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Quest for the Ultimate Homepage

By ikarus in Technology
Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 05:27:29 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

Some time ago, I noticed that I never knew what to do with the 'homepage' feature on my browser. I never seemed to find a site that met my log-on needs. Instead, I'd always hit stop, type in an address and start making my usual rounds on the web, hopping from site to site. In an almost compulsive fashion, I'd check my favorite sites for new stories, see if my comments were getting good ratings, check my email and more. It got to be quite tiring. So, what started out as some horribly mangled JavaScripts, has worked its way into an emerging portal.

I always thought that the idea of a portal was great, but the way they were being done felt wrong. Most portals evolved from directories and search engines, they were designed to search through indexes for information; to locate not aggregate. What I wanted was a way to collect the information that I was interested in, and organize it. I didn't want to be locked into a particular newswire, or a particular search engine, and I wanted to get information from sites that weren't 'big' enough to make it onto a traditional portal. What I wanted just didn't exist. So I started trying to make it.

What I came up with is fyuze.com. The idea is pretty simple: select the content you want, arrange it as you please, and next time you log on it will all be there waiting for you. To make a K5 analogy, think of it as the ultimate Hot List. Or, you may think of it like the RSS feature that my.netscape.com used to provide. Or, even still, like slashboxes gone mad, or the new sidebar feature in Mozilla. But as much as fyuze is like some of these, it is also very different. The easiest way to see how, of course, is to try it out.

Among its key features, fyuze allows users to have real-time, customized information delivered to them. This means that, for example, a weblog could deliver information not only about what the latest articles are, but also about how many people have replied to your comments and the number of votes your story has. Fyuze also allows you to automatically 'listen' for keywords and phrases in incoming content. So, if you wanted make sure you got to read all the latest stories about 'Apple,' you could do that to. And since everyone has their own tastes, you can also skin the interface.

Currently, there is a reasonable amount of information available in fyuze, but hopefully, with time, there will be even more. You can get some of your favorites like k5, a site that no one reads, Wired, Plastic, and many more. So give it a shot, and if you happen to run a site, think about adding your content to fyuze.

The whole idea behind fyuze is to simplify and streamline the information intake process. It seemed like I might not be the only one looking for a solution, so I created a site and thought that some of you out there might find it useful. Please excuse any SSP.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


o Love it 10%
o Like it 33%
o Am indifferent 27%
o Dislike it 6%
o Hate it 3%
o Am confused 19%

Votes: 66
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o fyuze.com
o Hot List
o used
o slashboxes
o sidebar
o Mozilla
o listen
o Apple
o skin
o k5
o site
o Wired
o Plastic
o more
o adding
o Also by ikarus

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Quest for the Ultimate Homepage | 50 comments (45 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
blankness (3.60 / 5) (#1)
by Speare on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 11:48:57 AM EST

In MSIE, I set it to about:blank. Nothing to load, so nothing to stop from loading.

Is there an equivalent in Konqueror?
[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ] spare time? know java? earn cash

better yet, (4.71 / 7) (#4)
by xriso on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 12:14:39 PM EST

Get your browser to load up something useful, but off the hard disk. For example, make up a little HTML file that lets you query a search engine.

Here's a good one that uses google:
<form action="http://www.google.com/search" method=get>
<a href=http://google.com>Google</a> search: <input type=text value="" name=q size=55 maxlength=256>
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]

Absolutely. (4.66 / 3) (#5)
by priestess on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 12:30:21 PM EST

Hard disk is the place for your homepage. For a start I need it to do something other than look for a net connection which might not even be there at the time I launch the browser.

I use a local copy of this page which has many search boxes. Everyone at the massive corporate isp/web company where I used to work hated it. The marketing types were trying to convince our users to use their huge, slow loading, news, graphics and adverts heavy page and they couldn't abide that I prefer a quick, simple, functional form or six.

For a long time I just had the homepage set to file://~/.netscape/bookmarks.html too, but I wanted more functionality than that, those forms on my current homepage are much more useful.


My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
[ Parent ]
question (4.66 / 3) (#6)
by Wiglaf on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 12:35:37 PM EST

Why not just get it to load Google straight off?

Paul: I DOMINATE you to throw rock on our next physical challenge.
Trevor: You can't do that! Do you really think Vampires go around playing rock paper sissors to decide who gets to overpower one another?
[ Parent ]
OT, but in reply to .sig (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by PopeFelix on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 05:14:39 PM EST

The Storyteller in that game should have disallowed that sort of thing. You're abusing the system, which isn't that great to begin with...

Post No Bills

[ Parent ]
RPG war stories. (none / 0) (#44)
by Wiglaf on Thu Jul 12, 2001 at 11:01:00 PM EST

Oh he did. It was paul's first night to ever play in a RPG. ALmost like my friend who put 5 dots in Do. He thought that was the do skill. I do this, I do that. Wasn't aware it was the marital arts form for werewolf. It was a funny time watching him ask the ST to give him a diff on doing something.

What was really funny was the 10+ yr vetern D&D player trying to understand white-wolf's mage system.

How many spells a day I get?

What are my spell components?

What's this paradox thing that ya'll are refering too?

That was a loooong conversation.

Paul: I DOMINATE you to throw rock on our next physical challenge.
Trevor: You can't do that! Do you really think Vampires go around playing rock paper sissors to decide who gets to overpower one another?
[ Parent ]

or you could be ultra-geeky (4.80 / 5) (#17)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 02:02:06 PM EST

And have it load the page out of memory, remember the 'about' protocl will echo whatever you pass it in as the URL if it dosn't recognize the page (blank, mozilla, etc) so you could set the following as your homepage


I rarely use google as the first trip on the web however, so I do use a flat HTML file.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Great minds (3.00 / 2) (#7)
by drivers on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 12:35:40 PM EST

The first things I added were Kuro5hin and Google and it turns out they were already there as the default layout. :)

Does it support my.netscape modules? (2.00 / 1) (#8)
by psicE on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 12:45:41 PM EST

It's ambiguous whether or not this site supports my.netscape-compatible modules (I can't remember the acronym); the push-content format that netscape uses is currently considered the de facto standard (OSDN uses it for almost all their sites), but it's unclear whether or not fyuze.com uses this format or creates everything manually. If it supports them, great; if not, you should make it. Otherwise I'll just stick with my.netscape, because you can add literally hundreds of modules from throughout the internet (whether or not my.netscape currently knows about them).

Yes (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by ikarus on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 01:03:05 PM EST

yes, fyuze supports RSS/RDF which is the same format that netscape uses. so, any site that supports netscape can very easily be used by fyuze.

[ Parent ]
it's about time someone did this (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by boxed on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 01:17:26 PM EST

I've seen similar stuff done before, geekboys.org comes to mind, but this is much cleaner than anything I've seen before. Cudos!

Opera allows for multiple homepages (4.00 / 3) (#11)
by Global-Lightning on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 01:23:53 PM EST

Although it's not a designed feature, Opera allows you to set up multiple homepages:

Unlike most other browsers, it's a Multiple Document Interface (MDI). [For the non-l33t, this means that it handles multiple webpages in a single program, similar to how MS Word handles multiple documents].

When you close the program, it offers to save where you've surfed to, so the next time you open the program you can resume exactly where you left off.

Now combine these two features: The first time you use the program, open all the pages you want as your homepages, close the program, and save. Now everytime you open the program, it will open with your homepages. When you close, don't save to preserve your settings. Voila, multiple homepages!

There are, however, a couple of caveats with this:
When you open the program, if your homepages are graphic-intensive, you'll easily overload a modem connection. My solution for this is to disable graphics in sites that really don't need them. (ahem, K5 & /.) Or, get a faster connection...

You won't be able to use the "save state" feature as intended. But If you're not using it now, you won't know what you're missing :)

If you opt for the free browser, it will display ads in the upper right corner. The ads can sometimes be very annoying, of the flashing moving .gif variety. Solution: run an "always on top" program such as System Monitor or xClock, resize and place directly over the ad.

MDI, bleh (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 01:41:41 PM EST

No offense, but god do I hate MDI. Word dosn't use it anymore btw.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
usefulness of mdi (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by Pink Daisy on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 02:19:16 PM EST

The only reason I can think of for MDI is to close all your porn windows at once when your boss walks over. For getting work done I really like being able to layer browser windows with terminals and text editors and the like with more granularity.

As far as coherence, I like the approach that Borland Delphi used... normal windows that all collapsed into the main one when you minimized it. That way I could place stuff in between, and I didn't have the grey box obscuring my desktop.

[ Parent ]

galeon (5.00 / 1) (#28)
by Ubiq on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 06:49:20 PM EST

galeon does just that... tabbed mode will let you browse several sites concurrently and it has to menu-items for quitting, one with and one without saving your session.

GPL, too, so RMS will be proud of you. *cough*

[ Parent ]

Roll your own (3.50 / 2) (#15)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 01:46:47 PM EST

My browser's homepage is http://localhost/lnk.htm (which would be http://hatori42.com/lnk.htm, but I wanted it to work incase of some kind of DNS problem), before that it was K5s everything page. It's kindof a pain in the ass to update, but it loads pretty damn fast... what more could you want?
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Links opening in New Browser Window would be cool (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by keenan on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 02:09:52 PM EST

I like the idea and the interface is cool (great integration), but I'd really like an option where links that lead off the page open up a new browser window. Currently, you click a link and you're off the site -- can't see fyuze anymore. Instead, if your links to kuro5hin opened in a new browser window, I could then just tab back to the fyuze page and see all the amalgamated content again, while still surfing kuro5hin. (I looked at customization quick and didn't see an option for this, if one exists, please point it out!)


Do this yourself (4.00 / 2) (#22)
by fluffy grue on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 02:42:24 PM EST

Middle-click in Netscape, Mozilla, Konqueror, etc., shift-click in MSIE...
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

hmm... (none / 0) (#24)
by ikarus on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 02:51:29 PM EST

no, there is currently no "open links in new window" option, but i suppose it wouldn't be terribly hard to implement.

[ Parent ]
Write your own (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by rikek on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 02:11:56 PM EST

You could always do what I did and write your own.
Using PHP4, I took 3-4 hours and wrote a page that would require a login, and then give me nice little modular boxes. So far I have made interfaces to POP email, images (through HTTP - like weather maps, etc.), slashdot, freshmeat, and k5...
With PHP's XML parsing support for RDFs (the datafiles used most of the time with My Netscape, slashboxes, portals, etc.), GD for image processing, and IMAP/POP support, it is *very* easy to just write your own "portal." PHP is very easy to get into with a little C, perl, or even BASIC experience, and really excels at this sort of application.
This also guarantees you no ads, and complete control over the content and how it is presented; you can support low/high bandwidth, PDAs, IE toys, and so on.
You do, of course, need a platform either locally or remotely located that can support PHP (and a web server, although a direct PHP daemon isn't impossible)... I put my pages on some rented space, however PHP is not too hard to set up on the usual *ix suspects, and runs on Windows too, iirc.
If nothing else, it keeps the "home" button from going to waste.

i did, and i'm sharing it (4.50 / 2) (#23)
by ikarus on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 02:49:43 PM EST

what you describe is exactly what fyuze does. you can select content and integrate lots of different things with complete control over layout. (there's no email support yet, but i doubt many people want to store their email address and accompanying password in my db)

[ Parent ]
How about a dynamic top-ten page? (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by otis wildflower on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 02:31:13 PM EST

Since I browse through Junkbuster, this has me wondering: how about a homepage that's dynamically generated from my proxy logs, listing the top-ten most loaded URLs?

Could be cool, though I'd also want a 'random pick' somewhere there..

[root@usmc.mil /]# chmod a+x /bin/laden
Galeon (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by silsor on Sun Jul 15, 2001 at 01:05:59 PM EST

Galeon does this automatically -- it generates a Bookmarks->AutoBookmarks menu which holds all your most visited pages (you specify how many you want it to hold).

✠  Patron saint of unmoderated (none / 0) top-level comments.
[ Parent ]
What I really really want (3.50 / 2) (#25)
by mbrubeck on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 04:27:40 PM EST

I'd really like to see a customizable version of myleftasscheek, which presents random stories from different news sites. "Don't like what you see? Reload the page."

The concept is cool, but the current implementation is lacking. They only draw from about four different sites, and not the ones I would choose. I'd like to see random content from dozens of sites. Ideally the list of sources would be user-customizable.

Even without the random element, a major draw of myleftasscheek is that stories aren't segregated into separate boxes for each site. Instead they are shuffled together into one big list ala Linux Today. Does anyone know of conventional portal software that will do this?

My ultimate homepage... (3.50 / 2) (#27)
by TOCie on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 05:29:49 PM EST

I have all the browsers on my system pointed at a single hompage - Netscape's bookmark.htm file.

What better place is there for you to start than with your own bookmarks? No ads, no wasted bandwidth, and all the content you like is right there at your fingertips.

Deadman's Redirect (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by mauftarkie on Tue Jul 10, 2001 at 09:28:21 PM EST

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this. I started using Deadman's Redirect about a month ago and I have various themes (HTML templates) set up for the various browsers I use regularly -- a simple one lynx, a semi-bland but functional one for Netscape, and a whiz-bang one for Mozilla. Since I browse from home and work, it's nice to have a common scratchpad where I can save notes and bookmarks without having to copy links here and there.

It's obviously not for everyone, but somebody might find it as useful as I do...

Without you I'm one step closer to happiness without violence.
Without you I'm one step closer to innocence without consequence.

Galeon's homepage (none / 0) (#30)
by ersatz on Wed Jul 11, 2001 at 12:38:08 AM EST

I'm fond of galeon's solution, which is a nifty little user definible homepage. Just set the homepage to myportal. The default contains all your bookmarks and all your smart bookmarks. Fairly nifty solution.

NewsIsFree (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by mkrus on Wed Jul 11, 2001 at 01:00:27 AM EST

NewsIsFree does this nicely too...

1600+ news sources, many ways of customizing the views, various specialized tools, come and try it out!!

And if you have source code is available via SourceForge so you can run it on your own machine (Linux or Windows).

Arncha stealing? (none / 0) (#32)
by Curby on Wed Jul 11, 2001 at 02:47:02 AM EST

Actually I thought of doing this for my favorite web comics. The comic strip images for just about any online comic have filenames related to the date. It would be simple to make a dynamic page that would take the current date, jigger around a bit, and spit out some html that would pull down the images. The reason that I didn't is not because I don't know how and not because I'm too lazy to undertake this project.

Small comics sites like Sinfest and Penny Arcade no doubt count on revenues from ad banners to keep their site up, pay for dinner, etc. I didn't feel right just stealing their pictures without causing a page hit and ad "impression."

Other than that, I think it's a great idea. It would be nice to have something where all of my favorite content is placed together on one page.

(Personally, I wouldn't use it as my start page. I need something that loads instantly over any connection and that turns out to be a static html page on my computer that has links, search boxes, etc.)

Enough ranting fer now.


dailystrips (none / 0) (#34)
by mauftarkie on Wed Jul 11, 2001 at 10:34:29 AM EST

I use dailystrips to do exactly what you're talking about. I use the save-to-local-disk option and run it out of cron at 9am daily, then browse my own page at my leisure. The images are loaded from my server, thus reducing the load time. It really works pretty slick. I even added comics that weren't in their massive archive.

Give it a look, it may be what you're looking for.

Without you I'm one step closer to happiness without violence.
Without you I'm one step closer to innocence without consequence.

[ Parent ]
If this bothers you... (none / 0) (#47)
by bmaust on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 10:32:58 PM EST

An alternative is to "steal" the image and also to load one of the image links in a custom-sized (as in unviewable 1x1) img tag so that you don't have to look at it. Some of the more site-friendly ad filterning software does this on a lower level.

A similar technique that downloads the image that you want to somewhere useful and an ad impression to /dev/null would work for cron-scheduled solutions as well.

[ Parent ]
What about my.yahoo.com (3.33 / 3) (#33)
by wilton on Wed Jul 11, 2001 at 08:21:45 AM EST

http://my.yahoo.com is brilliant. I keep all bookmarks, weather, interesting news etc on my page, which can be as simple and complicated as I want. When combined with Yahoo webmail, address book and calender which ties in to my Palm Pilot, the whole thing works great !! Easy to load on to any computer I work at too.

A few comments.. (none / 0) (#35)
by jdtux on Wed Jul 11, 2001 at 09:56:57 PM EST

first of all, wasn't this already posted? I seem to remember seeing fyuze before.. either here or somewhere else. Otherwise, why not add a bookmark feature? Personally, this would be very useful to have all my bookmarks online in one place without the banners. and besides, I like the look of fyuze :)

This reminds me of Octopus (none / 0) (#36)
by Alcoyotl on Thu Jul 12, 2001 at 06:07:20 AM EST

There's an application ou there at www.octopus.com that let you do this. It's mainly for corporate users, but they have a "MyOctopus" that's free to use. You can set up several customized views with each one of them having web pages clippings.
The other cool feature is that you can share your views with others, so that you may find a cool view and not have to do it yourself.
The only drawback to this site is that it's Java based and is very CPU and memory hungry.

The Best Homepage (none / 0) (#37)
by ryry on Thu Jul 12, 2001 at 12:59:41 PM EST

The easiest way to make a homepage that exists outside of all other ones (ie, something you can navigate while surfing another web page, like someone else requested) is to just drag your Links toolbar (in IE) down below the address bar, then populate it with your favorite sites. As long as you keep the names short you should be able to fit about 10 pages on a single line, and they're all just one click away. Of course this only works in IE, but I'm positive other browsers for other operating systems have a similar feature set.

Personally, though, I like the design and setup of fyuze but it doesn't have enough site content for me, I'm not all that interested in uber-geek topics like programming and what not, and I tried to find a way to get it to trim the headlines of k5 down so it didn't make my homepage gigantic, but to no avail. Good idea though - I'll be keeping an eye on the page :-)

--too lazy for a .sig--
geek content (none / 0) (#39)
by ikarus on Thu Jul 12, 2001 at 05:30:49 PM EST

the current content is certainly geek-centric, but hopefully it will branch out into other catagories as more people discover the site. it'd be nice to have sports, stocks, etc..

[ Parent ]
Netscape, Mozilla too (none / 0) (#48)
by QuoteMstr on Sun Jul 15, 2001 at 09:05:09 AM EST

Works fine with both using the "Personal Toolbar Folder" bookmarks directory

[ Parent ]
MY Home Page (4.50 / 2) (#38)
by Justin Kramer on Thu Jul 12, 2001 at 02:55:03 PM EST

I've gone through a similar process of trying to find the most useful way to start browsing. After looking in vain for the right site, I created my own: tin.nu/Search. What I like about it:
  • It allows me to search the Web or perform other web-based functions (dictionary, translate, shopping, etc.) extremely quickly.
  • Only one input box, which supports a command-line like interface, e.g. you can type '/d test' and it will look up 'test' in a dictionary.
  • I can add custom links to oft-visited sites, categorized however I want (I rarely use browser bookmarks anymore)
  • It's 100% client-side (JavaScript/cookies), which means I can I open it from my hard drive -- so it loads really fast.
  • Works in IE, NS4+, and Mozilla
I tend to use it not only to start my inital browsing, but to initiate any kind of web search. If I have to go elsewhere for a certain function often enough, I usually just add it to this page so I don't have to deal with their interface. Saves me lots of time.

CLI (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by ikarus on Thu Jul 12, 2001 at 05:32:51 PM EST

hmm... i like the idea of a command line interface. i might just have to "borrow" that idea :) it's really a 'geek-only' feature, but an interesting one to be sure.

[ Parent ]
DNS fails at all servers I've tried (none / 0) (#41)
by Wondertoad on Thu Jul 12, 2001 at 05:56:01 PM EST

As of right now, I'm not seing it from anywhere; and don'tchaknow, the one thing I really do sorta demand from my home page is that it correctly resolves every single time and damn fast. Not much of a home if you can't get to it, right?

being poor & running a website (none / 0) (#43)
by ikarus on Thu Jul 12, 2001 at 07:35:50 PM EST

currently i use a pretty cheap isp. why? i'm a poor student. i have plans to move the server to a more reliable location (verio colo) in about a month. being a new site, i don't have the luxury of getting my hosting for free. though if anyone wants to offer .... :)

[ Parent ]
Make it local (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by urgan on Thu Jul 12, 2001 at 06:58:29 PM EST

Since i'm not always online at home, i've build my self a mini-portal running in apache+modperl which gives me bookmark management, a way see offline all the documentation i need, including manpages, login to various sites, start/stop ppp, system statistics, etc, using adapted stuff i get here and there. It makes use of minimal javascript (focus focus on forms), CSS, mod_header and mini perl programs, and works just fine to test things that will go online, such as cgi things people ask me to do. The apache is there mainly because of the "absolute path (/)" issues, perl availability, and because i have currently 5 virtual hosts mirrored for maintaince and development, otherwise it would be local html. Next piece will be a google-cache retriever for lost sites and a form extract to create bookmarks and offline forms. Maybe one day it will be good enough to put on freshmeat, but I don't think so, most of the cgi code is not mine and everybody can get it too and do it their way.

Another site like this (none / 0) (#45)
by ux500 on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 01:32:13 PM EST

I recently found the site Protista.com that does almost exactly the same thing. It works great and is very cuztomizable with slahbox type boxes that you can move around. It looks slick and loads fast. It opens links in a new window so you don't have to reload it. I mostly use it as a bookmark page and a google search page. You should give it a look to for some more ideas.

kinda (none / 0) (#46)
by ikarus on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 03:12:22 PM EST

i took a look at protista, and in some ways it is similar in concept to fyuze, but it's not quite as flexible or expandable. for example, protista gives you only two columns (right and left) and their modules can only be moved up and down a column. by contrast, fyuze allows you to create multiple tabs, each of which can contain multiple columns. fyuze-boxes, the analog of protista's mudules, can then be moved up, down, left, right, and also stretched horizontally and vertically to give a precise layout. also, fyuze allows you to skin the interface.

additionally, i couldn't find a way to add content to protista.

[ Parent ]
My homepage (none / 0) (#50)
by hypersapien on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:23:42 PM EST

Personally, I use a blank HTML file on my hard drive.

Quest for the Ultimate Homepage | 50 comments (45 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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