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                         /||
                         \ \\
        ,_       _,     _/ //
        |\\_____/||----- ____\
        |        |_------     |  :. :.
        |  {}{}  |            |
        |  =v=   |        ___ |  fraidycat
        |   ^    | _------ | ||
        | ,----, ||    ||| | ||  follow from afar
        | ||   | ||    ||| | ||
        | ||   | ||    ||' | ||  ~ blogs, wikis ~
        | ||   | ||        '-'      ~ twitter, reddit, insta, yt, etc ~
        | ||   | ||
        '-''   '-''                            :. :.

Fraidycat is a browser extension for Firefox or Chrome - or an Electron app - that can be used to follow folks on a variety of platforms. But rather than showing you a traditional 'inbox' or 'feed' view of all the incoming posts - Fraidycat braces itself against this unbridled firehose! - you are shown an overview of who is active and a brief summary of their activity.

  • Official Add-on for Firefox: Download
  • Official Extension for Chrome: Download
  • Official Packages for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X: Download

Here is my Fraidycat home page from October 25th, 2019:

My Fraidycat home page

Fraidycat attempts to dissolve the barriers between networks - each with their own seeming 'network effects' - and forms a personal network for you, a personal surveillance network, if you will, of the people you want to monitor. (It's as if the Web itself is now your network - imagine that.)

There are no fancy algorithms behind Fraidycat - everything is organized by recency. (Although, you can sort follows into tags and priority - "do I want to track this person in real-time? Is this a band that I am only interested in checking in on once a year?") For once, the point isn't for the tool to discern your intent from your behavior; the point is for you to wield the tool, as if you are a rather capable kind of human being.

Features

Follows are arranged by tag - each can have multiple tags - the tabbed bar along the top of the main page lets you select the tag to view. You then narrow down by importance - tags can be checked in 'real-time' or 'daily', 'weekly', 'monthly' and 'yearly'.

Follows are shown in dark green if they have been updated in the past two days, a plain cyan if they are up to a month old and in an unassuming light brown if they are over a month old. A small graph of activity over the past year is displayed - in pink (if showing the previous two months of activity) or in gray (if showing the past six months.)

Fraidycat is quite light on features - I am mostly focused on making sure that it supports a lot of different sites and that it safely syncs between your different computers.

Follow Support

Here is a current list of what is fully supported:

  • Feeds (RSS, Atom, JSON Feed). It will discover any feeds attached to the URL you supply. Many sites not listed (like Mastodon, micro.blog, Wikipedia, Kickstarter or Stack Overflow) will automatically work because of this. (ALL SITES SHOULD SUPPORT THIS COME ON FRIENDS! IT'S TOO EASY!)
  • TiddlyWiki. As odd as this seems, I use this heavily to follow wikis like philosopher.life and wiki.waifu.haus. The entire wiki is read every time it changes - so be aware that this can cause some strain on the extension.
  • Pinboard, YouTube and Reddit. These sites offer RSS feeds, but they are not discoverable (in the meta tags), so there is some logic to figure out these feeds for you.
  • Tiktok. Believe it!
  • Facebook. Public pages only.
  • Twitch. Including whether a streamer is 'live'!
  • Twitter. On older versions of Firefox, the Strict Tracking Protection may block this.
  • Instagram. Public accounts only, currently.
  • SoundCloud and Bandcamp. Spotify and Apple Music are not presently supported.
  • Kickstarter, Patreon, Pinterest, Tumblr, Steam, Are.na and more!

Feel free to file an issue for any site you want added - I will try to help you!

Sync Support

The only way to sync your follows at the moment is through your browser account. So, if you are using Firefox, you must be signed in as the same user with the same browser and Fraidycat installed on both machines.

Sync support is not sophisticated! It cannot do complex merging of changes. It also may take a few minutes for a browser to update from a sync.

You can really only get sync support if you install from an official web store or if you install from source in Chrome.

Be aware that each browser will fetch feeds independently - so they may fall out of sync as they try to stay updated. However, every time you add or edit or remove a follow, your other computers will be notified.

Importance

Fraidycat lets you assign an 'importance' to your feeds. They are:

  • Real-time. ("Keep me as up-to-date as you can.") Currently, this checks the follow every 5-10 minutes.
  • Daily. ("I usually just check in as part of a morning routine.") Fraidycat will actually check this every 1-2 hours.
  • Weekly and Monthly. ("My visits here are only occassional" or "This follow doesn't update much.") Checks are done at least once a day.
  • Yearly. ("I don't keep up with this, but I don't want to lose it either.") Also checked at least once a day. So, when you get around to checking these, they should be up-to-date.

Fraidycat attempts to send ETags and Last-Modified headers so that feeds aren't actually refetched if they haven't changed.

Installation

Presently I really only encourage use of Fraidycat as a web extension for Firefox and Chrome. (I also use it with Vivaldi - works great.) The Electron app works, but lacks support for syncing between machines, which is rather crucial. I also have a proof-of-concept Dat website - but Beaker still needs to release some fixes I have submitted - only then I will feel okay promoting it on the Dat network.

Building the Firefox / Chrome Web Extension

If you're checking out the code from Github, make sure you've installed git-lfs first. Then, clone normally.

Then, to build the web extension, use:

npm install
npm run webext
npm run webext:safe

(The final step eliminates some code that triggers Mozilla's security scan. This code is unused by Fraidycat and is included by its dependencies.)

The extension will appear in a build/webext folder. You can then load that "unpacked" extension from the browser - as a 'temporary add-on', for example, in Firefox.

To use Fraidycat, click on the 'F' icon in the browser toolbar.

(Be aware that syncing may not work when using the extension in this way - it does in Chrome, though.)

Building the Windows / Max / Linux Standalone

If you're checking out the code from Github, make sure you've installed git-lfs first. Then, clone normally.

Then, to build the Electron app:

npm install -D
npm run electron:mac
(or: npm run electron:windows)
(or: npm run electron:linux)

A dist directory will contain the appropriate installers.

(Syncing is not supported in the standalone apps yet.)

License

Fraidycat is distributed under the Blue Oak Model License 1.0.0. Read it here.

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Follow blogs, wikis, YouTube channels, as well as accounts on Twitter, Instagram, etc. from a single page.

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