Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Some things are best left alone

Filed under : Meta/Blognews
On May 16, 2007
At 1:25 am
Comments : 14

So yesterday I got a little message (how isn’t important but it wasn’t via bird or telegraph, I assure you) that the software that’s used to run this blog (WordPress) has just been updated. The biggest new thing about it is that it’s got built-in support for sidebar-widgets. I know that sounds like something they manufacture on the Jetsons but it’s actually the ability to put cute little things in your sidebar and move them around as you wish. I mean, I have a few fun things now but they were stuck there manually. I began to wonder if it was worth all the work to make my design function with these widget things. So I had a look at the WordPress widget directory. Here are some of the widgets on offer (I’m just going to include the descriptions and not the titles so as not to embarrass the designers who I’m sure worked very hard on these things):

Add an ‘About Me’ with image/blurb/links to your sidebar
Sounds suspiciously like something I already have.

Allows entry and display of latest AV fuel prices
How…. useful.

Outputs your Battlefield 2 profile statistics
This is surely what my blog has been lacking.

Template widget for caching widget content
I don’t even know what this means.

Display charts in sidebar
I can see it now: “Becca’s blogging productivity, downward trending.”

Display your list of favorite beers and pubs.
Oh, but how could I make these all fit in one container?

Display information about Indonesia
What, you don’t know everything already?

Controls color and size of adsense ads

Display your location with Google Maps as a widget
It’s Manhattan. In New York. In the USA. North America, Earth. You’ll just have to visualize it in your mind.

Add UK Lib Dem campaign buttons.
Tempting, but will the colors match my theme?

Display your favorite stock quotes
Up is usually my favorite.

Show link to Amazon book read
Too humiliating.

Allows bloggers to promote other good bloggers
Isn’t that what the links area is for?

Displays ‘festive dates’.
The quotation marks around ‘festive’ scare me.

Allow visitors to translate your blog
Have you used Google translate? If not, here’s an actual sample:
“The things should hardly be arranged by the end of the century. A modeling recent, carried out by NASA and published in April in the Newspaper of Climate, indicates that by 2085, the summers will become extremely hot in the United States. The temperature could spread out of 38 oC with 42 oC on most of the American territory.”
[editor’s note: scary!]

Places the verse of the day ( in your sidebar
Oh, hell to the no.

A widget for WP Polls
How much are people annoyed by polls:
a. a lot
b. exponentially
c. Ask me again and I kill you.

Displays the Track played most recently
If they had this for AOL Radio, I’d do it. But always tells me the artist I want isn’t available. And who wants that in your sidebar? Poll answer: not me.

Displays your clock in your sidebar
Excellent for a link to “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” but other than that I can’t think of a reason.

Adds a customizable Skype “Call me” button to your sidebar
I love you all but please don’t call me.

Allow visitors to send SMS messages to your mobile device
Preferable, but still no.

Display users on-line
Do you really want everyone knowing you’re reading this blog right now?

Come to think of it, I think I’ll remain unwidgetized for the time being.

Chicago – Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?


14 Comments for this post

  1. JFB says:

    And I thought my widgets were vain…

  2. Ben K. says:

    I run WordPress on both my site (Second Ave. Sagas and River Ave. Blues), and as I did some research into whether or not it’s worth the hassle to upgrade. I think this post sums up why widgets are about the most useless heralded technological “upgrade” so far…

  3. Becca says:

    You see? The bloggers understand.

    Ah, but JF, your widgets are really subtle. Everything there is useful to the reader. That’s my standard. I especially like the “recent bookmarked sites” one. I can’t do that, however, as once again the humiliation thing comes into it.

    Ben, what annoys me is that it used to be default that you didn’t have widgets enabled and you had to use a plugin to get them. Now you have to get a plugin not to get them. The hell with that!

    I saw an interview with Matt Mullenweg from WP where he said he doesn’t even like widgets because they are mostly useful for the blogger, not the reader. So true. Of course, I’d jump on a “Where in the world is David Nalbandian” widget.

  4. NoShowMo says:

    But . . . but . . . what ARE your Battlefield 2 statistics? Don’t leave us hanging!

  5. I applaud your widget restraint!


  6. Becca says:

    Nosh, I don’t know, but I have an 84% win history on Freecell! Look for it in my sidebar coming soon.

    Thank you, thank you, Ima!

  7. Linda says:

    Ah, welcome to Widget Hell. Everything under the sun is uh, too much.

    It reminds me of Yahoo 360, which has every group you’re in (and it’s logo), every book you’ve read (and it’s picture)…and every person you know. Way too much.

    I must comment on the polls. Eighth graders really seem to like them. 🙂 Heh. Gotta know my audience.

    Great reading, as usual Becca.

  8. Ben K. says:

    I must comment on the polls. Eighth graders really seem to like them. 🙂 Heh. Gotta know my audience.

    Seriously. I gave up on blog polls about two years ago when I would be lucky to get 1/10 of my readers to respond.

  9. Becca says:

    Linda, this is true, the kids do like to decorate. Which is why I can’t bear MySpace. And thanks!

    Ah, but Ben, if you had the teens & tweens crowd like Linda you’d up that to at least 80%.

  10. KP says:

    Widget is a great word.

    And that’s all I got.

  11. Linda says:

    Interesting note to Ben and Becca: I looked at my *Favorite Subject Poll*, and because I didn’t block repeat users (can’t at school), I have 522 votes for Math as the favorite subject.

    That is so not right. And it’s the first time I’ve had skewed results. Perhaps it the MagicJewball or some weird bloggy karma.

  12. Lydia says:

    But, how much do those widgets cost?

    I think that was another lame attempt at accounting humor. Ugh…back to the calculator.

  13. RN says:

    Alas, I am destined to live in a widgetless world.

  14. Becca says:

    I can’t believe the math-lovers stuffed the ballot-box, Linda! Of course, they’d be the ones to know how to game the system. This is not to say that JBall doesn’t have weird bloggy karma, because it does.

    However, if your polltakers need accounting career advice, send them to Lydia.

    RN, maybe some day. Just to prove that I can. And then I’ll code my own David Nalbandian widget. Golly, I’m a nerd. Not that I didn’t know that from the fact that I got Lydia’s widget joke.

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