Tag Archives: widgets

Get your NFL team as your Android clock widget

The folks over at XDA Developers do great work. If you have ever thought of rooting a phone or searched for a custom ROM then you have almost certainly stumbled across that web site. However, you may not have realized that they also produce custom apps as well. Recently a custom NFL clock widget was unveiled there.

For now, the teams available are Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, acksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers. In other word, the AFC.

“These HD Clock widgets can be freely sized from 1 x 1 to full screen and work for all Android 4.0+ devices. These Apps cost $.99 USD on my website but as an exclusive to XDA members they are free.”

You can head over to the thread of Ron427 to grab the widgets and view his download and installation instructions. The developer asked for no direct links to be posted, so I will honor the request. You will need to search around for the link, but it isn’t hard to find. There is no word on when the NFC versions will be coming.

3 WordPress Plugins You Should Have

There are many good WordPress plugins available out there.  Some allow you to track your site’s stats – like Google Analytics and Quantcast Quantifier.  Some may help generate traffic – like All In One SEO.  Some even help generate revenue like Quick Adsense and Amazon Best Selling Electronics.  Today I thought I would showcase three that get less attention, but also can do a great job for your site.

AddToAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Button

You may have seen the AddToAny plugin in action on many web sites.  It usually appears at the bottom of a post and looks similar to this:

It’s highly configurable as it allows you to choose from over 100 sites that you can have appear in the bar, choose from several options for the Share/Save button, where you want it to appear, menu style and options, etc.  It’s a great way to allow your readers to easily share your articles.

Yet Another Realated Posts Plugin

The Yet Another Realated Posts Plugin is a way of letting your readers find similar stories on your site that they may also be interested in.  Here it is in use on the MakeUseOf website’s RSS feed:

You can have this appear at the end of your articles on your site or in your RSS feed or both.  It scans your site in several ways – categories, keywords, and tags – and finds articles related to the one your are posting and puts links at the bottom of the article that can point readers to other posts they may be interested in.  It’s a great way to retain eyeballs.

Google XML Sitemaps

The Google XML Sitemaps plugin has a slightly misleading title.  I say that because XML sitemaps don’t just help Google, but also most other major search engines like Bing, Ask.com, etc.  It’s a little hard to explain so I’ll borrow from the WordPress description.

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.

As you can see from the description it makes your site more easily indexed, which is always a good thing.  It updates pretty regularly, but if you add a new post and are particularly anxious to get the word out then you can do a manual update.  The settings section will give you lots of data and options.

So, there are three of the many WordPress plugins that are out there.  These three focus on getting your site noticed and keeping people on it once they are there.  If you have a good one then please let us know in the comments section below.

Mini Review of SquareSpace.Com

From time-to-time I develop websites for clients and they generally want something reasonable (cheap) and easy to Squarespacemaintain. I’ve been hearing about a new company, SquareSpace, and how great it was so I decided to try it for myself. I was generating a proposal to update a website and decided to implement a prototype in Squarespace so the client could actually test drive my ideas.

I signed up for the 14 day free trial and watched a few “getting started” videos to help understand the interface. The site uses a visual interface and it’s very easy to get started. You pick a template style and color scheme depending on the type of site you want to create: blog, photo gallery, commercial/business. The templates are just a starting point because everything can be customized. You can even start with a blank screen and build your site from scratch. The templates are really CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) pages that can be customized by a visual interface or directly adding/modifying the CSS code.

In the site editor you can add pages and sections in sidebars that appear on every page. When you create a page or section you specify what “widget” to use. Widgets determine the type of content you want to add (journal/blog, html/text, links, search, map, forum, etc.). You can add/remove widgets and even change templates on the fly.

The site editor has four modes: Style Editor, Structure Editor, Content Editor, and Preview. The Style editor is where you pick/change your template, change column layouts, adjust fonts, colors and sizes, and customize the CSS. The Structure editor is where you add sections and pages. The Content editor is the section you will use the most after your site is configured the way you want it. This is where you add blog content, upload photos to your gallery, and change the information that your visitors will see. The last mode, Preview, shows you what your visitors will see when they visit your site.

Since this is a mini review I won’t go into all the details but I will tell you that I had a simple site up and running in four hours without any CSS or HTML coding. The site was mostly functional but it didn’t have the exact look and feel I wanted. I started switching templates to find a feature or a look I wanted for certain parts of my site and looked to see how it was implemented. In some cases it was a simple setting change in the visual interface and in others it was CSS overrides that made the difference (this is where watching the advanced help videos really helped). In one case I wanted to create a HTML page and add links to other pages. Since the linked pages were not created through the normal “add page” process, I couldn’t find a way to do it. I searched the Squarespace Help forum and found a mention of creating a hidden section on the sidebar and creating my pages there. This worked but seemed to be a kludge in the overall design.

Squarespace pricing starts out at $8/month for the Basic package and runs to $50/month for the Community package. You will need the $14/month Pro package if you want to map the website you create to your own domain name.


  • Easy to create a website in minutes.
  • Lots of features for creating, maintaining, and monitoring your site.
  • Import content from other blogging sites: WordPress, Movable Type/Type Pad, and Blogger.
  • Detailed website analytics available.
  • Private site areas (password protected) and multiple editors.
  • Supports RSS and iTunes tags.
  • 100% customizable.
  • Great pricing.


  • Website must be hosted by SquareSpace.
  • May require some HTML and CSS knowledge to really tweak the site the way you want (you may need to hire a consultant to finish the design).
  • No direct support for adding audio and video content. You can embed flash players using HTML Injection points but that feature is not available in the Basic or Pro packages. This may be supported with new widgets in the future.

In conclusion I was very impressed with what Squarespace offers. They have so many great features that I can’t possibly talked about of all of them here. I would suggest checking it out for yourself (14 day free trial) if for no other reason than to see how easy it is to create your own website.

73’s, Tom

Chumby – CES 2009

Chumby_logo_text90Check out what the folks at Chumby have planned for 2009. They are focusing on community and hope to see some changes in the hardware department.Chmbyblue_290x270 The unit they show in the video is a “proof of concept” device and they are looking for manufacturers who want to take over the product.

Chumby is a personalized internet content on connected screen. Last year they present a personal internet media player that you can configure the play of your favorite parts of the internet that is encapsulated in widgets.  Today they are showing a prototype hardware and software, a chumby enabled photo frame. Full featured photo frame with has gigabit internal memory. You can attach USB devices and SD Cards with a touch screen interface. When you buy the frame it comes up with set of widgets. You can widgetize all photo contents. On chumby enabled device you can look at photos from all different sources in a multimedia stream and it has also internet radio. With the social networking aspect of the device you can send photos to other people. They have also the concept of Grandma mode where the frame is very easy to configure. The original chumby (shown in the product picture above) cost $199.95 at www.chumby.com