It's a web-based gui, and very simple to get going.
Turns out I just had to drag a couple of boxes around.
Step 1: Swap over the "link" and "description" elements in the feed. But this leaves the link from the "description" with an unnecessary HREF around it, and the link from the "link" withough a needed one.
Step 2: Use a regex to encapsulate the url new "description" element in an HREF.
Step 3: Use a regex to extract the url from the new "link" element.
Step 4: There is no step 4.
Looks like it has a lot of potential.
You can see the finished version at here at http://pipes.yahoo.com/andrewducker/hackernews
One of the nicest things is that you can take that one, clone it, and do your own thing with it - which is how I got started...
*It wasn't just spent doing that. There was also an hour and a half involving a webcam and Julie. You don't get a screenshot of _that_ though.