If you haven't been invited to try Particls yet, you may be interested in this.
What is Particls?
Particls is a desktop alert program for RSS feeds. Instead of reading all of your feeds through a list such as in Google Reader, you can receive personalized alerts to your desktop through Particls. What's cool about Particls is that it doesn't show everything. First you customize the level of interruption, but then Particls will learn from you, taking note of which stories you stop to read, or click on. You can specify words to watch for, words to blacklist, and specific feeds to watch. You can even rate sources so Particls can make a better decision next time.
I don't see Particls as a replacement for my Google Reader. Instead, I think it has a completely different purpose. In my Reader account, all of my subscriptions are blogs that I am familiar with, etc. I usually don't keep subscriptions on news feeds. What's nice about Particls is that you can input a bunch of news sources such as CNN or Reuters (I think Particls automatically searches many of these). Then, as your news interests change, so will your watch list. During a tragedy such as the Virginia Tech shootings, you may want to add "Virginia" to your watch list, so you can keep up to date on the latest news. However you may not be fond of the latest political scandal, so you might want to blacklist politics, etc.
Other than Reddit and Digg, I don't have many news sources in my feed reader. It is great to keep up with the websites you love, but it is also important to keep up with real-world news, and that is what I believe Particls is most useful for.
How Can I Enter the Contest?
If you added your email to the beta list early, you may already have an account. If not, here is your chance to try it out. From tomorrow until next Tuesday, we will give out one Particls invite each day to email subscribers.
To enter, simply subscribe to Gearfire via email. (You can enter your email address in the box at the top-right corner of our sidebar). To choose the winners, we will randomly select an email from the list, and send the invite to there. Make sure your address is correct though, because we can only send the invite once!
Tip: Subscribe early. If you enter right away, you will have 7 chances, but if you wait, you will have less.
Temporary emails (such as firstname.lastname@example.org) will not be accepted! Simply because there is a good chance that you will forget about that account, and the invite will be wasted. If you are worried about spam, just unsubscribe later.
What if I have already subscribed via RSS?
I know there are many of you who are probably reading this in your feed reader right now. Unfortunately, we can't really track who is subscribed via RSS. If you still want to be entered in the contest, you will need to enter your email in the box. Don't worry, you can still unsubscribe at the end of the week. Email is just a much easier way to make the draw as fair as possible.
If you have any concerns, comments or suggestions, please drop a comment!