itself is pretty great, but I found a way to make it even more convenient for me thanks to a clever little application called Fluid. This crazy little app creates free-standing self contained applications for your favorite Web sites. I made an application for AllTop so I can keep up on what's new outside of my browser of choice (OmniWeb, for those keeping score) and outside of NetNewsWire and the hundreds of feeds I watch there.

Fluid relies on Mac OS X 10.5 technologies, so Tiger users are out of luck. Sorry, gang. For everyone that is running Leopard, however, this is a really cool way to create site-specific browsers for the specialized tasks you perform on a regular basis. Let's say you want a Gmail app, or maybe a dedicated app for your online banking. No problem. Just feed the URL to Fluid, and it handles the rest. As an extra bonus, your home made app doesn't keep a browser history, so you get a little more security out of the deal, too.

And now I swing my dialog train around and get back to my main point: AllTop is a really cool Web site, and even more so when running as a stand-alone application thanks to the techno-magic of Fluid.

I just love where all of this technology is going. I can't wait to see what happens next.