Starting to explore Zude!

We finally have a crisp clear autumnal day, and Fiona and I are both sick. If it weren’t so, perhaps she and I would be running around outside. Instead, she is watching some mindless television and I’m doing very simple tasks online.

Really, I should be working on job opportunities. I desperately need to get some cash coming in the door. I should also probably be writing a lot more. There is plenty going on in politics right now, most of it eclipsed by Gore’s Noble Peace Prize. There is plenty going on in Second Life, particularly in the financial services sector, as well as with the Streambase deal with Linden Labs. I also really need to promote the Poets and Writers for Avery event this coming Sunday.

But I have no energy. My mind is befuddled with a headache. I need something fun and simple to do. Last night, I spent a little time configuring my new phone for uploading text, pictures and videos to appropriate places online. I set up special new cellphone email and IM accounts. It kept me busy for a little bit.

This morning, I did something a bit more fun. I spent time tweaking my Zude! page. People are suggesting that Zude! could be the gold standard for next generation Social Network pages, the site that knocks off MySpace. MySpace has incredible inertia. Everyone is on it and it isn’t going anywhere. That is a plus on why it won’t go away anytime soon, but it is also a negative in why their time is ending.

MySpace is ugly. It is a pain to customize. Facebook is moving in the right direction with the Facebook Apps. Yahoo! Mash looks interesting, but hasn’t drawn me in the way Zude! has.

Like I’ve done on other sites where I can configure my page style, at Zude! I set my background to the same shade of red I use in the background on Orient Lodge; part of my personal branding. I started off with a default page and started moving things around a little bit. I brought in an RSS feed from Orient Lodge, added the widget for the Doninger appeal and started playing around.

My initial configuration is based closely on the default page, adding and moving pieces. While you can easily move and resize objects on the page with simple clicking and dragging, I preferred to go into the properties of each object and position objects exactly where I want them.

A couple cool things: You can set up multiple pages, and I’ve added a page list. Even more fun, you can drag an item from a different website, like text from Orient Lodge, or an image from Flickr and simply drop it onto your Zude! page where you want to. Right now, I’m using my sandbox page to try some of those features.

Zude! does still seem to have glitches. My configuration has changed randomly. Things don’t always work the way they seem they should, but I’m sure they are closely watching this during the early part of the beta. New features are coming soon and it will be interesting to see what they are. I have plenty of ideas.

For example, will it be possible to make a page a collaborative effort, a sort of virtual social network white board that a group of people can all drop stuff onto, and text and scribblings at the same time? How real time will it be? Will it integrate with Second Life? Right now, there are a few options for positioning objects. It would be great to see the ability to position objects relative to other objects.

How will it change the way people think about web design? My design is fairly old fashioned and traditional. I’m not really taking advantage of all the neat abilities that I believe can easily be added and when I have less of a headache, and more bandwidth, I hope to explore some of the advanced features.

I have yet to explore the social aspects of Zude! I’ve added a friends list, but haven’t added people as friends. I haven’t joined any groups yet. I don’t know how much of a community of Zune! page developers there are. I’ve added some tags to images in my sandbox, but haven’t played with tags yet.

When I get better and get more time, I look forward to spending a lot more time with Zude!