• Glenn Wilson
    SMAFAQ recently celebrated its two year anniversary and we've been posting the news for a bit over a year now. With the onset of the novel coronavirus the amount of news we publish every day has increased. A few months ago I was spending many hours every day finding news sources and identifying stories to publish. The amount of effort was not sustainable. More than one person has asked me what will happen when I get burned out.

    That led me to the creation of some automated tools to make this process easier, for me, and ultimately more sustainable for me or someone else.

    You can see the result of some of that effort in the Morning and Afternoon news. For example, here is the one from the morning of July 21. These SMAFAQ articles that aggregate the news are machine generated and machine translated and I can now generate those articles with a few clicks. Machine translation is far from perfect (and sometimes just plain wrong) but it makes the process possible. I also now use much of this material the daily News and Coronavirus Update. This all helps to make the process sustainable for me.

    The hard part is limiting the output to a manageable size. It is easy to generate more news than anyone can consume. So, there needs to be some way to filter it. Fortunately, SMAFAQ has a character limit per post so early on I needed to filter the automatically generated news to fit within those constraints.

    The automated tooling comes at a cost. The machine translation is not free. Cost is another side of sustainability. If I want SMAFAQ to be sustainable, or even just the news publishing aspect of it, it needs a stable source of funding. The machine translation is not the only cost but it is the most recent addition. None of this is terribly expensive, but if I didn't fund it, probably no one would.

    Which has led me to the idea of commercializing the automated news tool. I now have a web site, not quite ready for prime-time, that is based on the news tool I created for SMAFAQ. Since it is automated, it is able to update the news many times throughout the day (instead of twice daily as I do here with the Morning and Afternoon news). Also, in theory, it can address a wider scope than just SMA or GTO.

    Funding-wise, I plan to accept ads on the new site and to start accepting ads here on SMAFAQ. You may start to see some here soon. I don't expect the ad revenue to generate millions but it might cover some of the costs of operating the sites. We'll see.

    Meanwhile, if you are curious about the new news site and are willing to try to provide some useful feedback let me know. It could use some testing. Leave a comment here or email me at .

    All feedback is welcome.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Ira Goldman
    sign me up. How is everyone doing? How's Schuster?
  • Glenn Wilson
    We're kinda busy right now, but we're all good. Including @Schuster. :smile: I sent you a link via email.
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