43 Folders

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Everybody needs a personal "status" page

Lots of sites have status pages. I wish more people had them.

  • My friend, Leslie, used to do an excellent one that included updates on her beverages, hair, and stress level
  • My pal, Jay, posts his monthly expenses and to-dos
  • I manually update a stripped-down status that shows roughly how busy I am

Yeah, status pages for people should be more popular, and I also wish they were a bit easier to make and maintain. It would be a nifty way to display information like:

  • current projects
  • number of unanswered inbox emails
  • iTunes/Last.fm "Now Playing"
  • Netflix queue
  • amount spent this month on lattes
  • current crush
  • current nemesis

I've long had a Lazy Web wish for a little perl script that could cat all the txt files in a directory into a Markdown-styled HTML page (that you could then skin with CSS).

That way you could maintain a bunch of easy lists and the script does all the building and posting automagically. You could fake this with a blogging tool, but I like the idea of having it all updated in the background.

Got a good personal status page? Seen one you liked? What would you post on yours? Have a fast trick for helping noobs make and post status points to the interweb? Care to pick up my Lazy Web gauntlet?

Andrew White's picture

Ah, see: this is what...

Ah, see: this is what we used to have finger for! When I was in university, I had a little shell script than I ran when I logged in to the UNIX system that asked me where I was, what I was doing, how long I thought I'd be there, and if I wanted visitors. This would get written to my .plan. Then people could grep the list of users online, and see where I was, and if they wanted and I was cool with it, they could swing by.

I think extending FOAF, or coming up with some kind of lightweight XML DTD for sharing personal status would completely take off. Someone could even figure out a way to use a stripped-down Jabber client for it that does nothing but poll your friends' status.

Surely there's got to be some way to do this with RSS? Some little PHP script that could be run through PHP with Magpie that can give you a dashboard of your friends status?




An Oblique Strategy:
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