Wednesday, 17 January 2007

My first widget

Following a tip from Tyler Green on Modern Art Notes, I've just downloaded my first widget - from the Rijksmuseum.

The Rijkswidget is, according to the Rijksmuseum, the first widget ever to emanate from a museum. The widget delivers a work from the Rijksmuseum's collection to your desktop every day; you can enlarge the image, and flip it to read the 'reverse', which gives you info about the work and a link to a collection page on the Rijksmuseum site that features the work.

The widget runs through Yahoo Widgets, and can be downloaded from their widget gallery or via the Rijksmuseum site.

**Some background on widgets from Wikipedia**

What I find really interesting is the feedback the Rijksmuseum have received. As well as people commenting on the beauty of the art (the work at the top of the post is today's example, and I'm picking there's a lot of easy-on-the-eye representational painting loaded up) and the way it improves their lives ("Outstanding! Rijksmuseum provides me with a gift I cherish every morning. My day is truly better") there's a lot of feedback on the widget itself:

  • world-class . . . world-wide-web enhansement, I have sent on to every web designer I know who is working in this environment, well done. The high-res downlaod is welcome.
  • Very beautiful widget, wonderful lay-out. Just right. I love it a lot.Absolutely perfect widget. I use it every day. You can bet when I visit Amsterdam next summer I will be visit your museum. I am on a Mac OSX.4 and it installed and works so well.
  • I am running Mac 10.4.6 and the new version of your widget works very well. I am pleased that your museum is so familiar with the Mac platform and makes use of its superior capabilities, in this case in the form of the widget.
  • If you have a large bit of open desktop real estate, you may wish to consider activating the "widget developer mode" which allows you to place the widget above the desktop but not in the dashboard. This is a bit confusing until you see it, but it means that whether dashboard is activated or not, this beautiful and stunningly effective educational device is always visable and just as interactive as it's dashboard incarnation. It's also possible to put it back in the dashboard in the unlikely event that you ever lose interest in one of the world's great collections of art.
I'm now thinking about ways that we could incorporate this into my organisation .. as a way to access the collections, but also as a promotional tool.

UPDATE: The past two mornings I've got to work, turned on my PC and waited - in vain - for the widget to appear. It seems to disappear over night, and not be replaced by the next day's image. Today I'm going to try to find out why.

Image: Johannes Verspronck, Portrait of a Girl Dressed in Blue, 1641. Collection of the Rijksmuseum.

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