Skip to main content

iGoogle versus Netvibes (versus Yahoo! versus MSN versus A Billion Others...)

The gloves are on, the bookies are taking bets, and everyone is gathering around for... wait, wait... does anyone care? I don't. Here's why.

Seriously who uses these things? Do you have such a light inflow of email and feeds that you can afford the time to keep these Yahoo-loving pages up to see and barely do a damn thing? If you aren't keeping this page as your top window, there is little point. The whole thing is about passive information. Oh, look at that quote. Hmm, its 7 AM.

If we're going to build web services that collect a lot of tools around a single page, then personalized home pages are entirely the wrong direction to take. We're an always on kind of computer using society, so how often do you see a homepage? Hell, I don't even set my homepage anymore, because I only see it once every month or so.

However, I do have my feed reader open and look at it at least once per hour that I'm actually at my computer. I can't think of anything that couldn't or shouldn't be pushed right through there. My GMail inbox, event notifications, quote of the days, and everything else would be far better pushed through one hole: my reader. The fun little widgets are interesting distractions, but they don't have a place in a reader, and there really is no love loss there. They serve no purpose and even as entertainment are barely on anyone's radar.

Again, however, there are some cases where the things we're doing in widgets could easily be adapted to a feed environment. Take, for example, the common widget/gadget in all widget/gadget families, which might be a simple 15 Pieces game. It would make no sense to have such a widget (and many widgets are equally insensible), which takes up space to be so sparsely used. Sparse used doesn't diminish the actual use, so how can it fit? Let it come up in my feed reader every now and then. I can play a bit and then continue reading, knowing that it will come around again to continue later. Information is nice when its in tiny chunks.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

On Pruning Your Passions

We live in a hobby-rich world. There is no shortage of pastimes to grow a passion for. There is a shortage of one thing: time to indulge those passions. If you're someone who pours your heart into that one thing that makes your life worthwhile, that's a great deal. But, what if you've got no shortage of interests that draw your attention and you realize you will never have the time for all of them?

If I look at all the things I'd love to do with my life as a rose bush I'm tending, I realize that careful pruning is essential for the best outcome. This is a hard lesson to learn, because it can mean cutting beautiful flowers and watching the petals fall to the ground to wither. It has to be done.

I have a full time job that takes a lot of my mental energy. I have a wife and a son and family time is very important in my house. I try to read more, and I want to keep up with new developments in my career, and I'm trying to make time for simple, intentional relaxing t…

The Insidiousness of The Slow Solution

In software development, slow solutions can be worse than no progress at all. I'll even say its usually worse and if you find yourself making slow progress on a problem, consider stopping while you're a head.

Its easy to see why fast progress is better: either you solve the problem or you prove a proposed solution wrong and find a better one. Even a total standstill in pushing forward on a task or a bug or a request can force you to seek out new information or a second opinion.

Slow solutions, on the other hand, is kind of sneaky. Its insidious. Slow solution is related the Sunk Cost Fallacy, but maybe worse. Slow solutions have you constantly dripping more of your time, energy, and hope into a path that's still unproven, constantly digging a hole. Slow solutions are deceptive, because they still do offer real progress. It is hard to justify abandoning it or trying another route, because it is "working", technically.

We tend to romanticize the late night hacking…

Finding "One Game A Month"

I was really excited about the One Game A Month challenge as soon as I heard about it.
For about two years I've struggled in fits and starts to make my way into game development. This hasn't been productive in any of the ways I hoped when I started. Its really difficult to be fairly experienced as a developer, which I believe I am in my day job as a web developer, while struggling really hard at an area in which your experience just doesn't exist.
Its like being a pilot who doesn't know how to drive.

But this challenge provided a new breath to this little hobby of mine. It gave me a scaffolding to experiment, to learn, to reflect on finished projects. I had spent far too much time on game projects that stretched on far past their exciting phases, bogged down by bad decisions and regret.
And it has worked.
I have a lot to learn. I have a lot of experience to gain through trial and error and mistake and discovery. I have a lot of fun to be had making more small games t…