Realtime monitoring of the Financial Markets

For those of you interested in the financial markets, we have some good news: with our new Finance widgets you can now follow the financial markets in realtime on your browser’s new tab page. Building on the great tools by TradingView we can now offer you realtime overviews of the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and many other markets (see the list below).

Data and widgets are provided by Trading View.

Following markets are available

  • S&P 500
  • Dow Jones
  • Nasdaq
  • Futsee
  • DAQ
  • CAC40
  • Swiss SMI
  • Nikkei
  • Hang Seng
  • Australia ASX
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Crude Oil
  • Brent Oil

Adding a Finance widget to your start page

The new widgets can all be found in our Finance widget category. To add one of the widgets, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your start.me page
  2. Click the +icon in the grid to open the Browse Widgets dialog
  3. Search for one of the above mentioned markets or browse through the entire list by selecting the Finance category.
  4. Select the widget/market of your choice and add it to your start.me page

 

Integrate Facebook pages

After the successful introduction of our very own Todo widget, we bring you yet another new widget: the Facebook Page widget. This widget allows you to embed a public Facebook Page into your  start.me page and is perfect if you like to integrate a group or company page.

To add the new Facebook Page widget to your page, follow the next steps:

  1. Click the green ‘+‘ icon at the top-right corner of your page
  2. Select ‘Browse Widgets’
  3. Search for ‘Facebook‘ and select the ‘Facebook‘ search result
  4. Find the URL of the Facebook Page that you’d like to embed, and fill it in, in the ‘Facebook page URL’ field
  5. Click on ‘Done‘ to add the widget to the page

We hope you like the new widget. Try and customize it by tweaking the widget’s settings. One warning, though: the widget only supports displaying public Facebook pages. If you would like to integrate your own timeline, you will have to wait a little longer. We are working on that.

Our very own Todo widget

Our Google Tasks widget is quite popular among our users.  Yet, many users asked for a Todo widget that does not require a Google account. Today we’ve made it available:

The new Todo widget has several improvements over the Google Tasks widget. The to-do items can be edited just by clicking them. They can be reordered, simply by dragging and dropping them in the order you want. The items are stored in our own database, so there it is fast and secure; the widget will feel a lot ‘snappier’. Finally, the check boxes to mark an item as completed as slightly larger, making it easier to check off items.

Instructions

To add the new Todo widget to your page, follow the next steps:

  1. Click the green ‘+‘ icon at the top-right corner of your page
  2. Select ‘Browse Widgets’
  3. Search for ‘Todo‘ and select the ‘Todo List‘ search result
  4. Click on ‘+ New task’, fill in the name of a task and hit Enter

Once you’ve completed a task, you can mark it as completed by checking the item’s checkbox. To edit an item, click on it once. Alternatively, you can right-click on an item, and select ‘Edit‘ from the context menu. To edit multiple items in one go, select ‘Edit‘ from the widget menu. To delete an item, right-click it and select ‘Delete‘.

More widget customization options

The most important building blocks of start.me pages are widgets. No wonder we get a lot of feature requests from people who want to customize their widgets. Thus far, most of the customization options allowed you to change the functionality of the widget. Today’s release gives you more control over the widget’s looks. You can now change the color and transparency of widgets individually. When you try it, you will see this opens up tons of new possibilities!

Widget background

So far, there was no way to make specific widgets stand out. We added a ‘Background’ tab to the settings dialog of all widgets to change that. Apart from the default white background, you can select one of 9 background colors to make some widgets stand out more. The colors have been picked to be both distinctive and work well with the overall design of start.me widgets.

We introduced transparent widgets quite a while ago already. The transparency of widgets can be set for the entire page. In some cases, that setting is a little too coarse and it would be preferably to be able to set widget transparency individually. So we added a new setting to allow per-widget tuning of transparency. You can still set a global transparency value for all widgets on a page, but choose to set a different transparency level for one or two specific widgets. Great if you want some widgets to blend in with your background image.

Some other new options

Apart from these really cool background settings, we also added some widget specific settings. The Notes and Twitter Timeline widgets now support a configurable height, allowing you more control over the look of these widgets. For the Notes widget, this means you can have long texts displayed in a relatively small space.

The email widget now supports custom IMAP, so that you are not limited to the providers we offer: by simply specifying your own email server’s IMAP details, you can integrate email from whatever source you want!

And finally, we made a new widget available: the Profile widget. This widget offers a nice way to describe yourself, your organization of something else you like. A photo can be attached to the description as well as links to Twitter, LinkedIn, et cetera. You can see some examples on our about page.

We hope you like the new customization options and would like to invite you to share with us some of the pages you have made using the new customization settings!

Reorganized widget settings

Oh, before we forget: we reorganized the widget settings dialogs, making common settings easier for you to find. The widget’s title and icon can now be changed directly through the settings dialog, providing you with one clear place to go for customization settings. We hope you enjoy!

 

Add descriptions to your bookmarks (and other improvements)

Here at start.me HQ we are working on some really cool things. Those features will still need some love and work. In the mean time, we did some work on the Bookmarks widget and added some really nice features and improvements.

Context menu

A lot of time is spent editing, organizing and deleting bookmarks. To make that as easy as possible, we added a nice context menu to bookmarks. How does it work? Simple: just right click on a bookmark and you will be presented with a menu that allows you to directly edit or delete it. A great productivity hack. In the future, we plan to offer broader context menu support.

Hint: On Android tablets and smartphones, the context menu can be opened by ‘tapping and holding’ a bookmark: put your finger on the bookmark and hold for about 1 second. iPhone and iPad support will follow later.

Adding descriptions

We got a lot of requests of people who wanted to be able to add a description to their bookmarks. Descriptions can both be useful as a reminder of what a site is about, but can also help to explain to visitors of your public page what a specific site is about and why it may be valuable to them.

So we added support for descriptions. When you edit a bookmark, you will now be able to enter a description as well. Our backend system tries to automatically find a fitting description for your links, so you will often find a description already specified.

The description for each bookmark can be seen by hovering over the bookmark. A tooltip will show with the full description of the bookmark. Alterantively, you could use our…

New detailed list view

In addition to the three view modes (list, icons, large icons) already supported by the Bookmark widget we added a fourth one: detailed list. In this mode, every bookmark will show both its title and description. You are able to choose whether you just want the first line of the description or the full text.

3 list modes: regular, detailed and detailed with full description

We are very excited about this new view, as it opens up a lot of new use cases, for example:

  1. Creating a list of interesting books, specifying a short summary as a description to help you quickly find the book you need;
  2. Adding reviews of sites, advising visitors of your public page on sites to visit;
  3. Specifying when you last visited a particular site (perhaps of a competitor), helping you decide what sites you want to visit soon;
  4. Writing tutorials for students, showing them step-by-step how to perform a specific task.

Four cool use cases for the new detailed list view of the Bookmarks widget

You can probably add some more exciting ideas to this list. Please let us know what you came up with!

Top-10 most popular widgets

A popular feature of start.me is the support of widgets. There are quite a lot of widgets available, but which are most popular? In this blog, we explore the widgets start.me users like best.

The two most popular widgets on start.me – it can be no surprise – are the bookmarks and RSS widgets. Of all widgets created, 72% of them actually are a bookmarks widget. About a quarter of all bookmarks widgets is set to icon mode, either small or large icons. Ever since custom icons were introduced, about 20% of  all bookmark icons have been personalized. RSS widgets make up for another 18% of all widgets created by users.

These are the remaining 8 widgets:

  1. Weather
  2. Notes
  3. GMail
  4. Google Calendar
  5. Embed widget (to embed custom content)
  6. Facebook
  7. World clock
  8. Analog clock

Add comics to your page

Some users asked us how to best add comics to their start.me page. Today we released a minor update that actually makes adding comics (but other image feeds as well) easier and more fun.

The Feed widget’s ‘Show images’ setting has been expanded with a third option that allows a larger display of the primary image for an article. To have a daily comic on your start.me page, all you have to do is find its RSS feed (for instance on ComicsSyndicate), ad it to a Feed widget and choose the following settings:

  • Show summaries for all articles
  • Show large images

Of course, this new setting can be used to include photo blogs, or just get a better view of news photos. Have fun!

Update: by popular request, we added an ‘Extra large images’ option to the ‘Show images’ setting. This option will render images as big as possible. Nice for vertical comics, but for photo collections from Flickr as well!

Improved interface for adding news feeds

Adding news feeds to RSS widgets has always been a bit of a rather technical procedure. You would have to find the RSS URL of the feed and paste that into the feed widget. Today we launched a new feature that greatly simplifies finding and adding interesting news feeds.

Every RSS widget now has a new menu option to directly add a news feed. This option will open a new sidebar panel that still allows entering RSS URLs, but offers a new browser feature as well.

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