Netvibes – This will change your life, your virtual one at least

Jul 9th, 2010 | By | Category: Inspiring, Links, Technology

HTTP://WWW.NETVIBES.COM

In my experience with talking with folks that are much more tech savvy than I, one of the most surprising things is how few people know about Netvibes, even more surprising is how few people in the world actually use this brilliant free resource.   I’ve had this post in draft forward for well over a year now but after sitting down with an old friend who is a Mensa candidate with computers when compared to me and realized that even he has never heard of netvibes I decided to finally finished this bad boy.

So what is netvibes? Well to quote Wikipedia(as I so often do):

Netvibes is the first personalized dashboard publishing platform for the Web including digital life management, widget distribution services and brand observation rooms.

What the hell does this mean layments terms?  Well to quote http://hubpages.com/hub/What_is_Netvibes:

It is a service that allows users to set up their own customized start page composed of “modules” which can contain a wide variety of information from dozens and dozens of other sites. One of the most obviously useful things to include in a module is an RSS or ATOM feed of a popular blog or news service. Since RSS updates in almost real time, this allows users to, at a glance, arrange a customized list of news from a wide variety of sites all on one page.

Got it yet?  In short, and in my experience introducing others to netvibes, it will single-handedly change the fundamental way you use the internet.  Before Netvibes when I wanted to go and check my news sites one by one, bbc.co.uk, cbc, reuters.com, slashdot.org, etc etc.  I would spend about an hour a day and probably get through 10-12 sites and read about 5-15 news articles. With netvibes I currently have about 70 news, tech and science sites, along with 80 or so blogs covering business and video game development and finally my favorite DJ’s.  Think this would be overwhelming, are you already thinking that you wouldn’t use this anyways because who can handle that much information?  Well think again, the problem with the information we have online isn’t that we are presented with too much of it, it is how it is presented.  Believe it or not but Netvibes does such an amazing job at presenting it to you that you never feel overwhelmed.  Ever, infact i feel far more overwhelmed going to cnn.com and trying to find stories I want versus going to my general news section and browsing the headlines from The BBC, Cnet, CBC, CNN, The Guardian, Truthdig, The Register, Castanet, CTV, and finally TED.   It’s literally that good and it will literally change the way you interact with the internet.

An Example of a simple Netvibes layout

Obviously underneath all of this is RSS feeds.  If you don’t know what an RSS feed is just click on that orange icon directly underneath ‘Subscribe’ on the left side of this page.  You will be taken to the RSS feed for this site and all updated websites today will have an RSS feed hiding somewhere.  What Netvibes does is parses the information from as many RSS feeds as you want it to, organizes it into modules which you can customize, vary how many feeds are showing up, how they are displayed.  It makes it easy to take it at one glace, scan the headlines, mouseover what interests you and then I just middle click to open all the stories in new tabs.  I’ll queue up 10-15 stories, read em, and then queue up another 10-15 stories, rinse and repeat.  Most sites will even have RSS feeds for specific sections so on CNN for example I don’t have scan through the latest bullshit Celebrity dish to find actual news.  My list of sites and feeds has certainly grown over time.. Every time I stumble across a site for the first time and love the content I’ll grab the RSS feed and throw it into the mix.  It probably started with 8-10 news sites and now it’s well over 100, the best part is that it never gets overwhelming as the more sites I add the more I organize them and create separate tabs within netvibes for specific content (IE: tech or Spirituality).  You can go to http://www.netvibes.com/netflow and take a peek at how I have my setup and organized.  As you can tell by the above link you also have the ability to share some or all of your netvibes with the world

Another Layout

On top of handling RSS feeds netvibes has a plethora of widgets that you can plug into your page.  I have weather forecasts for various cities around the world, my good spreadsheets are tied in, todo lists and it even checks my gmail and hotmail.  As I mentioned before, Netvibes completely changed the way I interact with the virtual world and I consider myself fairly net savvy.  I’ve become more efficient, more organized and the amount of information I take in every day has increased 10 fold.  All thanks to this one free brilliant little service.

Widgets Galore

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