Posts tagged ‘widget review’

Presidential Widgets: Politics As Unusual

The fact that 2008, The Year of the Widget, is on a crash-collision-course with the 2008 United States Presidential Election hasn’t alluded the candidates, their internet-savvy pundits and wonkette junkies alike. Given all the political discourse we’re in store for over the next 10 months, it’s good to see that several non-partisan widget developers have the president’s office clearly in their sites to keep us all informed of the latest mudrucking.

For those who are firmly behind a candidate, widgetnest makes the 2008 Presidential Candidates widget to help you keep track of your man, or woman. Featuring headline links to latest news, directly from the candidate camp, whether you’re for Ron Paul, Joe Biden or Tom Tancredo, widgetnest makes a presidential widget for you. Cautionary note, if the number of installs correlates in anyway with the popular vote, it looks like Huckabee could run away with the race according to widgetnest’s stats (the company does note that the counter has been discontinued).

obama.jpg

A funny thing happened to me when I installed the Obama widget on my Facebook profile – I felt like I was out-in-the-open, revealing where I stood. Even if he doesn’t get my vote, it was a declaration for all the social networking world to see. So, in addition to keeping the electoral base informed, presidential widgets, like campaign buttons and bumperstickers of yesteryear, are just as much an expression about who we are and where we stand.

But for those who don’t know where they stand, which according to some polls is close to 35% of eligible voters, developer Tim Hogan has created the Presidential Election 2008 widget, a nonpartisan general and candidate focused search that filters through RSS news, blog and forum information on each candidate. Built as a specialized Swicki widget from Eureka, the service allows its users to create a custom social search portal on the topic of their choice and offers digg-style user-generated voting on every article. So, in theory, with every search, vote and click, the swicki generates more relevant results and turns into a shared-knowledge resource to be spread virally via “get this widget” installer tab.

USA Presidential Candidates 2008
Search and Grazr

Dedicated Search Engines
Biden
, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Giuliani, Hunter, Kucinich, McCain, Obama, Paul, Romney, Richardson, Tancredo
News, Blog and Forum info
 
 

This is the first year that we can measure the true impact of widgets on a presidential election. Regardless of who wins, one thing is certain, widgets will forever change the speed at which a candidate can take his/her message to the people. Never again will it be politics as usual.

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January 25, 2008 at 5:13 am Leave a comment

Roll-Your-Own with WidgetBox’s Blidget

“Take your blog.  Make it into a widget.  Share it with all the widgetsphere.”

No, not a haiku, but rather the description on WidgetBox’s Blidget tool set that unlocks your blog headlines and sets them free in the form of a Blidget (blog + widget = blidget). Well, bad nomenclature aside, this tool represents the next step in the maturation of the widget marketplace, or “widgetplace.”

All that is required is a blog URL and presto-chango, you’ve created your own widget. Post the widget on your FaceBook profile. Better yet, create a developer profile listing in WidgetBox’s directory and distribute your blidget to the widget community, or “widgetmunity.”

blidget.jpg

You have a choice of displaying just headlines, or entire posts. And, you have complete control over style, format, color scheme, etc. It’s a great way to promote content, offering a dynamically updated feed with one-click install. In addition to Facebook, WidgetBox allows for easy-installs for many of the popular platforms. See image below

.widget_list.jpg

WidgetBox even provides some basic metrics for you to monitor your blidget’s popularity. When open standards are adopted, you can imagine even greater possibilities for a tool set such as this.

The only thing I would have added is the ability to allow others to download the blidget from within the application, rather than back on the WidgetBox site. This would add to the blidgets viral capabilities and allow publishers to serve as their own distribution hubs. Otherwise, the genius of this application is in its simplicity and you have to applaud the 16 person team at WidgetBox for their ability to automate and commoditize the widget-building process – widgetations to all.

November 8, 2007 at 10:48 pm 2 comments

BuiltWith Widget – How Could We Live Without

For our first widget review, we thought it only fitting to review the BuiltWith widget, by developer Garazy. A widget that “Lists what your blog is built with. Shows if you are using analytics, frameworks, blogs etc.” was too good to pass up.

And, it did live up to expectations. We added the widget via distributor WidgetBox, which provided a user-friendly way to install the widget onto a variety of platforms. We chose to post to our iGoogle page, which once account id/password were provided, was quick and seemless.

Technically, a Google Gadget, the horizontal box magically appeared on top of my iGoogle start page upon my next visit. The builtwith service proved to be a powerful resource in analyzing web sites. It also offers a rating based on 1 – 5 stars for technical implementation. Not really sure how this ranking is derived, but given that it had rated this site a 4 out of 5, I was impressed with its insight and uncanny accuracy.

The site reviews four key aspects of a site’s architecture, including: analytics, frameworks, syndication and document formatting. In-depth analysis for each is provided on the http://www.builtwith.com web site. Site traffic analysis is provided by Complete.com. The service was helpful in reviewing competitive web sites, providing meta key words, identifying technologies such as Flash or Java, and traffic analysis.

The only drawback was that the search and results are performed not via the widget, but rather on the builtwith.com web site. In the iGoogle Gadget case, the widget simply served as a link back to builtwith.com.

I could see this being of more value as a FireFox plug-in, providing the same data in a drop down window or more transparent way than having to refer back to the builtwith web site.

The service also offers a more comprehensive report that site owners can order, but with a 4 out of 5 rating, I didn’t want to press my luck. If you’re a web developer, reviewer or online marketer, the BuiltWith widget and service could be a valuable resource for you.

Click here to download the BuiltWith Widget.

October 30, 2007 at 11:59 pm 1 comment


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