Dave Sohigian

9May/080

Crowdsourced Tagging of Archival Photos

OnTheCommons.org has an interesting article about the tagging of archival photos from the Flickr Commons project.

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6May/080

Clearspring Widgets

Over the weekend at Portland Barcamp I attended a session by Justin Thorp from Clearspring called "Death of the Website and Rise of the Widget" . Although Justin admitted that the title of his talk was mainly meant to provoke people to attend, it was a worthwhile session. I have created a few igoogle and netvibes widgets recently, and his company is working towards the Holy Grail of widgets: making it possible to develop a widget that will run on any platform. The netvibes widgets I have made run on several platforms, but Clearspring widgets supposedly run on 26 different platforms.

I have already noticed some strange behavior of the widgets I have created depending on the platform they are running on. I am curious to port one of them to Clearspring and see how it functions. Justin said that you can get a Clearspring widget listed in the various widget/gadget catalogs as well. This has been an issue with Netvibes: I can't list my Netvibes widgets in iGoogle for instance.

The discussion in the session seemed to focus mainly around RSS vs. Widgets. In some ways it is a silly comparison, but several people had the concern that widgets would eventually be used in favor of RSS. This could lead to problems since widgets are typically branded and their look/feel is controlled by the author. RSS on the other hand is pretty much pure information. There is, of course, a place for both. If you want interactivity then RSS doesn't have much to offer. But aggregating widgets is a challenge. They are both used to offer chunks of functionality from a site or application and in many ways are complimentary.

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26Apr/080

Day around Portland

We had a great day out on the town today, taking the Streetcar, bus and Max to get around. We started out at Powell's City of Books (a perennial favorite with our family). From there we headed to Kenny and Zuke's Deli, which has this sign out front:

Kenny and Zuke's Deli

Caleb and Anna's cousin, Nuri, was visiting from Walla, Walla and we ran into his aunt at the deli. The place is very Portland, and even though the place was packed with people there were still parking spaces out front (although no room for more bikes!).
The kids had bagel's and lox for lunch.


CIMG8868.JPG

Then it was on to the Saturday Market where the kids did a bit of busking and watched some great street bucket drumming:

The weather was clear and cool, a perfect day for making our way around town.


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25Apr/080

OpenID Enabled

Per Silicon Florist's recc, I have added OpenID to my WordPress install.

[update: had to remove openid temporarily. Seemed to be causing an issue with my admin interface. Will troubleshoot this weekend]

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18Apr/080

Personality not Included

Last night I had the opportunity to meet Rohit Bhargava , author of the new book "Personality not Included ". He had been speaking at the local tech conference Innotech and came to a post-conference party organized by my friend Bryan Rhoads . We had a great conversation and I will be picking up a copy of his book at Powells . I will put a review of it up here once I am finished. You can get the book at Amazon and other online stores as well.
He mentioned that he had included Voodoo Doughnut in the book, but had never been to the little hole-in-the-wall shop. I think we may have convinced him to drop by the place to have a look. I wonder if he made it, and if so, what doughnut(s) he sampled.
BTW, his "Personality Project " looks interesting as well and worth a subscribe.

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18Apr/080

New Zipcar Widget on Netvibes

I have ported my google Zipcar gadget to Netvibes. If you are a Zipcar user you can easily add it to your homepage to make, view or change reservations. It uses the very light interface for the zipcar mobile app:
zipcar.png
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18Apr/080

Upcoming.org Netvibes Widget

I created a new widget for Netvibes that grabs your Upcoming.org events and displays them in tabs. It is not perfect, but it has a couple nice features. The main one is that it does not require a password as it uses your public profile to gather your events, friends events and events in your area. One new thing I learned on this one was how to use JSON feeds, since Netvibes can convert RSS feeds to JSON. JSON is definite a nice format for data from widgets. It is very easy to write the code without all the usual DOM navigation stuff you need to do with XML.
upcoming-widget.png
Add to Netvibes

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14Apr/080

Google Transit Widget on Netvibes

I made a Google Transit widget a while back on iGoogle. This weekend I ported it to Netvibes:

The nice thing about this widget is that you set it up for your town (if Google Transit is supported there) and then it defaults to that city for searches. You can also set the default start or end addresses to give faster results. And it includes "by bike" directions for both Portland, OR and Milwaukee, WI (that is why I made the thing to begin with).

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9Apr/083

Trimet Transit Tracker on Netvibes

I ported the Trimet Transit Tracker (that I originally created for Google Gadgets). It is up on Netvibes now, which supports Google Gadgets, Netvibes, Vista, Opera and Live gadgets/widgets all in one. Seems to be working...

netvibestracker.png netvibes tracker.png picture by dsohigian

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9Apr/080

Digsby Rocks!


I have been using various Instant Messaging consolidation services for a while now. I started with Trillian a few years back and then used meebo.com for a while. But both just never quite hit the mark (although I still use Meebo when I am away from my main computer). But last week I found Digsby, which combines IM (from Yahoo, Jabber, GTalk, MSN, AOL and IRC) along with Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter!
The UI is slick - very functional and pared down to just the stuff that matters. It seems very stable and I am using it for my Gmail notifications as well as sending messages from Twitter. I don't know who is behind this application, but it is definitely a "build a better mousetrap". It reminds me of when Google blew all the competition out of the market in search years ago - it is that much better than ANY of the alternatives. It includes support for Mac, PC and Unix as well. What's not to like?

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