Tuesday, November 28, 2006

On Widgets and Widths

I really enjoyed reading this fascinating Q&A on the recommended width for blog widgets, which quickly evolved into a broader discussion on widgets:

Yedda - People.Sharing.Knowledge.Blog widget standard width?

I am building a new widget that will be added by users to various blogging systems (blogger, WordPress, TypePad, MySpace, etc), most likely in the sidebar.

I am not sure what's the right way to go with regards to the widget width - should I design it to accomodate different widths, or is there a "standard widget width" I should assume?

Is there a minimal width that I can expect?

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Asked by Jmm on November 27, 2006

View the entire discussion on YeddaYedda - People.Sharing.Knowledge.

Excellent answers from Derek Anderson, from the Widgets Lab blog:

Yedda - People.Sharing.Knowledge.Blog widget standard width?

Jmm, (this may be long)

You are correct that Bloggers "expect it to work"

Yedda widgets resize to fit in the area they are placed in. This is a cool feature that I don't remember seeing anywhere else. However, I think that some users will want to be able to control this feature. Lets say TechCrunch wants to do an article featuring a Yedda widget. They may not want it to expand to fill the posting area. They want it to look like it would appear in a side bar.


While deciding what to post i came up with the idea of creating a Grazr widget that pointed to a specific RSS feed. In this case it was The Blogging Times.com

I titled the post "The Blogging Times mashed widget"

My bright idea was to add the code for this widget to the post I was contemplating writing. This way anyone that wanted The Blogging Times content on their blog could easily have it. (I just wanted to mash something other than potatoes)

Grazr.com saw this post and decided to take it one step further by adding the "The Blogging Times" logo to the widget.

This kinda gives the impression that TBT has a widget. (even though they don't)

This is what I meant by branding.


I do not recall any widgets that have this feature.

We, as creators, are sometimes blinded by what we create. (does that make sense?)

Feedback isn't just for bug reporting. It's also for ideas. Widget users have great ideas for functions that widget creators didn't even consider. Get enough feedback about a certain feature...You see where this is going.

Enough of the longest answer in the world. If you made it this far...let me ask you a question...How many times did you yawn during this post?


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Answered by deralaand on November 28, 2006

View the entire discussion on YeddaYedda - People.Sharing.Knowledge.

Good stuff!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Even more answers on Answers.com

User Generated Flame

Answers.com, the encyclodictionalmancapdia, announced on Monday a new partnership with Yahoo! Answers (also on Mashable).

(Disclosure: Yedda, where I work is a competitor to Yahoo! Answers)

This actually makes perfect sense to me… if done right, it would provide Answers.com with an effective method to keep their users happy even if they don't find what they're looking for right away.

The way YA is integrated into Yahoo! Search is a good example of providing searchers with an end to end scenario, converting a potentially-unhappy search user into a YA user, and eliminating one more reason for the user to leave the Yahoo Walled Garden.

This kind of scenario is not yet surfaced on the Answers.com integration, but the potential is there. In fact, without this scenario the value of the integration is somewhat limited given the questionable value of some of the Yahoo Answers content (e.g. "who here loves dogs like I do" ).

One thing that surprised me though – the Q&A on Answers.com is surfaced with absolutely no attribution to the people who created this content – the users on Yahoo Answers.

Hence, the users who asked the question, and - even more important - the users who have taken the time to answer this question - lose all credit and reputation related to the content they've created. Establishing your online reputation is one of the major reasons people share their knowledge on Q&A services like YA, QnA, Yedda, etc.

Though probably perfectly legal and covered by the YA terms of use, it still is a surprising move, coming from the same folks who've been so active in pushing Creative Commons forward by integrating it directly into their advanced search functionality and weaving it so nicely into Flickr.

Perhaps Brad Garlinghouse was right, and a cohesive vision – in this case, with regards to user generated content (oops!), crowdsourcing and users rights – need to be put in place over at YHQ.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Percentages are obtained from the Universal Mind and Intellect

I've run into this manifest, describing the "Methodology of Spiritual Research" on the Spiritual Research Methodology web site, through Ami's post [Hebrew]. It's a fascinating reading in general, but one paragraph strikes me as exceptionally useful for all of us who have to come up with percentages once in a while:
4. How can you apply percentages to spiritual phenomena/attributes?

The study of the spiritual dimension is just as systematic and logical as that of the physical world. It can thus be quantified in percentages etc. These percentages are obtained in a ready-made format from the Universal Mind and Intellect through the sixth sense in a state of deep meditation. They are not obtained through conventional research methodologies.
So, there you go. Next time you need a percentage, you know now what to do.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yes, I pay for two Flickr accounts!

Three actually, if you also count the Yedda one.

The question of my multiple Flickr accounts came up several times in the last few weeks, in conversations with Eszter Hargittai, Deb Schultz, Ned Rosen and Lilly1975. I also happened to meet Caterina Fake last week, and when I mentioned to her that I am paying "her" for 3 different Flickr accounts, it seems a bit excessive even to her :)
The Flickr of the Smiles

You see, I really got into amateur photography this past year. I found that I really enjoy it, even just going on my own to shoot urban scenes for a few hours gives me immense pleasure. I also enjoy sharing it and interacting over it, which is what I do through my yanivg Flickr account. I shoot a lot, probably a few hundred pictures every week or two. I pick the ones I really like (usually from a photography point of view) to post to this account. The sets I use on this account are "thematic" – urban, people, reflections, etc.
text decay

Me enjoying photography also surfaces when I attend (un)conferences or other social-work-related events. I tend to bring my cam along with me to many of these events, and these photographs usually have a documentary / networking / social value rather then photographic value. I post these pictures to my yghelloworld Flickr account. The sets on this account usually represent specific events.

A lot of the people I know on Flickr actually freely mix the two, posting to their photostream pictures a mixture of their personal life, their professional life, and pics they just happened to like.

It may be somewhat of a vanity issue, but I hate the thought of flooding my carefully-tended yanivg photostream with tens of pictures of *gasp* people. The downside of it is that it creates a sort of a split-personality issue.

For me, my yanivg photostream is as far as I go with regards to displaying my photographic work. Contrast this with Ned for example, who makes his living from photography, and for him, Flickr provides a liberating alternative, where he can share personal stuff and work-in-progress, and document the process evolution as opposed to the final polished customer-ready result.

I guess that in a way this is the beauty of an open-system ended like Flickr. Flickr is a playground with basic building blocks (photos, photostream, tags, groups, sets), and each user is free to put meaning into this, and people from different disciplines and with different goals can still meet on a common ground.

It's interesting to compare that with, say, the newly-launched Six Apart VOX approach, which uses the notion of "neighborhood", hence defining a fixed terminology and meaning. Will "neighborhoods" work better then the generic "groups"?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We were invited to participate in the Israel Web Tour, organized by the California Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate General of Israel’s Economic Mission in San Francisco. This is the 2nd day of the tour, and there hasn't been a dull moment since it begun :)

One the day's highlights was a panel moderated by Michael Arrington, "The Impact of the New Web – Culture, Entertainments & Commerce".
The New Web
In a room with a few hundred people, Mike asked – how many of the participants live in Silicon Valley? About half the people in the room raised their hands. Then Mike asked – and how many of you were born in Silicon Valley? Only one person raised his hand. I am not sure what the conclusion from this is, as you could draw several different conclusions. But this is clearly interesting.

Mike proceeded to introduce the panel participants – Keith Rabois of LinkedIn, David Tennenhause of Amazon, and Daniel Cohen of the Gemini Israel Funds – as representatives of "the old way of doing things".

Clearly in a provocative mood, Mike posed the first question –

Are we at the end of the beginning of the beginning of the end?

One of the interesting comments on this was from David Tennenhause: He's seeing a good, healthy supply of good people with good ideas. The problem he does see though is with the nature of the exits – because more and more companies get acquired, there are les and less independent companies and hence less companies who are able to acquire the younger ones.

Surprisingly enough, the YouTube topic came up. Mike noted that he didn't think much of YouTube when he first saw them. With no real technology, no funding, high costs and legal copyright issues, how did they end up succeeding? Keith came up with an interesting observation, that the network effect created by the fact that content creators send links to the content they create to their friends was underestimated in YouTube case.

Daniel Cohen noted that he would not invest in any company that bases its strategy on the Amazon S3 storage services, since in his opinion it takes the economics away. This is interesting, it goes against my instinct and what I would recommend to people debating this decision. I'd love to see his math.

Discussing business models and their importance, Keith shared his early PayPal days experience, reminding everyone that initially, PayPal was about beaming "currency" from one palm pda to another. Apparently, at one point they look at the implementation and figured that since they were using unique email addresses as the identifiers in any case, why not allow direct email to email as well. And then, some 50 or so eBay users stumbled upon this capability and added it to their eBay listing. Keith described an executive meeting in which this was discussed, and in which 2 of the executives said "What? Why would they do that? We should block them!". 24 hours later, they understood that they've found their business model.

Check out the Israel Web Tour blog, and more pictures from the event.