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AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) looks like one of the contenders for the way things are going in terms of simple programming interfaces. One example of this is Adobe Digital Editions, which runs on AIR, and I have recently discovered a second, called Snippage. Simply put, Snippage allows you to track a specific portion of a website as a desktop widget.
It’s all as simple as installing the program, and then selecting what you want to follow. The possibilities for this are varied, such as following an auction, a poll or just about anything else you might want to follow off the web. In addition to selecting a specific selection, you can also set the update interval, or leave the widget static.
Caveat lector: Snippage is currently in Beta stage, and the developer specifically says that it might behave “oddly”