Thanks for all that voted in my “name this app” poll. won by an 8 to 6 margin over I’m going to trust the voters on this one and go with it. It’s also time to announce the preview, since Silicon Florist and Metroblogging Portland have already covered it. Yes, I know it’s aesthetically challenged (though it’s much better than the first preview thanks to Matt at CouldBe Studios who hacked up my css), but I would love to hear feedback on the idea, content, and if you feel so inspired, design ideas.

Jump right into the Portland news to take a look.

LocalSignal is built for 3 types of uses:

  1. Quickly get the latest news, event info, and social media content from around the web for your city
  2. See what’s happening in a city you’re traveling or moving to
  3. See who’s online around you in your city

As is my custom, I usually give a back story when launching an app (here’s Web 2.0 Innovation Map and NetworthIQ). Basically, I was subscribing to a whole bunch of Portland feeds, and it was beginning to clutter up my reader. Feed readers are great, but the more feeds you follow the more difficult it is to keep up and need arises to find faster ways to filter. Also, when I took a trip last year to San Diego, I had been looking for something like this to get an idea of what was going on down there, maybe if there were any Web 2.0 type companies or events to check out. I also like to know what’s happening in Seattle to get a feel for overall Northwest happenings, but I certainly didn’t want to subscribe to those feeds, and didn’t want to build a new page in PageFlakes/Netvibes for any city I all of a sudden cared about. Finally, I’ve met a number of great people locally here in Portland as a result of my online activities, and would like to continue that tradition by finding the local people using various social platforms.

Putting those ideas together with my increasing use of Original Signal for news scanning, and the city-based single page aggregator now known as LocalSignal was born. Originally I was just trying to filter out universal social media platforms for local content (topix, newsvine,, technorati, MetaFilter, Ball Hype, Upcoming). If a site had feeds and some way to filter content by tag or location, I tried to utilize it. Unfortunately, I think the vision falls short by only relying on that method. Some feeds were too stale for that fine grained of content, and some too busy to find anything useful. For that reason, I’m starting to add more locally produced content.

If you’re wondering what the heck I’m doing building another app right now, as if I have the time. Well, I wonder myself sometimes. Focus was never my strong-point. But, I like to tinker and the feed plumbing was built back in February as I was brushing up on my PHP. Todd and I discussed some organization and design ideas in Aprilish, but I still let it simmer. Some recent events have given me the motivation to bring it down from the attic and get it out the door.

There’s still a number of things to do: UI improvements, showing new items since last visit, showing popular items (determined by clicks), and of course content content content (adding, removing, ordering) for the 53 cities currently being tracked.

Here’s some additional resources about news filtering methods: