This whole widget thing seems to be taking off. Opera has released a preview version with widgets built in, and now Google have offered something. The new beta of the Google Desktop includes what aren’t being called widgets but should be, as described by Mihai Ionescu, one of the engineers behind the Desktop : As a Sidebar user, you can now customize and view personalized information anywhere on the the desktop by clicking and dragging your favorite panels wherever you like. Furthermore, you can now easily share information from your Sidebar panels with your contacts by sending it to them through email, chat or directly
Another great, simple product from the folks at 37 Signals: Writeboard is live : Writeboard is a web-based writing tool. It lets you simply write, share, revise, and compare text. With Writeboard you can write solo or collaborate with as many people as you’d like. Writeboard isn’t about heavy text formatting, or WYSIWYG, it’s about the text itself. The words on the page. If you care about design and layout, you’re best bet is to take the finalized text from a writeboard and import it into a page layout program. Make your magic in the right tool. Nice.
Must confess I missed this when it first kicked in, but could it be the nail in the ‘anti-phishing toolbar’ coffin? EarthLink lands a win, according to ZDNet, after being sued by a bank incorrectly flagged as a phishing website: EarthLink had warned its customers who installed a free “ScamBlocker” toolbar–and visited AssociatedBank.com–that the Web site was “potentially fraudulent” and said that they should “not continue to this potentially risky site.” The warning was wrong. Associated Bank, headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., with more than 300 locations in the Midwest, operated a legitimate Web site. EarthLink got off the hook because they bought their list of
I’ve had the Google Sidebar aboard for nearly a month now and, sadly, I’m not impressed. I had hoped early teething problems would somehow fix themselves, but they haven’t. These are the problems I’ve encountered (some of which may be down to my own ineptitude, or conflicts I grant you): unable to access Gmail account in Email Plug-in (password not recognised). Others report a similar problem; unable to access AdSense account in third party Adsense Status plug-in; Unable to ‘train’ News Plug-in so it gives me news I can use. I’ve been telling it what I don’t like by clicking on the ‘Don’t show me
If it was from any other company it wouldn’t really matter, but Google’s Desktop Sidebar is important, not because it’s particularly new, but because it undermines the primacy of the browser. Loose Wire ‘s WSJ.com column in June looked at desktop widgets like Konfabulator and Klips before, as well as existing sidebars like the Desktop Sidebar, put together in his spare time by software engineer Damian Kedzierski, 34, who lives in Katowice in southern Poland. Or the SpyderBar from New Orleans-based TGT Soft. In the longer term, Microsoft has indicated that it plans to incorporate a very similar approach in its next version of Windows.
You probably knew this, but the Blessing of Loose Wire strikes again: Yahoo! buys Konfabulator, a widget manufacturer I wrote about in a recent column: Yahoo! has bought Konfabulator, the software that brought widgets to the Mac and latterly to Windows. Apple has since developed its own widget environment, Dashboard, and integrated it into the latest version of OS X. It was assumed that Konfabulator would quietly die; instead the developers brought out a Windows version good enough to attract the attention of the Internet search giant. Widgets are small, floating applications that give access to specific information or tools, and provide easy and quick
This isn’t new, and it’s not even supported anymore, but it’s a great Outlook add-in that is both inspiring and depressing. Inspiring because it shows us what we could be doing, depressing because there’s nothing really like this out there that fulfils this kind of potential. It’s Datelens – A Revolutionary Scalable Calendar Interface: Calendar applications for small handheld devices such as PDAs are growing in popularity. This led us to develop DateLens, a novel calendar interface that supports not only PDAs, but a range of devices, from desktop computers to Tablet PCs. It supports users in performing planning and analysis tasks by using a
Netcraft is now offering a Firefox version of its excellent anti-phishing Toolbar. The toolbar runs on any operating system supported by Firefox and displays the hosting location, country, longevity, popularity, and an abstracted risk rating for each site visited. Additionally, the toolbar blocks access to phishing sites reported by other members of the Netcraft Toolbar community and validated by Netcraft, mobilizing the community into a giant neighborhood watch scheme which empowers the most alert and experienced members to protect the vulnerable against fraud and phishing attacks. Well over 7,000 phishing sites have been detected and blocked by people using the Netcraft Toolbar since the system started
Here are the results of the toolbars that didn’t work out for me. Remember, the attack is clever enough to appear as a legitimate website in the URL box. The question is: Will the toolbar realise that’s not the only source of data appearing on the webpage? Earthlink’s Scamblocker toolbar came out neutral: The text reads While we can’t guarantee that this Web page is safe, ScamBlocker found no evidence that indicates fraud or Internet scam. Of course, neutral really isn’t good enough. Corestreet’s Spoofstick took a pretty straightforward punt on the site, and in doing so got it wrong too: Other toolbars that
Last week I wrote in my WSJ.com/AWSJ column (sub required) about the cross site scripting phish I received a few weeks ago (it appeared late because of the Easter holiday.) The point I made in the column is that most of the browser toolbars designed to prevent phishing failed to warn the user of the attack. Some readers have asked which toolbars didn’t work. I didn’t have space in the column to list them, but I did mention that one worked: Netcraft’s Anti-phishing Toolbar. Sadly it only works with IE, but since most banking sites still insist on only functioning in that browser, this is