Netvibes vs Google Personalized Page

When I use the internet, I just launch by browser and off I go to all the sites I need to go on a daily basis. Pretty much automatic. However, recently I laid eyes on Netvibes, and boy was a blown away. Sure it isn’t new, but I’ve not been tempted before to click on a Netvibes RSS button that I keep seeing on a lot of blogs everywhere.
But yesterday I did, and I was stunned by the work and the artistry of the site. It was intuitive, quick, and bloody powerful. Before this I fire up Bloglines for a list of my feeds, but Netvibes is able to put everything on a page for me, and allows me full control over the sort of modules and items I want displayed on my page. And there are also tabs to keep me from being overwhelm, which is useful, since anything longer than 5 sentences overwhelm me easily.
I’m more than impressed also by the look and feel of the site. It doesn’t look shabby, oh no.
So then I immediately turned to Google’s Personalized Page. I’ve known about this page since it was launched (the joy of subscribing to the Google Blog), and to be honest, I wasn’t very impressed. At that time, I wasn’t so much into RSS, so I saw no value in it – I had no problems continuing to getting my news from Google News and my email in a separate pane.
Upon closer look this time around, with Netvibes as a yardstick, It does almost the same thing as Netvibes does, but looks wise it pales in comparison. But I’ve not been been known to only care about looks, so I resolve to dig a little deeper into Google’s page, to see if there’s anything I missed the first time.
One thing I’ll be looking out for in particular would be performance – and this I can only determine after a few days worth of testing.
At present, although interface-wise the functionalities are similar (both drag and drop rearrangements and plenty of modules for each), it remains to be seen which one will eventually win my loyalty.
But hot damn Netvibes is pretty. 🙂

A short on Web 2.0

When we talk about the web, the general public will always think of the information contained within browser windows, and the hypertext links that brings me from Point A to Point B. Seldom do they ponder on the technology behind the pages, and I’d wager that if you ask anyone (non-technical, that is) about the development of the web since the beginning of 1990s, they wouldn’t have noticed.
But changed it has. And the change has a name: Web 2.0.
Okay, okay, you can stop laughing now.
When it was first conceived, Web 2.0 was being blown off as hot air coming out of an elephant’s tough behind. I suppose in retrospect that’s probably because there wasn’t a solid real-world example. In fact, think about that last sentence. *One* solid real-world example? Web 2.0 by its nature requires more than one website with fancy AJAX and client-side interactiveness to be even considered Web 2.0.
That’s because the essense of Web 2.0 was it’s ability to connect people, communities and our shared consciousness. Our combined knowledge leveraged with the speed afforded by the mediums we now have for communication and collaboration. Never before has the web allowed input from the average user, and use that very information as input for other users and uses.
I think it took years for these ‘enabled’ websites to spring up – all tying the other websites together, to bring them up as a coherent ‘whole’, before the term Web 2.0 was revitalized. Suddenly everyone is saying, ‘Oh, so this is what they meant back in the day!’
Bear in mind that prior to the ‘socialization’ of the web, the web behaved very much like any controlled mass media, although admittedly it was easier to get web hosting space for your own homepage than it was to write op-eds in newspapers or appear in TV. But the direction of the information was one way, and that was from the screen to you.
It would be silly to try and pigeonhole the term Web 2.0 into one single definition, but if one attribute can be used to embody the spirit of Web 2.0, it would be the socialization of the web. Everyone being able to contribute to the site, giving others instant access to information regardless of physical location on the planet. Real-time communication, information gathering, parsing and tying everything together in a meaningful fashion, easy sharing of data and resources. Sharing. Community.
I came across this video that claims to explain Web 2.0 in under 5 minutes. It’s does a good job as a summary, because, like I said, defining just one thing for Web 2.0 would be silly, but it is adequate. Check it out here.
For me, Web 2.0 is a state of being on the Internet, rather than an individual website.

VB in Linux via Mono – good thing?

I was about to hit the sack when I came across this article: Mono brings Visual Basic programs to Linux. Although it doesn’t explicitly say which version of VB, it does seem to cover only the .NET version of VB (considering what Mono does, this is very logical).
I mean, when you say VB, there are after all two ‘versions’ , if you will, of VB, and that’s VB6 and VB.NET. Both of these languages, despite their similarities in name, are so different from each other that only the colossally stubborn would insist that they resemble anything like each other. The article could do better in being more explicit.
Anyway, [stiffles yawn], so now I can write VB.NET applications running on Mono. Is it a good idea? It simply means if I’ve existing skills in VB.NET, I could leverage that on a platform I don’t understand. However, since you’re coding in VB, it’s a high probability that you’re going to go through a learning curve getting around in the Linux environment anyway. If you’re going to learn, why not learn a new language and code for Linux the ‘proper’ way? At the very least take this opportunity to use Mono to learn up C#, if you haven’t already in the Windows world!