November 6, 2013

PHSChemGuy's Protopage

iGoogle is fully and officially dead, and I'm a little late to the party.

Sure, Google posted something sixteen months ago saying that iGoogle would be heading into the sunset. So I, of course, waited until the day after iGoogle went belly up to really do anything about the impending doom. On Thursday, I saw the note saying 'iGoogle will not be available after November 1' and assumed I had until the end of the day on November 1 to make my desperate, eleventh-hour decision to choose a replacement. Instead, when I woke up on Friday, November 1, my homepage of iGoogle was no longer available, and I was forced to switch.

After skimming through a few other the recommended options, I've gone with Protopage as my replacement.

Reasons I picked protopage...
  • Visual similarity to iGoogle - Each widget shows the seven (default number) newest items from any RSS feed in an individual 'window' with a simple title bar with clickable links for each story/entry. A single page can be set up to include individual tabs of different rss feeds.
  • Ease of use - Adding a widget is easy as can be: click Add Widget up top and type in the name of the page. Occasionally Protopage can't find the appropriate rss feed, but the correct link is usually just a click or two away on the blog's site.
  • Customizability - Individual RSS feed windows can be colored differently. The background of the various pages can be changed to any color, a couple dozen built-in backgrounds, or any image on the web. (I went with this image of bokeh for now.) The widgets can also be resized to any width (as with the calendar that I've spread to three columns wide.) Individual widgets and tabs can also be renamed as you choosen.
  • Link management - I'm a right-click-open-in-new-tab guy, but that caused an initial problem because links opened that way don't appear in Protopage to have been visited, leaving them looking identical to any un-visited links. Protopage does, however, grey out (with strikethru, also) any pages clicked to via Protopage. I don't know yet whether links visited from outside Protopage would also grey out. Gotta check on that.
  • Google integration - Protopage has a number of widgets built in including Gmail and Google Calendar, both of which are kinda important to my organizing on the web.
  • Sharing - It's possible to make your protopage public and share it with anyone on the web for view-only privileges or editing privileges. I haven't chosen to take advantage of that yet, but I may in the future.
Drawbacks I've seen so far...
  • I can't customize each page's background uniquely. It seems that changing one changes them all.
  • The Google calendar widget doesn't seem willing to sync multiple calendars. I have The Girl and Calen's calendars visible on my Google calendar when I go directly there, but the widget will only show my calendar entries. They're clearly the most important ones, but I'd like to be able to see the others, too.
  • Visiting an blog's page (for example, doesn't grey out the various links that I've seen because I didn't visit each individual story's link. That was an issue with iGoogle, too, though.
  • Yeah, that's about it.
If you were an iGoogle user, what've you chosen as your replacement, and why is it better (or worse) than Protopage.

No comments: