Saturday, October 07, 2006

I'm working on...Widgets

I'm now the editor of Widgets Stop by and check out the new blog. Widgets Lab is owned by The Blogging Times. If you have ever been to The Blogging Times you would know that it is the premier source of blog news. The Blogging Times is becoming the go to place for all of your blogging needs. So stop by and check us out today.

The Blogging Times
Widgets Lab

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Springbox RSS widget offers a widget engine and they claim it works on the desktop as well as the blog/site.

i've seen it and it looks attractive, especially if you have a dark theme for your blog. it seems as though you will be able to skin it at a later date. right now access is limited to the default skin. (as far as i can tell)

for the blog/site, every widget is an embeddable flash object with some standard customizations you need to make before you copy the script for your blog.

i don't have plans to download the widget engine for the desktop, as i have no interest in desktop widgets at this point. widgets need "more". they need to be more than a fancy distraction from what i love (wandering the swamp)

if, by some offhand chance the program on my machine would allow me to control the widget on my blog (no log in b.s.) then i will consider using it.

but for right's a nice looking, attractive addition to any blog.

springbox (main)
springbox (blog widgets)
live on the edge (download)(win2000/xp only!)

How do I put RSS on my blog?

RSS/Feeds are all the rage. They have been for awhile. You have decided to put an RSS widget on your blog. You want all of your readers to see what interests you. This is fun!
Until you run into the field that asks you for the "feed URL" Where are you going to find the "feed URL" ? It's not likely to be prominently displayed on the home page of your favorite blog. You will probably find buttons that say "subscribe to my feed" or "RSS" or any number of other things. But this still doesn't help you find the "feed URL" you need for your RSS widget.

There are ways to get the "feed URL"
1. email the webmaster for it (could take days).
2. click on the subscribe/RSS button and hope that the "feedURL" appears in your address bar.
3. download and use a "Feed Reader" then figure out how to add a "feed" then search for the "feed URL"
4. If you are using Firefox browser or a browser with similar RSS capabilities. Firefox lets you know if the blog/site you are currently at, has a feed. There is a small RSS button in the address bar. If you click on this it will ask if you want to" add this feed or some such" and it will ask you where (in Bookmarks) click ok. Now go to this "feed bookmark" right click on it and view the properties. There you will see the "feed URL" right click on the URL, then select all, right click on it again and select copy. Now go to your RSS widget and paste the "feed URL" into the field.

Now you just need add the code to your blogs html.

RSS widgets
Google Reader
spring box

Feed Readers
Google Reader
Great news
Blog Bridge
search for feed readers

Grazr--Another RSS box? Maybe not! offers a fully customizable RSS box/reader widget for your blog.

Typical RSS box/readers contain just a list of feeds that you want to display. They mah include some ammount of the post text and a link to the post. Boring!

Grazr, has them beat! Grazr, offers multiple panes to view feed titles, post titles and the post text. There is also an option to expand the window for easier reading. This helps to keep the visitor/reader on your site. We all know how important that is!

Grazr list
  • Javascript
  • custom sizing options
  • Slider, Outline and 3 pane display options
  • text configurations (font and size)
  • No color choices
  • detailed install instructions for popular blog tools
  • Multiple feeds (ability to display more than one feed)
  • no registration required
  • Detailed, easy to use set up
I would say that Grazr puts most other RSS box/readers to shame. However one feature I would really like to see, would be... tie Grazr in with an actual feed reader and allow control of the widget from the feed reader interface.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The mess you see here

Sorry about the mess. I'm trying to consolidate the mass of links to make things a bit easier to navigate. Please bear with me for the next few days.

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I love this "Moron talk"

Google Gadgets... a popular topic.

Today, I received an email from a friend. H. Lindzon
When these emails show up the information within, is always HOT!!! (not stolen)

Today it was Google Gadgets. Cool!
I checked around and found various posts containing reviews and such.
sexy widget here
mashable here
widgify here
did i miss you here

I decided to mix it up a bit. Instead of a generic review I went and created a generic beta Blogger page and tried out five or six of these "gadgets" there. I also couldn't resist posting some observations as well.
Check it out at

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

PopUp Politicians

As November nears, political posting will increase dramatically. PopUp Politicians (from Sunlight labs) offers a web widget that will enhance any political posting.

This simple javascript (one line) will pick out the names of politicians and add a small round Orange button/link to their name.

On mouseover of this button a "PopUp" (which looks like cartoon talking bubble) displays information about that politician including a picture and links to various resources.
  • Congresspedia page
  • Campaign Finance Profile
  • Voting Record
I say if you have political topics on your blog...try it out. It's free. It could be fun.

Sunlight Labs (popup)
Sunlight blog

Monday, October 02, 2006

This is the Google Reader widget

I just discovered this little feature in Google Reader. Load your Google Reader with your favorite feeds then find your favorite posts from each and share them. Then view shared items for the javascript code to display on your site.
As I share and unshare items in google reader, my items in my clip will change in real time.
I haven't even considered being able to have a multiple source RSS feed widget. I haven't even seen one of these on a blog yet. This is an awesome way to promote your friends blogs or let your readers take a peek at what you like to read.

Look for my "Clip" on the left sidebar.
  • Javascript code
  • 7 color choices or plain
  • no size options
  • custom titles
  • option to include item source
  • above option includeslink to the post and a link to the site.
Google Reader
another review at
another review at

Streampad--Quite possibly the best music widget.

If you like audio, is what you want and where you want to be.

Streampad allows you to collect mp3 streams that are found on the Internet. From single songs to concerts to podcasts. Anything in the mp3 format, you can add to your Streampad.
Streampad is currently working on a way for you to stream your music right from your computer. Right now this is in limited beta. Sign up to get in line.

Streampad also has a widget. You suspected this, or I wouldn't be writing about it. Right? Anyhow, the widget is cleverly hidden on the Streampad blog. This widget will sit on your blog and allow you to play any mp3's found on any URL. This is an attractive widget.
  • custom sizing
  • no color options (yet)
  • javascript or HTML embed(MySpace optimized)
  • RSS xml page for when someone updates their Streampad player
  • Share--a direct link to your playlist
  • back/forward and play/pause buttons
  • Title your player
  • Volume control

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. If you find an awesome song or podcast on a blog that has the Streampad widget, you're not stuck on that blog until the audio is over. You can bring it with you!
Yes I said "bring it with you". This really rocks!

Fred Wilson has one.
Sports N Beer has one.
Disruptive Thoughts has one.
The list goes on.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

PhotoBucket Widget. more options than Flickr badge

I wanted to find another photo badge/widget. Displaying your photos on your blog is huge right now and as more people start see what I mean. So I figured there had to be other choices than Flickr. I don't like the registration. Why do they need to know my zip and sex? So far that is my only complaint.
This is a very user friendly service. There was no email validation crap and as soon as I was signed up, I was uploading. They have multiple uploads and you can create folders to sort your pictures into. I uploaded some wall papers (to test size limits) No problem. The upload was very fast as well (Sunday may be a slower traffic day)

The Widget. (this is a flash widget)
After the upload, there were links/buttons to do stuff with your photos. The first one was the widget button(big smiley). There I was presented with four styles of widget to choose from.

  • Slideshow--zooms in on photo till transition to next.
  • Collage--Photos are scattered in random pattern. Mouseover brings focus to each photo.
  • Stamp--Photos are arranged in the order you pic them, in a un bordered square. Each photo is brought forward and paused for 2.5 seconds
  • Strip-- Photos are displayed in a right to left moving strip. Mouseover pauses the strip.
Once you create your Widget and save it you can create another one. You have a "widget page" where all of your created widgets reside. Here you can grab the code to place the widget into your blog. You also can get a url for each widget. (for email or IM)

I plan on placing a Photobucket widget in this post along with a static screen shot. I like the ease of this entire process. Except for that damn sex/ZIP thing. WTF? (main)
Click to see my other PhotoBucket widget

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Looking for weather? Try out Weather Bonk: revisited

Weather Bonk is a very easy to use site. It details current and forecast weather around the globe. Bonk uses the very easy to use Google maps(by default). This allows you to zoom in to your location, use satelite view if you wish or a combination of satelite and map. You can access U.S. radar as well. Surface temp readings and current wind conditions are available as well. There are options for choosing the weather service that you want also.
I would say this is a kick-ass site to visit if you care at all about the weather.

Now the best part:
All of this can be put on your blog...FREE! And the settings for the Bonk widget are just what you want. You can select the height and width, the weather services, the locations, if you want wind data displayed, units of measure, type of view (map, satelite etc...) and the map service (Google, MSN or Yahoo) This type of customization ROCKS!!! I say visit Weather Bonk today to get your very own "Bonk Widget"

Adding Flickr Badge to your blog: revisited

Flickr Badge is one of the most popular photo widgets out there. For good reason. It works! The layout and set-up are easy to understand. You just have to decide between the flash badge(animated) or the HTML badge and of course what pictures to display.

The hardest part of the Flickr badge is locating it on the flickr site. Nothing that I could see on Flickr jumped out and said "click here for Flickr Badge" so I will include a link to the Flickr Badge page here. (log into Flicker before you click here)

Flickr Badge

Once you have created your badge and copied your code you need to log into your blog editor then go to your template and find a good spot to put in the code. I don't think the code comes centered so you may have to put the code in some open and closed center tags if you want it centered that is.
<> code here

That should do it for the Flickr Badge.
If you have any questions...leave a comment or send me an email.

Flickr Badge
Flickr (main)
Flickr forum post with mods for the badge

Last FM Show off the music you like as you listen to it

Last FM has a web widget that shows off the music tracks that you are currently listening to. There is a download and installation to read the track titles etc. It installed painlessly, asked what music player I used and was done. I had to tell my firewall it was ok. I did notice that they have covered just about every OS. So you can use it also.

The web widget is really what we are concerned with here. First you get to select the type of display. Whether you want recent tracks, weekly track list, weekly artist list etc... Then You get to pick the appearance. There are hundereds to choose from or, GET THIS, you can make your own. You can include a photo for a background, change the colors etc... This is cool! Most widgets allow some customization to the size and color, maybe text as well. But this is a step above.

As I write this, Aerosmith: No more No more live is playing and Last FM is "Scrobbling" it(sounds like a sex term) so it will display in the widget you will find in the left sidebar.
This is a fun widget if people can listen to the tracks that I am listening to. (if they want) I did notice that if you click on the widget it brings you to my Last FM page where you can see the tracks I have listened to. There you have the option to listen to, trade for or purchase each track or the entire CD. (from Amazon) I would assume this is how Last FM pays the bills and I think it's a sweet idea.

Last FM (main)
deralaand's "Last FM user page"


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