Archive for December, 2005

I just switched my home page from Google Personalized Homepage to Netvibes yesterday, because of the more content to select from on the later service. I was surprised to see Google released such a wonderful update to its service that I was just switching back my homepage.

It makes so much sense to release an API and to allow customer-made modules to be added to their service. Microsoft did one thing right, that is, to lure developers to their platform. Larger developer population implies more possibilities and choices exposed to the customers, and thus more chances that the customers will choose that platform.

Imagine what a more functional Google Personalized Homepage means. Open the page, all the information you required can be accessed: the weather, the date, your contact book, to-do list, email inbox, selected news, bookmarks to other services, etc. Does it sound familiar?  Isn’t it a decent desktop environment with a dashboard equivalent plus a launcher equivalent? What if there are more online services like on-line word processing, and we create a Mac docker-like module to link to these services? Can we call it web 2.0 OS?

It seems a web platform is emerging, and Google is definitely striving to be the desktop of the new platform.

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Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is such a big buzzword now. Having been seeing this word in dozens of slashdot news titles, I have finally made myself search for a definition, after I have seen a list of amazing Web 2.0 applications.

Unfortunately, the defintion in wikipedia is still too vague and not technical enough. Thanks to the Web 2.0 API website, I finally have some basic understanding about this excitingly promising creature.

The most important feature of Web 2.0 , I believe, is the capability to resemble UNIX pipes. Based on XML, web sites, or web services, can communicate and integrate, making web-based application capable to cross the site boundary and be much much more functional.

A necessary and important complement to this essential feature is the capability to present the content to user with a rich user interface, which is created with Ajax and/or XUL and/or Flex in the current Web 2.0. I really hope XUL can take the world, because I think Ajax is, fundamentally, a hack. A hack should be a temporal workaround rather than a long-term solution.

Allowing users to contribute back to web is also essential, coz that is why the Web 2.0 should contain much more interesting stuff and thus be more fun than its predecessor.

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Firefox Homepage Feature

Have a bunch of important pages that you have to check frequently? Hard to choose one to set as homepage? Thinking about writing a aggregator-like page to integrate them? Do you know firefox can set multiple pages as homepage?

How can it be possible? Well, it’s simple. Firefox can open all these homepages in several tabs. A neat feature if you wanna set sort of reminder to check some pages right upon you open the browser.

How to do this? Open the pages you want to bookmark in tabs. Go preference->General, and Under “Home Page” select “Use current Pages”. See the vertical bar separated list of homepages? Enjoy.

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