Widgets are one of the best-kept secrets marketers can use to capture the attention of potential visitors and drive traffic to your website. By increasing the interaction and connection of websites beyond links and video, widgets are a great way to promote a business and a website by presenting would-be visitors with interactive content that engages their interest and interaction.

Put literally, a widget is a small software application for distributed websites that displays a user interface designed to perform an action or activity based on data or calculations living on a different server.

We’ve all seen them. Groupon uses widgets to help merchants design their own online offers. Payscale provides a library of widgets that work with their real-time database to help other website builders add salary calculators, cost of living indexes and such, etc.

Beyond these examples, widgets are an effective way to expose data or crowd sourced information in easy to access ways. They can also serve as a scalable way to build links back to your target site while offering an easy to implement distributed application that people find valuable.

Widget “Rules of Thumb”

Creating a great widget is only the first step in widget success. Adhere to the following best practices when thinking about adding widgets to your website:

  • Transparency: The embedded link in the widget should be visible to the end user – don’t hide the link using CSS or other coding tricks.
  • No Bait and Switch: Make sure the link is relevant to the creator and content of the widget. Don’t use the widget anchor text and link to send traffic to a site not based on the content of the widget. For example, if the widget is from a pop culture site that displays the latest news on celebrities, don’t include anchor text and link that goes to an online college sign-up site.
  • Brand Attribution: Focus on the brand creating the widget with a keyword modifier in the link. The anchor text value is only one component of an effective widget link. To make the most of the link include both the brand and a lock-up of the focus keyword you are targeting. An example would be Powered by PowerPoint Presentation Software.
The SEO Litmus Test

As in all SEO related activities, aim to stay above board with “white hat” tactics. The SEO benefits of a well-executed widget include:

  • A distributed, persistent brand presence on other sites. Brand exposure can result in awareness and additional brand searches in the engines.
  • An increase in the number of different domains linking into your site. Domain diversity is a key component of any inbound linking program. 
  • An increase in the quantity of inbound links. The more useful and compelling the widget, the more it will be added to other sites.
  • Control over the anchor text in the link.
Development Guidelines for Widgets

A widget should be well designed, load quickly, and be lightweight from a code perspective so that it doesn’t slow the load of the page. The key to making the widget useful for SEO (including links) is making the widget visible to the search engines as part of the hosting page. This means the following:

  • Use a build technology that can be “crawled” or “read” by the search engine bots – HTML, JQuery, etc.
  • Avoid technologies such as iFrames. 
  • Use effective meta tags – not “no-follows” or “no-index” tag on the content.
  • Make the widget as code light as possible to keep the page load speed of the host page strong.
  • Make the widget as customizable from a color and targeting perspective as possible or as it makes sense for the application.
Widget Promotion

A good widget has a usefulness that excites webmasters, marketers, and end-users. However, the most helpful widget in the world can get lost without the proper positioning or rendered useless if users are unaware of their existence. Below are some tactics for making widgets easier to find and distribute.

  • Create a standalone page on your site for the widget. Use good SEO practices. Build the page into the navigation and site map structures. 
  • Promote the page by having the widget embedded into your own site, partner sites, or sites you have a business relationship with.
  • Create blog posts, mentions in your social media channels, profiles, and email newsletters.
  • Find some specific, relevant sites to partner with to “seed” the widget and get early feedback.
Measurement

As with most marketing activities or campaigns, make sure you have referral measurement mechanism set-up in place, so that you can learn which widgets are performing per your expectations. Track click-throughs, visits, conversions, and leads captured from your distributed creations. Keep the widgets that perform well, and remove the ones that are underperforming and potentially causing damage to your brand.

Look before you leap: humanity, personhood, equality, disability.

I’ve read about how it’s wrong to say that we are all human, that we are all people, or that you believe in equality. What people mean is that it’s damaging to pretend that everyone is the same. To act like in order for people to be valuable they have to be identical. People are right. Except…

People focus too much on finding specific sets of words to denounce whenever they are said, and too little on context. People are too willing to jump down the throat of anyone who talks about equality or everyone being human, without figuring out who is saying it, and why. Figuring out who and why goes a long way to figuring out what people are actually saying. Which in turn will tell you whether you’re actually justified in jumping down their throat.

One of my favorite articles ever is “Critic of the Dawn” by Cal Montgomery. She talks about two imaginary people, that disabled people are frequently mistaken for, although with a little tweaking they apply to plenty of other oppressed people.

~ begin quote ~

As I move through my life — a disabled person — two companions haunt me. They are imaginary, but in my dealings with other people, they are forceful. Sometimes other people cannot seem to sense me behind those phantoms. Sometimes I am forced into their masks, and falling out of character has consequences.

One I think of as an uncle. A descendant of Carrie Buck, of the Jukes and the Kallikaks, a cousin to the Rain Man and the wild children of the forests. You’ve seen him rocking in the corner, headbanging. He cannot speak and, people assume, has nothing to say. Sometimes he is a cute, incomprehensible child; sometimes a terrifying, incomprehensible adult. He is usually uncomprehending but sometimes manipulative; usually repellent but sometimes seductive. Violence swirls around him: sometimes he is a target, sometimes a perpetrator, sometimes both. He is an enigma, interpreted by others: he cannot define himself. He embodies the stereotypes, the paradigms of cognitive impairment, of my own particular set of labels. He’s no different from me — but he is. Get me in the right situation, and we look exactly alike. Get me in the right situation, and you can see no resemblance. Bruce, I call him in intimate moments, after a caricature I once saw on television.

The other I think of as a sister. A shadow twin. The daughter my parents wanted in my place, pretended they had. The sister my flesh-and-blood sister wished for. Me, but with impairment denied, defused, removed. Me, but with grace, stamina, social skills. She speaks for herself — then again, she doesn’t have to. She’s no different from me — but she is. Get me in the right situation, and we look exactly alike. Get me in the right situation, and you can see no hint of resemblance. Mary, I call her, after the aunt whose other name I was given.

~ end quote ~

Later on, she talks about why it is that some people try to emphasize their similarity while others try to emphasize their difference. This is more relevant to this conversation than people think about before leaping to conclusions:

~ begin quote ~

The incantations that invoke Mary, call her up to stand between me and the world, are variations on a theme: I am the same. Bruce is banished. The incantations that invoke Bruce and banish Mary are variations on a different theme: I am different.
“Same as what?” you ask. “Different from what?” The reference point — the imaginary person around whom society is planned — is a pale and obscure figure, but those who have searched him out report that he is white, straight, nondisabled, educated, mature, moneyed, and male.

Those whose sameness to this reference point, this mythical man, has been stressed — whose struggle in his world has been blamed on choice, on moral lapse — may quite reasonably insist on their difference. “Disabled and Proud,” reads a tee-shirt. Those whose difference from him has been stressed — whose exclusion from his world has been considered justified — may quite reasonably assert their sameness. “I am not a puzzle. I am a person,” reads a button.

~ end quote ~

Read that again. People who’ve been forced into sameness tend to emphasize their differences; people who’ve been forced into difference tend to emphasize their similarity. Most of us have been forced into both roles at different points in time, so we have both reactions depending on the situation.

There are people who need reminding that people don’t have to be identical to be valuable. People who say we are all human, we are all equal. Who need reminding that difference is not a bad thing, that it’s a vital part of the world that strengthens us rather than diminishing us. Usually privileged people who hide behind our common humanity because diversity frightens them.

But if you ever. Ever. Try to pull that shit on me. I will be furious with you, and will not be interested in your excuses. Here’s why.

I was going through my local university library to research the history of how professionals have understood autism. I ran across a book called “Introduction to Theory of Mind: Children, Autism and Apes” by Peter Mitchell. It was published in the year 2000.

An Ivy league ethics professor named Peter Singer has actually suggested that animals be given personhood while cognitively disabled humans have it taken away so it’s ethically easier to kill us. His criteria? Being able to see yourself as a unified self across time.

That leaves out me throughout a lot of my life. Even now, it leaves me out. Why? Because he doesn’t care whether you can do it. All that matters to him is whether those around you think you can do it. Because of my appearance and abilities, I am constantly vulnerable to not being judged capable of the slightest capacity for thinking.

Worse, this ability is not consistent for me. I still go through time periods where my self-awareness and ability to use conceptual thought is severely limited.

So I am constantly vulnerable to being judged as less qualifying for personhood than your average rat. By virtue of my diagnoses, my appearance, or my actual abilities.

Don’t tell me I shouldn’t be offended because animals are actually smart and capable and self-aware. In a world where the establishment views animals (and human infants) as lacking those things, being judged as less than animal, is not only a grave insult but a constant threat to your life.

Which reminds me, I’ve had medical professionals say I have the cognitive function of an infant. Recently. And when I got my feeding tube, they warned my DPA for that I would pull my tube out — I’d play with it like babies do. When my tube got caught on something and ripped out, the same doctors accused me of doing exactly that, tried to send a social worker to my home to assess whether I was capable of caring for a tube.

When I was going to get the tube to begin with, they tried to persuade me to go home and die instead. They did not believe that my life was worth the same as a regular human life.

People literally get away with murder all the time because people like me are not considered fully human. Whenever one of us is murdered, the media is flooded with support… for the murderers. They don’t even try to hide behind trickery. There are groups of parents of cognitively disabled children who are banding together for the legal right to murder their children. They’re not hiding it. They say that without certain cognitive abilities — such as that presumed ability to conceive of oneself as a self throughout time — people literally aren’t people, aren’t really alive. And if you think this isn’t aimed mostly at DD people, you’re woefully out of touch. If you haven’t noticed, “retard” is a slur worse than “animal”.

A researcher says:

"A few years ago, I was at a conference on language and evolution when an audience member questioned a prominent child language researcher’s thesis by raising a counter-example: One aspect of the development of children with Williams syndrome didn’t quite fit the researcher’s theory. The prominent child language researcher quickly retorted, “Oh, I’ve seen children with Williams syndrome. They don’t count. They’re not even human. They must belong to some other species entirely.” (…) And what was the distinctly nonhuman behavior demonstrated by some children with William syndrome? It was their ability to develop a prodigious vocabulary, prior to developing the ability to extend an index finger to point."

That same researcher points out what I noticed in the library — autistic people are frequently, by scientists, removed from the category of human and put in with robots or apes.

And these ways of viewing autistic people and other cognitively disabled people aren’t innocent. They are routinely used to justify our death and even promote the idea that we and everyone around us are better off if we die, and that murdering us should be legal and frequent. These are not fringe viewpoints, but relatively mainstream. And every time I need my life saved medically there is someone turning around saying it’s not worth it, forcing me and everyone around me to have to fight like hell.

So I will always insist that we are all human because it’s still commonplace wisdom that we aren’t. And because that threatens my life and the lives of everyone I am close to. Criticize me for that and you’re the one liable to get your head bit off because you’re the one not distinguishing between a privileged person afraid of diversity and an oppressed person fighting for our survival.

And as for equality? When I use it, it doesn’t mean the same thing as alike or identical. It means we all have the same value, it doesn’t mean we are all the same.

Again, context is everything. Not everyone uses the same words the same way. And paint by numbers politics/ethics appalls me.

Critic of the Dawn:

http://www.ragged-edge-mag.com/0501/0501cov.htm

sfJqueryWidgetsPlugin

The sfJqueryWidgetsPlugin is a symfony plugin that adds two jquery widgets to the list of available widgets bundled in the framework.

The two widgets are:

  • Drop down list that fires an Ajax request upon DOM event.
  • Sortable list that fires an Ajax request upon change.
Installation
  1. Install the Plugin [php]<code>$ symfony plugin:install sfJqueryWidgetsPlugin [/php]
  2. Clear Your Cache [php]<code>$ symfony cc [/php]
  3. Publish Plugins Assets [php]<code>$ symfony plugin:publish-assets [/php]
Usage sfWidgetFormPropelSelectAjax

Consider that you want in the admin generator for example to fetch subcategories of a certain category using ajax. You already have in the form the drop down list that shows a list of categories, what is missing is the ajax request fired upon change of the drop down list. Normally the ajax request is sent to an action that fetches the subcategories of the selected category and maybe displays them also in a drop down list.

Usage

We need to change the type of widget used to display the category drop down list from sfWidgetFormPropelSelect to sfWidgetFormPropelSelectAjax

[php] $this->widgetSchema[‘category’] = new sfWidgetFormPropelSelectAjax(array( ‘model’ => ‘Category’, ‘method’ => ‘getName’, ‘url’ => ‘test/ajax’ )); [/php]

As you can see in the above snippet we simply specify the model to be used for fetching the records to be displayed in the drop down list, next we specify the method used to display the text in the drop down list, and lastly we specify the url to which the ajax request is sent to.

In the action test/ajax you can fetch the id of the selected category from the request parameter id

sfWidgetFormPropelJQuerySortable

This is a really cool and effective widget, it allows sorting of a list of models and it’s so easy to use.

Usage

[php] $this->widgetSchema[‘categories’] = new sfWidgetFormPropelJQuerySortable(array( ‘model’ => ‘Category’, ‘url’ => ‘section/new’, )); [/php]

In the action section/new you can fetch the sorted list using the request parameter id

For a complete list of parameters and examples please refer to the phpdocs included in he plugin

Wifi Widget, para saber a qué red estás conectado



Una cosa que no me gusta de Android es que no es nada sencillo saber a qué red Wifi estás conectado. Sólo sabes que estás conectado a una red Wifi. Claro que desde el Launcher se puede pulsar menú, Ajustes, Conexiones inalámbricas y Ajustes de Wi-Fi para saber dónde estás, pero comparado con un ordenador que pasando el ratón por encima del icono de conexión se sabe dónde estás conectado, es muy complicado.


Por eso tengo un widget de escritorio que me permite ver en todo momento a qué red estoy conectado: Wifi Widget. De un vistazo y en varios tamaños tenemos la posibilidad de tener esta información visible siempre en el Launcher. Y no sólo esto, también proporciona algunas posibilidades más.


Aparte de decirnos a qué red estamos conectados nos dice la IP que tenemos y la MAC (que es útil si queremos restringir nuestra red Wifi de casa a una determinadas MACs). También vemos la velocidad de la conexión en todo momento (lo cual no me parece muy útil, ya que los indicadores de cobertura de la barra de notificación me parecen suficientes) y tenemos un botón para habilitar o deshabilitar la Wifi.


En definitiva, un widget muy útil, en varios tamaños, que nos permitirá saber en todo momento el estado de nuestra conexión Wifi. Todo de un vistazo, de forma gratuita y con un widget que ocupa muy poco espacio en el teléfono.


Código QR

Enlace al: Android Market Webstore  ||  Android Market Movil



Still Baffled By Tumblr Appearance

I watched some tutorials on youtube about how to add things to the Tumblr sidebar. In the tutorials, it shows buttons to click that don’t even show up on my Tumblr. I wonder if Tumblr has changed since those tutorials were made.  Surely there is still a way to add things to the sidebar like my Flickr badge, my Twitter feed or my RSS feeds. But it’s after 3 AM so that task will have to wait for another day.

Amazing little tool to let you track the tweets that flowed during the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, with filters to include or exclude certain types of tweeters. Very nifty use of the Web and technology. Should be a delight for researchers into political implications of social media. 

Get Your Own Instagram URL & Follow Widget For Your Website

Followgram is a web app developed as a way to extend those Instagram’s basic functions so appealing to millions of users already. Followgram creates an Instagram’s follow button to be embedded on websites, blogs and so on AND provides its users with a vanity URL, his/her photo gallery, friends, followers & following lists. Moreover, Followgram user’s page is fully customizable !

Beautiful Widgets: disponível gratuitamente na GetJar pelo sistema de Gold Apps

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Para quem gosta de personalizar a tela do seu smartphone com widgets, temos uma boa dica hoje. O aplicativo Beautiful Widgets, que na Android Market custa R$ 4,69, acaba de se tornar uma das Gold Apps da GetJar e está sendo disponibilizado de forma gratuita. O sistema de Gold Apps é algo semelhante à app do dia da Amazon App Store.

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Acessando o link no final do post, antes de realizar o download da app, você será convidado a instalar o aplicativo da GetJar, e através dele terá acesso livre à loja. Lembre-se que sendo uma app de terceiro, você terá que permitir a instalação de aplicativos disponíveis fora da Android Market para concluir a operação. Mas não tema, a GetJar juntamente com a Amazon App Store é uma excelente e conhecida alternativa à Android Market.

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Não deixe de conferir o nosso post sobre Gold Apps, você encontrará outras dicas imperdíveis de aplicativos pagos disponibilizados gratuitamente na GetJar, e o melhor, este sistema não prejudica o desenvolvedor, pois a GetJar remunera-os por downloads. No entanto, um inconveniente para o usuário é a impossibilidade de atualizações automáticas, vez que a instalação não se deu através da Android Market.

Requer Android 1.6 ou superior.

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Garmin's Birth Date Selection

On Garmin’s Connect website, a calendar widget is shown to select my birthdate. Considering the amount of clicks it takes to get to the year, a simple text box would be a better choice on this finely crafted website.

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