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29 novembre 2010

Genieo at work

One of the reasons why I designed my family portal "I Mantovani" (release 1.0 was online in 2000) was the desire of having at hand all my favorite news websites. Since then I open them in sequence two or three times a day: they line up in tabs, followed by bank accounts and webmail.
A more compelling reason was allowing my family, including my daughters who were 8 and 5 at that time, to get access to the WWW without being trapped in unpredictable searches.
My family portal has reached rel.2.1 and did not progress significantly in the last five years. Daughters have grown up and Greg (4) uses the family website as a digital native, of course. Links are kept up to date, more or less. Social networks have emerged in the meantime and their presence on I Mantovani is limited to buttons.

Now my family portal has a serious challenger, called Genieo.
- A "personal" home page? tsk tsk... - I was skeptical, I must admit. But shortly after installation I understood what Genieo means for "personal". The sequence of tabs was re-deployed on a single page, presenting all relevant subjects. The mix looked almost perfect, since it reflected recent navigation preferences. It was very easy to get rid of some popular issues, scarcely interesting for me.
Genieo learns quickly and currently reflects my increased readings of facebook and twitter posts.
My glorious family portal is ready for retirement? Not yet, but the day is not far maybe.

We have 3 PCs at home. The main one is used by me and Cristina, my wife. Genieo goes a little bit schizoid and couples Vatican news with Grande Fratello. We definitely have different sources of information and we can't therefore use filters and blocks (I actually blocked some; hope she doesn't find out).
A second PC is mainly used by Eleonora (18), but Cristina and Greg occasionally use it. Only Virginia (15) keeps her password secret and her notebook is not accessible for other family members.
I'm at home on weekends, for the rest of the week I work at one of my offices. I have four in Roma, one in Milano, Genova and Torino. In three of them I have my PC and I use a shared one in the others. I don't carry a notebook anymore, just a pen drive.
So my PCs don't learn very quickly and I can't use Genieo on the shared ones.

Please don't tell Genieo that I'm not concerned about privacy issues and it won't be a nightmare if my navigation preferences would be stored on its servers.
Please Genieo, don't think about a web version. It would kill my family portal, which served honestly for more than 10 years.
Well, we could agree on this: personalized header and color (light green required), access through gmail account and priority settings in the "Feeds" section. Please leave me the illusion of being somehow in control of the situation.

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