Sorry Facebook. Paddy Says – No Can Do!

Irish Paddy“How’s it going there FB? How’s the health? Wife not getting you down? Good. Good.

C’mere to me FB. I’ve been looking at all them new buttons and wigdets and “like” things you sent us t’other day and I wanted to run a few things past ya. To yer face as it were, coz, ya know, I didn’t want you getting the wrong idea.

We’ve always had a fairly descent friendship you and I. I’ve scratched your back and you’ve scratched mine, so to speak. I’ve given you my personal details, me pictures, videos, duck eggs when you wanted them and encouraged folks to go join that club of yours. I’ve even spread the word about your club with fliers and with them wee share buttons and “follow” buttons for the pages I have and I’ve even looked at all that daft advertising on the wall and the side of the page to, you know, offset your costs for all them waiters you’ve got working for you. What? Oh Servers? Servers…  Sorry.

In return, well, you know I’d ‘ve been happy with a few pints, but instead you’ve sent me the bit of traffic here and there. You know, the old eyeballs that have followed them share things to my sites. ‘N that’s been grand and all. Don’t get me wrong, but this new comments box?

Seriously, ‘tween yourself and meself – Your having a joke right? A bit of a lark? Yer taking the piss expecting folks like meself to stick that up on me site?

Don’t interrupt will ya. Let me finish. I know that Aussie, Duncan Riley at the Inquisitr, has done it, but what do ya expect? He’s not from around here.  He’s Australian, what do they know ya bleedin eejit? It’s all them barbecued Koala’s they eat. Does funny things to a man… Not like a good leg of lamb and some spuds.. Anyway.. where was I? Oh yes…

Do ya really need all the comments that Geraldine and Patrick leave on the internets being pumped in to your system there? Don’t ya think there’s a better way, I mean, I put a lot of work into my site. Had some bloke says he knows S&M and A.D.D. tell me the work was top notch ‘n all. He also told me that I could use some weird Japanese yoke, an “import” of some sort,  to get the XXL and move my stuff and all of Ger and Patricks words to a new site like Touch Pad, er, Type Pad? Although why he’d be thinking I’d want to give me stuff to one of those womens products companies is beyond me?

Anyhow, if I did use your commenting thingy, would the XXL still work? Would the Japanese fella be able to get the lads writin out and put it elsewhere?

Don’t look at me like that boy! I know I’m just a thick, shimple, country Paddy to you. But this Mick doesn’t like givin’ up control of what he’s worked bloody hard to develop and foster. Just like I won’t be sellin ole Maureen over there. Hand reared her I did. Good milkin cow…

So seriously. Are you takin the piss or what? Coz, you know I like you, always has a few pints with yerself and the misses, but I can’t be doing that if I have to give up me data and can’t get it back. ‘Twould be like when we gave Ma to the nursing home and they lost her. Still paying for the room we are, and a bloody year gone by since they lost her.

And the S&M fella would feckin kill me…”

Revisiting WidgetBox and YourMinis

Yesterday I wrote about my experiences trying out WidgetBox and YourMinis, and I even talked a little about it with Alec in O’Flaherty #10. (Visit the podcast page to listen to the O’Flaherty Podcast in our SplashCast player without having to download the shows.)

I wasn’t very happy with WidgetBox because I couldn’t get the widget I created for O’Flaherty to embed easily into my MySpace profile.

The fault was not all at the feet of WidgetBox and it appears that MySpace had rolled out a new image verification feature, for when you attempt to modify your profile, which broke WidgetBox’s system.

Omar Megdadi from WidgetBox Support was kind enough to email me explaining what was going wrong and to grant me permission to republish his email:

Hi Paul,
Thanks for trying out Widgetbox and for adding your Blidget to our gallery!
The night prior to your post, MySpace released a new feature that requires users to enter a visual code when updating their profiles.  This feature was the cause for our system not being able to add your widget to your profile.  We’ve pushed a fix for this.  Our no-code install to MySpace is working again.

You also mention that the widget on MySpace is wrapped with 2 buttons that were not present on the preview on Widgetbox.  These only appear in MySpace.  They enable Widgetbox widgets to link out of MySpace — something that only Widgetbox widgets can do, as far as we know.  Please check out this post in our blog about it: http://blog.widgetbox.com/2007/02/widgetbox_enabl.html.  You’ll notice that your YourMinis Blidget does not link out of MySpace and actually greys out the articles as you click on them.

As far as ease of installing a widget, we have been hard at work and will soon release an improved installation process that both simplifies the steps and adds no-code installs to even more popular web destinations.
Again, thanks for your comments and time; and for using Widgetbox!

Omar Megdadi

Widgetbox Support
www.widgetbox.com

Thanks for clearing that up Omar.

I look forward to trying out WidgetBox again now that the MySpace issue has been resolved.

Omar also pointed out something which I didn’t notice, and that is, if you install the RSS widget (like the O’Flaherty one) from YourMinis on your MySpace profile then the links don’t work.

Since Omar pointed it out I’ve tried the YourMinis O’Flaherty widget on MySpace and can verify that it doesn’t work.

In the meantime I’ve left a message on the YourMinis forums about the issue and sent a message to Jeremy Suriel.

Hopefully the guys at YourMinis will sort that out ASAP.

Thanks again to Omar from WidgetBox for clearing up why things weren’t working!

For those of you who want to try out the two widgets I’ve been mentioning:

If you use WidgetBox you can follow this link to download the WidgetBox O’Flaherty Widget.

If you’re a YourMinis fan the follow this link to get the YourMinis O’Flaherty Widget.

OFlaherty Episode #10 – My Mini is YourMinis

My Mini is YourMinis

Apologies for the late posting. This episode was recorded last night, the 26th of April but I only got around to posting it today.

This episode features a recorded Gizmo call with O’Flaherty regular Alec Palomo. We have a but of a laugh as well as cover some MMORPG stuff and widgets!

Podsafe Music from Kevin Reeves

Links

Music

Credit

Download Podcast MP3: O’Flaherty #10 21.8 mb 0:31:44

Visit the blog at http://pauloflaherty.com/ or email paul.oflaherty@gmail.com

Leave a voice message via GTalk or mp3 at paul.oflaherty@gmail.com

Vote for me on FuelMyBlog.com

O’Flaherty Widgets! WidgetBox and YourMinis


For more widgets please visit www.yourminis.com

All this talk of Technorati possibly entering the widgets game got me looking at WidgetBox and YourMinis today.

WidgetBox

First off let me say that both sites are great and both offer a vast array of widgets but, for my money, YourMinis has the edge as WidgetBox makes it too much of a chore to get your widget off of the service and on to your site of choice.

The problem with WidgetBox is the need to install a panel on the site you wish to install widgets on before you can actually install any widgets.

I tried to install a widget I created for this blog on my MySpace profile. After creating the widget I thought it would be a simple matter of simply copying and pasting the code into my profile.

Unfortunately this was not the case. I tried to use their system to automatically add the widget to my profile but it didn’t work.

So next I tried to add the code manually. That code did not work on MySpace.

I then tried creating a static page in Dreamweaver, embedding the code and previewing it in Firefox.

This worked, but the widget was not the same as the one I could see on the WidgetBox site. The widget had two extra buttons on the bottom and the borders were far wider and not as elegant as they appeared on the WidgetBox site.

I eventually did get the widget installed on my MySpace profile by installing a panel.

This is essentially a button that opens up another frame on the page containing the widgets.

I don’t like this approach because you first have to get the user to open the panel by clicking a button, and second, I couldn’t get the widget to display in its entirety on the panel. Even after setting sizes for the panel that are much larger than the widget, it still failed to display properly.

If you want to see what I mean simply follow this link which will take you to my MySpace profile with the panel opened. You can also see the “Open My Widget Sidebar” button on the left hand side of the screen. It’s the stupid looking robot with the lasers coming out of his eyes.

Now I don’t want to slate WidgetBox! Maybe I was missing something glaringly obvious that makes this service easy to use.  But you can bet that if I missed it then a heck of a lot of other people will to.

I was much happier with YourMinis!

YourMinis

The widget in the top corner of this post is was made using the YourMinis service and it was a breeze to do. It was also a piece of cake to get the code out and embed it directly into this blog.

YourMinis makes it really simple to get the code out. You simply select the widget you want and click a button to copy it to your Desktop (if you’re using Apollo), to your YourMinis Startpage (an Ajax desktop) or to the web.

Clicking to “to web” is really cool and provides a lot of options for embedding the widget in various services such as Blogger, Friendster, Typepad, Xanga and others.

In fact it’s so easy that all you have to do is mouse over the top right of the widget above and click the “copy me” button that appears. You’ll be able to copy the code from directly within the widget and put it on your own site or blog.

That’s how easy things should be.

The only thing lacking from YourMinis is the ability to get these widgets into services such as the Vista Sidebar, Google Desktop and Yahoo widgets.

Still, I wouldn’t expect it to take long before YourMinis offer that ability. Actually Jeremy Suriel said as much in the comments on my post about Technorati entering the widget space today.

one of the questions you raised is being able to run widgets on any platform (os, startpage, etc…) this is exactly our goal for the consumer. today, our widgets run on the web, our startpage, and the desktop (mac and pc). our api allows developers to leverage this ubiquity. In the next few weeks, we plan to release support for easy publishing to other startpage environments and desktop widget engines…

One unrelated thing, I have to mention in this post, is that I give 10 out of 10 top YourMinis for their original and amusing “Welcome” email which you receive after signing up.

Thank you for registering for an account at yourminis.com. A team of 33 highly resepected individuals analyzed your data and performed a thorough background check to ensure that you meet the proper requirements for becoming a member of yourminis.

We then held an anonymous vote in which, 31 of the 33 aforementioned individuals voted to accept your application (the other two were out to lunch). We had a big celebration in your honor and toasted you as our newest member.

You are now an official yourminian! Congratulations!

You now have the ability to access your personalized start page from any computer, publish your pages into the community, rate and leave comments for pages, widgets, blogs and people. You can even create your own widgets and blogs and upload them to the community.

We hope you have a wonderful experience using yourminis.com and tell all your friends and family to try us out. Thanks for your support – have fun!

- yourminis team

If you use WidgetBox you can follow this link to download the WidgetBox O’Flaherty Widget.

If you’re a YourMinis fan the follow this link to get the YourMinis O’Flaherty Widget.

Update 27 April 2007 21:30

The problems with adding WidgetBox widgets to MySpace was actually due to an image verification system MySpace had implemented. Omar Megdadi emailed me with the details and you can read all about it in “Revisiting WidgetBox and YourMinis

Technorati to enter the widget game?

Technorati I received an email from Robert Arriaga at Technorati last night via Zoomerang to complete a Zoomerang hosted survey about widgets and widget use.

I know many other Technorati users received the email as well, although I did talk to some folks on IM today that hadn’t received it.

Here’s the 9 questions from the questionnaire:

1: Do you currently have any widgets on your blog?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know what widgets are

2: Which widgets do you have on your blog currently?

3: What widgets have you had on your blog in the past but have removed and why?

4: What categories do the widgets on your blog fall into?

  • Information about me
  • Information and statistics about my blog
  • Content I made that lives on other sites (photos, videos, etc)
  • Utilities that let your readers bookmark your site (add your feed to their reader, etc)
  • Entertainment (games, music players, etc)
  • Other, please specify

5: Where do you find out about new widgets?

  • See them installed on other blogs
  • Read about them on other blogs
  • News articles in mainstream media (New York Times, etc)
  • Widget websites (ex. Widgetbox)
  • Offered by your blog platform (WordPress, TypePad)
  • Other, please specify

6: How many widgets do you have on your blog?

  • 1-3
  • 4-7
  • 7-10
  • 11-20
  • More than 20

7: Would you place a widget on your blog that displayed an ad?

  • Yes
  • No

8: What widgets do you wish you could have on your blog that aren’t currently available?

9:

Would you recommend Technorati widgets?

  • Definitely would recommend
  • Would not recommend
  • Don’t have any Technorati widgets

Now, there are 3 things that really interest me about this survey.

The first is the title “Technorati Everywhere: Widget Survey“, and questions 7 and 8.

Together these 3 things make me think that Technorati is thinking about entering the widget space and competing with other services to provide widgets for blogs.

Question 8 is very leading in that it implies that Technorati may be looking to develop widgets beyond the handful of widgets they already provide and (regarding question 7) their looking at ways to monetize providing those widgets to bloggers.

They are also testing the water by broaching the idea of advertising within a widget. This is something I think they’ll find much resistance to. Nobody wants to give away advertising space on their blog. Links back to the widget developers site are cool and allow the developer to monetize widget use by advertising on their own site, but if you put advertising in a widget most bloggers will simply use another widget with the same functionality minus the advertising.

Of course, “Technorati Everywhere” is a as provocative a title for creating speculation as you could possibly wish for, and fits nicely with the notion of Technorati entering the widget space and literally being on every blog.

But why stop there?

If Technorati is going to enter the widget space, then why stop at blogs? Why not provide widgets for Dashboard, Konfabulator (yahoo widgets), Vista Sidebar  and Google Desktop.

It’s not a stretch to see widgets that monitor you Technorati rank and display the latest blogs linking to you on your sidebar.

Yet, I feel I’m thinking to small!

Why not provide all of the above as well as a repository for everybody’s widgets?

A single place to download your widgets no matter what platform you’re using?

It’s not as if many exist at the moment and those which do can’t be much good as they’ve managed to evade my radar! Widgetbox, is a notable exception to that.

At first glance this survey is simply about widget use and widget popularity within the blogosphere, but a little imagination and reading behind the lines hints at some very interesting possibilities in the not to distant future.

We can but wait…

Sidebars, widgets, time wasting

I’m not really into the whole widgets and sidebar thing as I find them at best to be poor replacements for functions better handled by full applications and at worst an annoying, distracting waste of screen real estate. I’ve downloaded and installed Yahoo Widgets on more than a few occasions but invariably end up unistalling after a day or two.

That said, I was looking for a sidebar solution today because I it will be a standard feature of Vista and because everybody else seams to have one. I wanted to say “me to” and see if it would do anything for my productivity.

I first tried the “Desktop Sidebar” and I must admit that I kind of liked it. It has a multitude of skins available so it can blend right into your existing desktop scheme. Unfortunately the download page only had 69 panels (I guess that’s their name for gadgets or widgets) available and most of the available functions had little or no appeal to me.

So after an hour of playing with it I uninstalled it. My reasons for uninstalling were two fold. First I couldn’t see any immediate use for it, other than distracting me with constantly updating images from my own photo collection. Second, I already had a sidebar client installed that I wasn’t using in the form of the one that comes as part of Google Desktop Search.

GDTS has over 900 gadgets available, but I still found myself relegated to a measly six that I might actually use – Scratch Pad, Email, Analog, GD Shutdown and the search box itself. How pathetic, I guess I’m just not a sidebar guy after all.

Before I switch GDTS back to just being a little search box in my taskbar, I want to make a comment about the supposed transparency in the Google Sidebar. It sucks. It’s poorly implemented. When there is no gadget you can still see the line going down the screen of where the gadgets should be placed. It’s dumb. Either give me full transparency or none, or give me the ability to set the transparency level myself, but this implementation just annoys me and looks bad on my desktop.

Google could seriously improve their sidebar if they fixed the transparency and made it skinnable like Desktop Sidebar is. The current “theme” for Google Sidebar just stick out like a sore thumb on any desktop that has been customized or themed.

Speaking of desktops, why can’t my desktop be as fun as this: Icon War

Note: has a good comparative review of Google Sidebar and Desktop Sidebar. It’s over a year old but still relevant.