All in one Comms hub?
March 17, 2007 10:40 PM   Subscribe

One stop communications software? I use my laptop as a secondary moniter. I'd love one peice of software that could run full screen, and moniter or otherwise show the status of a few different services. 1-2 POP3 accounts, 1-2 RSS feeds, an MSN account, etc.

Is there one piece of software that could do this? I just want one screen I can glance at and have all my current news and comms displayed simply and at the same time.

Or for that matter, can anyone suggest a suitable and easy to use development language. I'm horribly out of shape when it comes to coding, but I've got some free time on my hands...

I'm currently using the custom google homepage for this purpose, but I dislike the massive amount of wasted whitespace. There's too much space between the elements and too little detail within each section.
posted by tiamat to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
You could find/make a POP3 to RSS service, then aggregate all the RSS and email together, use any RSS reader out there. Not too sure about MSN, but I would guess they have RSS feeds for most things, being a big feature in Vista.
posted by mattdini at 10:55 PM on March 17, 2007

If your laptop's a Mac, I monitor my POP3 and gmail accounts with dashboard plugins. Never thought about putting my RSS feeds on my dashboard since they're in Safari's shortcuts bar, but I suppose I could to that too.
posted by SpecialK at 11:06 PM on March 17, 2007

This sounds like something that would be well suited for a web page. You'd be able to easily find code for everything you wanted. The only thing you'd have to do is put it all together and run it in a browser window.

Check out HotScripts

The plus side of using a webpage is that you could host it somewhere and be able to view it from anywhere in the world.

Also, Protopage is a ready to use solution that handles RSS feeds as well as a few other things. Check it out.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 11:08 PM on March 17, 2007

A web page would be the best way to do it, as sonic_molson suggested.

An easy way would be to use the old-school frames method to split the RSS, mail and msn, etc. Use some javascript to refresh them if they don't already do it by themselves.

Dashboard on a Mac only refreshes when you view it. It's not going to continually self update.
posted by mphuie at 2:05 AM on March 18, 2007

You might want to check out the new Netvibes Widgets, which you might be able to tailor to your needs.
posted by loosemouth at 4:55 AM on March 18, 2007

There are also the underrated but still pretty nice Yahoo Widgets for a PC - I would bet that all of the things you want are available as widgets.
posted by tmcw at 8:45 AM on March 18, 2007

My friend and labmate at Georgia Tech is about to release a piece of software that does *exactly* what you are looking for. It can be set to monitor pop accounts, rss feeds, weather, news, and other data sources (people can write their own harvesters for other data). All of these sources can be presented in a secondary display or on a monitor of your choosing on your desktop. It's called the Buzz and I love it and use it everyday.

It's Mac only.

It will be released in the next 2 weeks, so I'll post here as a followup. A woefully out of date version is here.
posted by zpousman at 11:14 AM on March 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

I second Netvibes. It does RSS and email, plus you can plug Meebo into it for IM. Plus lots of other stuff too.
posted by jbiz at 12:04 PM on March 18, 2007

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