Sunday, November 9, 2008

Network problems

Usually, when I can't access a site, I assume there's a problem at the other end...and that the owner of the site will do what s/he can do get it back up and running. It's not always that simple. For about 2 weeks now I've been unable to access Knowbodies' famous and indispensable Pageflakes page of library and technology feeds...from home. But from my computer at work, I have no trouble getting through. The problem therefore, must not be with, but with the route that takes me there. This is tricky, because although Pageflakes - like any other website - wants people to come and visit, there's only so much it can/will do about traffic problems along the way. In this case the problem, according to Pageflakes, was this: "We tracked down the cause of this problem. It turns out Sprint has depeered Cogent so traffic is not flowing between the 2 backbones and essentially broke part of the web. Our data-center is trying to re-route since we're on Sprint." So, until Sprint and Cogent iron out their problems, or until Pageflakes manages to re-route, which may not be high on their agenda if not a lot of people are affected, the site is as good as gone for some of us.

In the meantime, I've replicated the incredibly useful "Knowbodies - libraries and technology" page over at Netvibes. It's pretty much the same as the Pageflakes page of the same name, but with some additional blogs pulled from from Walt Crawford's list of library blogs. The page now sports feeds from 50 of the blogs I find most useful - but suggestions for other pages that should be added are always welcomed.

For me, services like Pageflakes, Netvibes, Alltop and BozPages - metagators that aggregate many RSS feeds on one page - provide the most convenient interface for scanning great quantities of information. The instant mouseover previews that these sites provide are an additional feature that is indispensable for filtering out irrelevant info when scanning through the feeds (e.g. the yellow note in the image of the open widgets below) Here are shots of the new Knowbodies -Libaries and Technology Netvibe page in open and collapsed mode... Note that each widget can be opened/collapsed by using the little arrow that appears to the left of the icon when you mouse over it. There is also an arrow in the upper right corner of the page that allows you to collapse/open all collectively, but that feature appears to be disabled until you log in/sign up with Netvibes.(I've sent them a message suggesting they open that feature to everybody....) Go check it out! Are the images slightly out of focus? Just click on them!

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