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Brendan Cooper is Editor-in-Chief at byyd, the leading mobile Demand-side Platform.

Netvibes and me just don’t get along any more

I’ll be straight up: I like Netvibes. I’ve used it a lot in the past because I think it’s such a great solution to the problem of monitoring across the social mediascape. So it’s hurting me pretty badly now that it doesn’t work for me any more. That is, just me. As in, me personally. It’s fine for everyone else in the world, it would seem.

About a week ago, at the time of typing, they had a problem. None of the HTML or Twitter Search widgets worked which, considering I use a lot of HTML and Twitter Searches, was not good for me.

Then they fixed it. Nice.

Then, a few days ago, Twitter Searches stopped working for me again. “Not a problem”, I thought. “They’ll get it sorted.”

Problem is, they think there is nothing to sort. Twitter Searches work just fine for them. And, given that I’m using their free service, I do believe that’s the end of the story, as far as they’re concerned.

So the situation is this: every single private dashboard I ever set up is broken on Firefox pre-v4, and IE post-v7, including a completely new one I created specifically to test the problem.  Twitter Search widgets do not work on any of them, and another widget I used, called Remixed RSS, also does not work. It definitely did, even though it’s not an official Netvibes widget. Safari and Chrome are fine, as are other versions of Firefox and IE. But the versions that don’t work are the most popular. I cannot tell people to install a new browser simply to view my dashboard.

I’ve tested this on different machines, browsers, operating systems, accounts, dashboards, even entirely different infrastructures and countries. I consistently reproduce the problem: Netvibes do not. And they’ve had no other reports of the problem either. So that’s that then.

This is actually impossible. It’s almost as if I personally am unable to use Netvibes any more, no matter what machine I use, no matter what login details I create, or what dashboard I set up. Or even what country I’m in. It would appear just to be ‘me’. Given that, as I say, I use it a lot, I’m finding this extremely painful and frustrating.

Netvibes, in truth, have responded to some of my overtures via their support page, Facebook page and Twitter account. But they’ve now gone silent, even since sending them error messages from the IE and Firefox consoles which might give them an insight into the issue.

Of course they’ve gone silent. I don’t pay for support or anything. That’s the deal, right?

I guess I just need to advise people to use anything other than Firefox pre-v4, and IE post-v7 to use any dashboard I personally set up – although, in the same breath, I should also tell them that anyone else’s dashboards are probably fine. See? Crazy stuff.

In the meantime if you want to help me, you can. Here are the login details for the dashboard I set up to test this:

  1. Go to Netvibes.com
  2. Click ‘Sign in’ at the top right corner of the screen
  3. Sign in with email beans.milligan@gmail.com (yes, the names of my pets but don’t bother trying to use them to access any of my other stuff, I don’t use them for passwords or anything, and don’t use that email address for anything either), password testtest (you can even just copy and paste those details into the sign in page if you like).
  4. Tell me what you see.

Any help/advice/support appreciated…

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6 Comments on “Netvibes and me just don’t get along any more”

  1. James Hafseth April 19, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Yo Brendan! Long see no time! This seems to work fine for me using Firefox version 2.0.0.20 off a Mac.

    -J

  2. Brendan April 19, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Thanks for the help! But Firefox v2??????? That’s the Dark Ages! Get with the now! It works with Firefox 4 but not 3.6. And still not IE9. Although, of course, Netvibes won’t agree.

  3. Brendan April 19, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Hmmm, just discovered that the Google Insights don’t work either now.

    Gee, thanks Netvibes… :(

  4. Brendan April 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    So, enough complaining, what about workarounds?

    Well first thing is that, if you upgrade to Firefox v4, it works. Hurray. That just leaves IE of any version above v7. Normally I wouldn’t worry too much about one browser but unfortunately it’s the one that comes with Windows, therefore the one most people use.

    So, workarounds are:
    * Instead of the Netvibes Twitter Search widget, use an HTML widget with the official Twitter Search code – at http://twitter.com/about/resources/widgets/widget_search. It looks nice and is very configurable, but you do need to tweak it to make it ‘fit’ into your dashboard, whereas the old one was quick and easy.
    * Instead of Google Insights in an HTML widget, use Google Trends in an HTML widget. This should pretty much always work because it’s an image, not a script. However, it doesn’t scale as neatly, nor does the database behind Trends seem as comprehensive as the one powering Insights.
    * Instead of using the Remixed RSS widget, use the standard Netvibes widget. Now, the Remixed one was *great* because you could bring RSS feeds together into it, and use a filter, all in situ. Quick, simple, clean. The only thing it lacked was multiple display options, available in the standard widget (the mult-column output only ever worked in Firefox). It also used to work with feeds that, for whatever reason, wouldn’t work in the standard RSS widget. Good news is that the standard widget now seems more robust and can handle feeds that it previously couldn’t. Bad news is that to aggregate feeds into it you’ll need to use something like Google Reader; and for strong keyword filtering you’ll need something like Feed Rinse.

    Why am I telling you this? Because, if I ever forget, I can refer back to this. Also, because, whereas Netvibes tell me I’m the only person on the face of the frickin’ planet with these issues, I simply don’t believe them. Commonsense just tells me – and should tell them – that it’s impossible, that they have a problem, and that if they don’t investigate it then sooner or later it’s really going to bite them on the bum. Meanwhile the more content I can get into this post, and the more links that come into it, the more visible I’ll be… and maybe Netvibes will finally listen.

  5. James Hafseth April 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    It’s a work computer with work software – completely out of my hands! Sorry to be so lame… ;-)

  6. Brendan April 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Hey, not a problem! You helped me out! And that’s mainly also why I *need* this to work in IE, so that it works for everyone, not just the select few…

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