Internet tips

One ‘home’ page: personalising the internet

Whenever we log onto the internet, the plethora of things we can do is daunting – check our emails, view our calendar, purchase any manner of items from online auctions or shops, find a ‘soulmate’, get advice on medical problems, book a holiday, the list is as large as there are websites.

Organising this on one ‘home’ page is one way of simplifying the never-ending list of sites and services around. Home page services have been around for a while, but it’s only recently – with the popularity of on-line feeds, the introduction of Google’s Calendar, advanced coding languages such as XHTML and XML, and the functionality of Flick photos – that its time has definitely come.

I’ve used a number of services, and found to not only be the most feature rich but also the easiest to use. From the ‘Add content’ link in the top left corner it was a breeze to add London and Hamilton’s weather forecasts which use neat graphics, a search bar that incorporates Wikipedia as well as Google and Yahoo, and getting the RSS feeds for the Guardian, ‘Quote of the day’, Reuters and The Times was a just matter of selection.

Configuring email took a little longer. First you’ll need to sign in to Netvibes (in the top right hand corner), then login to either Gmail or Yahoo! Mail directly from Netvibes. You can select how many emails are displayed, and if you check the box it’ll provide a synopsis of each email. If you don’t have Gmail or Yahoo! Mail then you can configure a POP account. This is simple enough, but configuration depends on the POP account. If you’re having problems, visit the ‘Help’ files at your POP account there and fill in the Netvibes boxes accordingly.

Adding bookmarks is dead handy and similarly simple from the ‘Add bookmarks’ link.

Further customisation is possible For instance I’ve created a new tab for ‘Travel’, but Netvibes offers no feeds. You can easily search the internet for RSS and the subject of your choice. There’ll be someone out there regularly updating new content on that subject, so head to a site that looks interesting and click on the RSS link. It ought to look a little like the image to the right on this page. That ought to bring up some XML code, but it’s the RSS address you’re after in the ‘Address’ or ‘Location’ bar. Copy and paste that into the ‘Add my feed’ edit box in Netvibes and it will do it’s thing. Voila! Configured.

Get started now by clicking on the link to below:

Add to netvibes

Next week I’ll be discussing options for getting your calendar online and into your new homepage.

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