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PGTS High and Mighty Blog

Thread: General/Opinion

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Gerry Patterson, Your Very Humble And Trustworthy Blogger

So What About All This Web Portal Stuff?


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Date: Sat, 01 Mar 2008 02:12:18 +1100

The great MS/Yahoo Non-event has made me curious about the Web Portals. So I signed up for an iGoogle account and started to explore it.

The iGoogle service is very impressive. Especially considering that Google have created it as a spin-off from their core-business. This would be particularly worrying for Yahoo and MSN, who tried to make portals their core-business. Google has so much computing power they can create a service that rivals those offered by the likes of Yahoo, MSN, Apple's Mac et cetera. They can do with this with their excess capacity. And they can give it away for nothing.

Quite frankly I think Yahoo should take the money and run. Google is a Juggernaut and they have so much momentum they are going uphill like the hill wasn't even there.

Things don't seem to be going all that well for Microsoft lately. Some of their recent losses include:

Ok, having said all that, I will return to my explorations of iGoogle. The range of services is good. Some of them are still in Beta mode, but compared to Windows 95, they shine in excellence, competent systems design and comprehensive testing. But compared to Windows 95, a pile of horse-shit would seem really excellent (does anyone remember just how bad Windows 95 was?). But sarcasm aside, I am impressed with iGoogle. So far the only service I have used extensively is the iGoogle notes, however I am planning to look at Gmail and Picasa shortly. I have added gadgets like Scientific American, Weather, Dictionary, Thesaurus, Google Map search etc. A lot of these are things that Google already supplied and are the main reasons why the competition are eating the dust from Google's mighty wheels.

I do, however, have a couple of criticisms about notes. Just little niggles, but I may as well make them. In fact there is only one criticism of notes. Criticism number number 2 is so trivial it is hardly worth mentioning and 3 is (I suspect) Apple's problem.

  1. The Notes attachment is great. Safari is not supported. But Firefox is. And most Mac users that were serious about browsing would have a version of Firefox installed also. However the date (which appears in the right hand side of the note) is in American format. This, no doubt, would make the folks at Conservapedia happy, but I have to ask - Why not ISO? And if they are going to make it American, could us folks (the 95 per-cent of the population not living in America) please have it in our format? Or failing that a sensible format (like ISO). I note that they did allow me to change the date format in my settings when I set up the account, so this change might be in the pipeline.

  2. There is a trivial bug which will probably be fixed in the next release. When moving notes around with the move option, you can't move it to the very top position. Which would be ok, except that when you position the item above the top there is a dotted box to indicate that is possible to move the item there. This is trivial. Now that I know that I can't move items to the top, I can work around it by moving to second from the top and them moving the top item under the second one. But it is a bug nonetheless.

  3. Something strange happens to Firefox on Mac OS X. For some reasons fonts like "Courier New" don't render. Of course the Mac has this font. But for some strange reason Firefox does not grok them. I am pretty sure that it is an Apple problem not a Firefox problem.

So for the time being, I will keep on iGoogling. Over the next couple of weeks I will be looking at iWeb on the Mac.


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