Posts Tagged “widgets”
Jul 1, 2009
The initial idea of the loanmeter widget was to show where in the world Kiva was offering loans. However, as I used the widget myself, I realised that the location in the world was less important for me, and I was more interested in knowing what the person was going to use the money for. So, I added some options to filter by “sector” and I figured that having some graphs comparing how much money was requested and already funded, for each sector, would be a very quick and visual way to get the information I wanted. I started playing with flot, and I have to say that except for a couple of relatively minor problems, it was quite easy to use. I don’t have screenshots showing the graphs, but feel free to try the widget itself and have a look (hint: you have two buttons at the bottom right corner to switch between “map view” and “graph view”).
The other widget I have been working on is a monitor widget for projects in CruiseControl.rb (a really simple and neat continuous integration server we use at Opera). More than one year ago, my colleague Nico had written a very quick & dirty widget for monitoring the result of the test runs of the My Opera functional testsuite. There were a couple of things I wanted to change, and I also wanted to monitor other projects, so I figured that I’d rewrite the widget to have a more maintainable codebase and then make it generic, so you could configure which CC.rb installation and which project to monitor. I’m moderately happy with the result of the refactoring, and happy enough with the final result. I know it has several issues, and I expect that once anyone outside our team starts using it, there will be things to improve and fix :-) If you use CruiseControl.rb, give it a try!
Jun 1, 2009
I haven’t written in some time, I know. I haven’t done much worth blogging about. Just a new release of the Kiva World Loanmeter widget, and also a couple of things at work that I’ll be releasing soon (including a small tool for managing database changes and some Perl module to parse Debian
However, recently I watched a really funny and interesting talk at TED, Are we in control of our own decisions?, by Dan Ariely. In the talk he mentions his book, Predictably Irrational, which funnily enough a friend had already mentioned to me.
Well, I just finished the book and I have to say it was very interesting and eye-opening. It’s interesting how it shows our minds are biased for certain kinds of decisions or behaviour, even though they are often not the best for us. Some of the experiments are truly brilliant and they show totally unexpected (at least before starting reading the book ;-P) outcomes. One of the experiments that got me thinking was this:
> > Research on stereotypes shows […] that stereotyped people themselves react differently when they are aware of the label that they are forced to wear […] One stereotype of Asian-Americans, for instance, is that they are especially gifted in mathematics and science. A common stereotype of females is that they are weak in mathematics […] In a remarkable experiment, […] asked Asian-American women to take an objective math exam. But first they divided the women into two groups. The women in one group were asked questions related to their gender […] The women in the second group were asked questions related to their race […] The performance of the two groups differed in a way that matched the stereotypes of both women and Asian-Americans. Those who had been reminded that they were women performed worse than those who had been reminded that they were Asian-American. > >
I can’t stop thinking about the implications this has to working conditions and productivity in different countries, and also to project management.
Dec 14, 2008
I never liked Opera Widgets too much. I tried them a couple of years ago, but I never saw the point. I even tried the games, but they performed so ridiculously poorly that I just gave up. What did I need them for?
Around one year ago, however, I found the first useful widget, a kind of simple “monitor” for the Continuous Integration server run for some project. It was really simple and actually useful (basically, a big window that is either green or red). Shortly after, someone pointed me at a “random lolcat” widget (best widget ever, I say; unfortunately is not public), so I started to wonder if I was wrong and widgets were maybe useful after all.
Since then, I have found another widget that I find very handy, the Twitter widget, and I even realised that the performance problems were something of the past, so I could consider trying a couple of games. And, alas, it turns out that there are at least two games worth trying: Bubbles and my favourite, Ninja Ropes Extreme.
So give them a try, you might be surprised :-)