Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I am really getting to old...

I honestly don't know if this is serious technology reporting...or satire.

An acquisition by Yahoo empowers widget market

Konfabulator is a Java-based program that runs modules called widgets. Each widget specializes in fetching specific information and displaying it on a computer desktop in a visually cool way.

Normally, I'm suspicious when a small, innovative company is swallowed by a bigger one, but given that Yahoo has made the program free and taken Pixoria's entire three-person staff on as employees, there's not much of a downside. The only evil I can see so far is that the name's been changed to — ugh — Yahoo! Widgets.

Other than the fact that Konfabulator's cool, free and incredibly useful, why is this an important move by Yahoo?

Most of the widgets developed for Konfabulator rely on a kind of data feed known as XML, which stands for Extensible Markup Language. This is the code that powers RSS, or Really Simple Syndication feeds, which I have written about in the past (see www.chron.com/rssreaders).

Konfabulator allows widget designers to capture XML feeds and present them graphically, rather than as simple text or a table. That's important for the development of this powerful technology, which is primarily used now by techies and early adopters. Konfabulator is the type of application that can bring RSS and XML to the masses. And that's Yahoo's audience.

With its abundance of content and marketing savvy, Yahoo could turn Konfabulator into a killer application.

There is no question that I'm too old. Companies named Yahoo!, products named Konfabulator which include modules called Widgets. And this is all serious!!! I can't wait for my son to get to elementary school so he can show me how to use this stuff...

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