Here’s a quick tutorial on creating a glossy looking orb in Inkscape. Although the purpose behind creating it was to use as icon background, the result seems pretty universal and can be used in interfaces, web design, what have you. I started creating this one believing I will need to push Inkscape to the limit to get the kind of soft gradients and blurs required, but was thoroughly impressed with how easily it stood up to the task.
I would also like to point out here that I’m using a development version of Inkscape 0.46. I’m also trying out a different approach and using video-sharing site DailyMotion to host the video, so please let me know if you prefer this one to the hosted SWF solutions I’ve used before.
There is also a better-quality version available on Viddler.