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by Jacob O'Bryant

Read your tweets and books in Yakread

Following up from my previous two posts, I have finished implementing all the essential features for Yakread. The ranking algorithm is in place, you can upload you DRM-free ebooks, and you can connect your Twitter account.

This is from Yakread's connections page. Removing DRM from your already-purchased ebooks is left as an exercise for the reader. (Hint: you can do it with Calibre if you install a plugin.)

When you upload an ebook, Yakread will split it up into chapters and mix those in with the rest of your articles. You can see my current reading recommendations include chapter 5 of Reinventing Discovery:

And here's what an ebook chapter looks like:

Also on the connections page, you can add your Twitter account. If you do so, we'll take some of the tweets from people you follow and bundle them into posts. Each bundle-o-tweets includes up to 25 regular tweets and 10 retweets/quote tweets. The tweets are chosen like so:

  1. Start with all tweets in your timeline from the past 48 hours (or the most recent 1,000 tweets, whichever group is smaller). Filter out any tweets that have already been included in a previous bundle.
  2. Make a list of all the tweet authors from that group, then pick one author at random.
  3. Select their tweet that has the most likes + replies.
  4. Repeat from step 2.

And with that, all of Yakread's essential features are complete. It shoves all your content sources into a uniform article format and uses the ranking algorithm to reduce the firehose into a manageable set of choices. I love it. I use it every day, mostly in the evening. I'm spending more time reading stuff I care about, instead of only scrolling Twitter simply because it's the path of least resistance. Long stuff is on an equal playing field with short stuff.

It has plenty of rough edges though. It would be nice if long ebook chapters were broken up into shorter sections. Sometimes we don't get the correct chapter titles. Links within ebooks (i.e. if the ebook links to another place in the same book) are broken. Links and mentions inside tweets aren't formatted correctly. Videos and polls don't display. There isn't a real landing page yet. New users won't get any reading recommendations until after they add some content sources, and even then it can take a bit for the recommendations to be populated. Signing in can be inconvenient on mobile. And so on.

But, it does something genuinely useful, which is the hardest part. And now that I've scratched my own itch, I'm shifting back into business mode. I'll be working on whatever I think will be most helpful for other people and for getting Yakread to grow. If the next few months go well, I'll continue working on Yakread/The Sample/any other projects I start full-time; otherwise, we'll see 🙂.

Priority numero uno here is to get a small handful of early adopters who are interested in using Yakread (whether or not it currently has the features you need) and who are down to give feedback and stuff. If that might be you, join The Sample's discord server and say hi on the new #yakread channel. I've also published the roadmap.

Published 29 Aug 2022

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