Thursday, March 13, 2008

Simultaneous Illegal U-Turns

Without admitting any kind of wrong-doing, I want to share something beautiful that happened to me this morning. I made a nice little U-Turn - "flipped a bitch" as it were - as I sometimes do early in the morning trying to find a parking spot in front of my neighborhood Peet's. Funny thing is, some other guy did the exact same thing, at the exact same time - coming the other direction! it looked something like this (I'm the blue car):

One might think this could be incredibly dangerous, especially if there were people around or lots of traffic. As the detailed diagram shows, however, it's not if it happens the right way. And it resulted in something I consider beautiful - two people without any knowledge of each other, doing some in sync (yet possibly illegal), resulting in a mechanical dance around an intersection.

Kinda like BitTorrent, or Napster in the early days. Or Wikipedia.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Netvibes Ginger - Can It Replace iGoogle?

I've been a huge fan of iGoogle since it launched. It so easily integrates with all the other Google services that I use, it's hard to justify a switch. Gmail, Calendar, Reader, and my own Google Finance portfolios are all in one plane, with very minimal setup. Plus Docs, and some Facebook notifications as well.

I tried Netvibes a while back since it's so well-regarded, but quickly gave it up when I found that I liked Google's better. Now I'm checking out Netvibes Ginger, and... well actually I'm waiting for my account there to be "activated." Guess I'll put this post on ice for a bit.

As it turns out, signing up for a new account is an easier way to get started... So I did that, and started trying to replicate my iGoogle page. Gmail was easy (though it will ONLY show unread mail), and Calendar as easy as grabbing my iCal link - though I could only choose one of my 5 calendars whereas iGoogle lets shows them all. The Facebook widget is pretty sweet, and I added the Twitter app for the hell of it - very nice.

How about importing some feeds? I grabbed my OPML file out of Google Reader and uploaded it into Netvibes pretty easily. The result? I can create individual widgets for each of my 153 (and counting) feeds. Maybe that's fine for the average blog surfer, but not for folks like me...
So we continue. I checked out some of the pre-configured tabs, since their "Universes" feature doesn't look like it's available yet for Ginger. Nothing really new here - and as much as I like the idea of users creating their own tabs and sharing them with everyone else, I had difficulty finding any that really added value to me - especially beyond customizing pages myself.

In general - the design is much better than iGoogle, but the tradeoff is the simple synchronization with all the other Google services I use. I'll give it a try for a while as a start page though - the new design may win me over in the end. For more info about Netvibes and Ginger...