I was trying to explain how the "Birmingham and West Midlands Politics News" gadget works to Andy Mabbett on Twitter, and did such a poor job of it I thought I'd try again here.
The gadget was created using Sproutbuilder. It takes an RSS feed of political news from the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail, and displays it as you can see. Clicking on a headline will take you to the web page where the story originally appeared.
You can add it to pretty much any website or blog, or Facebook/Myspace/etc page, for free, by clicking the "share" button and following the instructions.
The RSS feed it uses is one I created in Yahoo Pipes. This amalgamates four different RSS feeds from the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail, namely: every news story in the Post's politics section, my Birmingham Post blog, my Birmingham Mail column and most of my Birmingham Post columns.
There is, as you can tell, an element of self-promotion involved.
But the key point - and this is where I am afraid I made little sense when I spoke to Andy - is that anyone can make one of these. So if you want a gadget on your site which has sports news from the Birmingham Mail and the Express and Star, for example, you can just go ahead and make one.
All you need to do is sign up at Sproutbuilder. And if you can find the right RSS feeds, or know how to filter stuff in Yahoo Pipes, it's easy enough to make a specialised widget - for example, which only included football stories, or which pulled in any story from a dozen different websites which mentioned Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Sproutbuilder switched fairly recently from being free to charging. But it does offer basic free accounts, allowing you to make three gadgets with up to 10gb a month of bandwidth - probably enough for most needs?
So if anyone wants to add my gadget to their website, just go ahead. But if it's not what you want, you could make one yourself easily, and they are fun to do.