Using PageFlakes

Quentin Boyer
Looking for a simplified personal start page alternative to My Yahoo! or iGoogle? You might consider the Ajax-based PageFlakes.com, an entity launched in 2005 and which has been steadily growing in users and popularity in the years since then.

When users sign up for PageFlakes.com, the site automatically creates a default start page based upon a geo-IP detection of the user's location. (This feature is less than precise though; conducting an experiment from Tucson, Ariz., PageFlakes.com designated this user's location as Phoenix).

Once your default PageFlake has been created, the site allows you to customize the page with various themes, and to select, add and configure a wide variety of "flakes," including news feeds, search interfaces for sites like Wikipedia.org, and entertaining sites like TheOnion.com.

The PageFlake tools offer easy control over the basic layout of the page, including column structure. Once you have set your basic columns, page elements can be moved around in drag-and-drop style, until you have each element placed in its desired location. The interface and tools take some getting used to, but the learning curve is not at all steep, especially when compared to the skill set that would be required to do the same things manually.

While PageFlakes has little to offer those already familiar with building webpages and incorporating RSS feeds therein, it is a fairly user-friendly alternative to learning such skills for those less adept at building pages on their own.

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