Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Blogs - and Widgets

Blogging is a great way of publishing. I am aware that two of my students have blogs, in which they report on their progress of their PhD work and their activities related to it:

Monika Andergassen's work is about blogging and its use in learning and teaching context.

Johannes Christian's work is about Augmented Reality in an industrial environment.

It is a great idea to publish such a blog: it can be used to link to the international research community, and also to update the supervisor about project progress.

In order to view these blogs conveniently, I have installed a Yahoo Blog widget: First I needed to install the Yahoo Widget Manager, which makes widgets available on the desktop of my computer. Then I installed the Multi RSS Feed Widget by Matt Heidenreich - this allows to have the feeds on the desktop being automatically displayed.

One problem I noticed with this: the date of the blog post somehow gets deleted when I click on individual posts. This is ok when going directly to the blog page, but when looking at the posts through the widget, there is no date shown.

But otherwise, this widget works, and now I can see at a glance what is going on.

I would recommend this type of interaction between students and supervisors who are working at a distance. This method allows to stay in contact and up-to-date, even across different time zones. I will recommend it to all students in whose supervision I am involved.

1 comment:

Reinhold Behringer said...

One note about the Yahoo Widgets: I do not have reproducable evidence, but it seemed to me as if my laptop computer ran slightly sluggish, after I had installed those Yahoo Widgets. Memory shortages, windows would not open, mouse clicks would be ignored, even the old CTRL-ALT-DEL would not be accepted. No idea what this was... some background process, taking away specific controls... I already feared that some kind of virus had invaded.
But after I uninstalled the Widgets, the system seemed to work fine again - I did not have any of those hick-ups yet. If the system again will have problems, I will post another comment, to acquit the Yahoo Widgets. But for now I have to assume that they are the culprit.

About feeding RSS content from blogs/feeds to any web site: this is the original site of FEED2JS, with the code to translate RSS to Javascript. Many of the other sites which employ this tool, have an older version installed, which does not translate the posting date of Google Blogspot posts correctly; instead of the posting date, the current date appeared. But this site has the latest version, and works quite well. I am going to put it on my homepage to show latst blog entries and Flickr pictures, and also will use it on the Centre of Creative Technology web site (where I have experimented with an earlier version, which produces the incorrect date).