Gritwire – Cool Flash Reader, Stupid Launch Party

Illinois-based Gritwire, a new Flash based RSS reader, launched today at the Syndicate Conference in San Francisco.

These new Flash applications are always visually stunning, even if they are not as fast as their Ajax counterparts. GritWire is no exception – its well designed.

The RSS reader is functional but not spectacular. There are OPML import options and a feed search, but images are not shown in the reader and most (all?) formatting is also stripped out.

There are, however, a number of additional features, including a podcast player, alerts (I can’t seem to make this work) and a “wiki” feature. The wiki is a basic text box that can be edited by you and, I assume, your friends. It’s a nice collaboration tool (I want something like this wiki on my desktop for easy group working).

The Gritwire blog is here. Gritwire is hosting a big open bar launch party tonight at a San Francisco bar called The Cellar – in my opinion this was a bad idea. Expensive launch parties are very Web 1.0. Instead of throwing a party (and spending all your time asking everyone to attend), you should have just rented a room and demo’d the product for bloggers and other journalists all day. Very few people who show up for the free booze will give a damn about your product. I did, however, have a great conversation with Steven Cohen about Gritwire at the Pluck get together this evening. My guess is he’ll write more about Gritwire tomorrow sometime.

And I went home early (ignoring your party) so that I could test your product and write about it.