Saturday, 2 December 2006

ZebTab review






I met Rob Eberstein of Zebtab at the London Firefox 2 launch party last night. So I thought I'd take a look at Zebtab.

Here's a mini-review, with some initial thoughts.



The Zebtab page says it's a "desktop channel to keep you connected to your passions and interests, effortlessly!" Above is a screenshot of the Maxim Zebtab which I downloaded to try.

Seems like another desktop widget thing, and the only downloads available as I write are for lads' mag Maxim and horse racing/betting site At the Races, with a "Zebtab" (or channel) planned for music site TuneTribe.

It's free, with ads, but you have to register, giving them (which I don't like doing for privacy/security reasons) your birthdate and at least 4 letters of your postcode. It requires Microsoft's .NET Framework.

Pity it seems you have to do a separate download for each site you want a Zebtab for. It looks like you can't just download it once, then within it add the channels you want. The Maxim one suggests you can add more Zebtabs (see the Zebtab tab in the pic above), but that tab doesn't display any extra stuff to add, at the moment. Would they be more Zebtabs for sites related only to Maxim, I wonder?

Also, is getting the content you want possible only if the site you want news/pics from cooperates to make their site Zebtab-capable? If so, Zebtab may have to work pretty hard to persuade sites to do it. It may not be easy to get a high takeup rate with limited content.

Plus, it's still a bit buggy. On my PC the Zebtab tab which sticks out of the right of the screen is a bit peekaboo, sometimes you see it, usually you don't. When trying to call up the Zebtab by moving the cursor to the right of the screen or doubleclicking the system tray icon, it kept sliding out from the right, then sliding away again, sometimes repeatedly, oooh my eyes. (Note that I am manfully (or whatever) resisting making any comment about it not being able to stay up once it's out, however appropriate that metaphor might be given the content!) I just couldn't get it to stay in place. The solution I found was to rightclick the icon and choose Show Zebtab, and then it'll stay out.

Unless and until it's further developed, personally I'll stick with desktop software that lets you make use of RSS feeds, like SpringWidgets (there's one in my sidebar for my blog), even though it doesn't have the full contents/pics display that Zebtab does. Particularly given the apparent target audience.

(My Magical Sheep pardner Kirk may like the Maxim one though! The Maxim Zebtab screenshot may be a clue as to why...)


2 comments:

kirk said...

I prefer a more wholesome look than what Maxxim provides. :-)

It seems like people keep repackaging this old idea in new wrappers, hoping it will catch on. It won't.

Improbulus said...

Wholesome, huh? I'd never have guessed! No doubt you had to scrutinise Maxim's pages in detail in order to reach that conclusion...

Yeah I agree. I don't think this particular one will catch on either.