Netvibes

Yep, Netvibes. After a night’s sleep, the decision to use Pageflakes or Netvibes wasn’t an issue any more. I just decided to start with one of the two. If I don’t like the one I’m using I’ll switch to the other. Such luxury!

Starting my own Netvibes page was really easy. You simply go to http://www.netvibes.com in your browser (it works with a range of browsers). I didn’t pick a great time to start with Netvibes though. At Netvibes they’re busy with a migration of their current users to a new version called ‘Ginger’. This means that first time users get a rather confusing message asking if you’d like to transfer to Ginger. You can get past this dialog box by clicking the ‘close’ button. Now you’ll see a basic netvibes page that you can personalize with your favorite feeds, search widgets, mail-boxes etc. Right up top is a message warning you to register your page with Netvibes to save any changes you’ve made to the original basic netvibes page. After making some changes to the layout and choosing a language area for gathering information resources I registered the page using a gmail account and a password for netvibes that I chose myself.

This is where it started to get confusing. The netvibes server was busy with processing all the existing users that were migrating, so I got an error message saying that the server was busy. After a few tries the page was registered and a confirmation arrived in my gmail account. Signing in remained a problem though. Funnily enough I was able to access my netvibes page and continued to make changes. The best thing about Netvibes is that you can access your personal netvibes page from other internet connected computers. When I tried this from my PC at work I was very disappointed – only the first changes I’d made had been saved! All my hours of perfecting my page were for nothing! At home I checked my netvibes page again. There every change had been saved. Duh? After careful reading of the netvibes help pages and the netvibes blog I came up with a solution to this puzzle. To test my theory I visited the netvibes homepage again but now from another PC in my home network. This is what I discoved:

  • In the older version of Netvibes, Coriander, you don’t actually need to register with Netvibes to make a personal netvibes page. The changes you make are saved in your local cache.
  • If using your ‘registered’ version of your personal netvibes page you need to keep an eye on the ‘Sign in’ and ‘Sign off’ buttons on the top right of the page. If, after signing in, you still see the option to ‘Sign in’ you need to refresh the page in the browser. If this doesn’t work, try signing in again. If these steps don’t work for you there are more steps described in netvibes help pages.
  • If using a browser with tabs and adding content to your personal netvibes page don’t loose the thread – keep in mind that only the changes you make to the ‘signed in’ page will be saved on the netvibes server. You’ll see the other changes too, but these are saved in real-time to your local cache.
  • Only the changes made while ‘Signed in’ will remain on the Netvibes server and be visible to you if you visit your personal netvibes page from another internet PC.
Advertisements

Choosing an RSS reader or aggregator

The reason this post is here is because I got distracted from SPOETNIK’s instruction for week 3 on how to sign up to NewsGator. I blame this on the temptation that the SPOETNIK authors put in my path:

Maar het staat je vrij om een andere te kiezen, er zijn er veel: o.a. Netvibes, Bloglines, IGoogle (zie lijst met feedreaders)

or for those that don’t read Dutch

But, everyone is free to choose another, there are many of them: Netvibes, Bloglines, IGoogle (see list of feedreaders)

If I’m offered a big list of choices I’m tempted to check them all out. I clicked on a lot of the feed readers listed to find out more. I’m a novice on this subject so orientation takes a while. After reading a lot about these news pulling services I began to develop an idea of the different types with their various functionality. I found this article about aggregators on Wikipedia that summarizes the main differences without going into too much technical detail. This article helped me to narrow down my choice. Now I know that I would like a tool that is web based and allows me to do some customising.

I went to the sites of a number of services to find out how to sign up, check conditions of use, privacy etc. I was spending hours reading and clicking. At the same time I was keeping a look out for blogs I’d like to syndicate. Finally I defaulted to a tried and trusted search pattern – I checked out the pages of ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association). On the ‘Events & Activities’ page I found references to events concerning web 2.0 and library 2.0. Here I nosed around to see which RSS feeds, blogs and news readers were being used hoping to pick up tips. This inspired me to start searching with Google again within .au domain for ‘RSS’ ‘aggregators’ for comparisons. I struck gold!

Start-page smackdown: Netvibes, Pageflakes, iGoogle and Live.com

This article published on the website of CNet.com.au on the 4th of March 2008 compares 4 popular web based aggregator start pages. Various features are compared, allowing you make an informed choice.

PS: I’m still hovering between NetVibes or PageFlakes!