Friday, January 18, 2008

portal of astro info

Like any good amateur astronomer on a cloudy night, I stayed up late fiddling with my computer and researching...

A little while ago I read a favourable review from a PC Magazine RSS feed of PageFlakes. Strange name but I liked the look and feel of the DIY portal site, particularly the ease with which one could change the layout.

Tonight, I gave it a full shake. And shortly into it, realised, Wow, this is really good! And shortly after that, grokked it.

I built a couple of tabs for various themes. One of them: astronomy.

I really wanted a one-stop-shopping page with everything I needed for astronomy planning, research, etc. I wanted immediate weather information, links to satellite data, the mini Clear Sky Clocks by Attila, the moon phase, news feeds from NASA, and so on. PageFlakes let me do this with tremendous ease. The links at the top-right I built using their "Top Links" flake. The CSC clocks I built using the "Anything" flake. Easy if you can hack HTMhell.

I've more planned. I'd like to get RSS feeds from Sky & Telescope magazine. I'd like to get a direct feed or link to Environment Canada's weather site. The NASA flake doesn't seem to be current so that needs to be looked into. Also, a listing or visual tool showing the location of the planets would be sweet! I might be able to hack these myself.

One of the realisations out of all this: I'll be able to access this page from anywhere! So my "preferred" astronomy information will be able to follow me wherever I go...

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