In the web 1.0 world, we were happy just to be able to surf the web and have access to thousands of new and wonderful services. However, shortly thereafter, our hard drives became bloated with installed components, some of which were seldom used, slowing our operating systems to a crawl. Around the same time, surfing the web became a game of 'memory' where we had to guess which user names and passwords we had created to get at all these great services. If we had the misfortune of guessing incorrectly more than 3 times, we often ran into a situation where accounts became locked, requiring emails to virtually nonexistent customer service departments. In web 1.0 our surfing was limited by our ability to remember passwords and our OS's ability to support multiple plug ins and installed software components.
Web 2.0 -- The Present:
With the advent of Web 2.0 we're witnessing a new movement, that of the no cost, no install, and no log in software. Tired of installing software and creating user accounts, sites have popped up which offer much of the functionality we're used to with less of the hassle.
Yes Flickr is great. But what if you want to simply post a fast picture without having to log in and create a sign on? I just want to quickly share a picture. I've tried these two sites:
Share4Pic -> http://share4pic.com/en/
Image Ox -> http://www.imageox.com/
For example, using Share4Pic to share the image associated with this post: I need only simply visit the site and perform a quick upload. After that I'm immediately given a url (link) which I can use in a chat or in an email or what have you.
You can adapt this idea to allow for screen shot sharing. Suppose you are helping someone having some problems using a program. You'd like to send them a picture of the screen in front of you with some comments. No problem, just press ALT+PRINT SCREEN. Now, on Windows, under accessories, open "Paint". Using the "Edit" menu click on "Paste" and your screen shot will now appear. Use the text tool to enter comments as necessary. Save the file as type "JPG" (jpeg) and save it with a name you'll remember in a location you'll remember. Now, just upload this file to a photo sharing site like share4pic or imageox and send the link to your suffering friend. He or she will now be able to view your screenshot and benefit from the advice you've added. An example is here:
Screenshot Kwouting (Quoting)
Another great util for sharing screenshots or part of a screen is www.kwout.com . Have you ever just wanted to show someone where to click or what to look for on a web page? The best way to do so is to simply show them a picture of what you're talking about. They've provided a handy widget such that web designers can embed their functionality into their own site. If you click on this button:
you can 'kwout' an excerpt from this blog entry! As an example from www.simple2chat.com, if I wanted to show someone how to start a new conversation, I could tell them to click on the new conversation button in the tool bar . As they say "a picture is worth a thousand words". Hopefully this utility will save you several thousand words. Again, no login, and no install required. (There is also a handy Firefox plugin which isn't necessary but is very helpful to have.)
Microsoft Office is great. It's been great since 1995 after which I can't understand the justification for any upgrades. The problem with Microsoft Office is 1) its cost and 2) it takes up space and resources on your machine. Web 2.0 has seen the introduction of online office suites. Three come to mind right of the top of my head:
Think Free: http://member.thinkfree.com/
Google Docs: http://docs.google.com
Now, admittedly all these sites require a log in, but they don't require any installation. The log in is required to keep track of your documents. These online suites are, in my opinion, better than Microsoft office as they allow for collaboration across many platforms and sites. You can build a slide show with your colleagues across the world while working on the final numbers on a spreadsheet type application.
There is another suite here worth mentioning and that's Open Office. It doesn't require a log in, but does require an install. Just the same, it's a full featured office suite that is free of charge and is very robust in the features offered.
The recording industry and the internet community have been playing a game of cat and mouse over the past decade. There are so many file sharing programs that have been made available and then prosectued that I've almost lost track. To name a few, Kazaa, Bear Share, EMule, Limewire, and all the torrent sites no less. All are/were great ways to get plenty of mp3's illegally. Then came along ITunes and several other pay sites which had a terrific library which you could access by proprietary installed software.
What if you could listen to all the music you wanted without the legal entanglements? Sounds too good to be true? Well, not in the world of Web 2.0. I came across this gem in my internet travels:
It's 100% legal (all artists are payed) and it's provided to you with no log in and at no cost. I was amazed with the coverage their library offered. I tested the depth of coverage with a few rare or rarer favorites of mine from various eras such as:
Saint Saens "Danse Macabre": http://songza.com/z/gg09tj
T-Bone Walker "Stormy Monday" : http://songza.com/z/yg36z3
Herbert Gorecki "Symphony No 3": http://songza.com/z/af287q
Billie Holiday "I Wished On The Moon": http://songza.com/z/qh8i8y
Pink Floyd "Corporal Clegg": http://songza.com/z/umf8nj
John Foxx "Underpass": http://songza.com/z/yo3705
Lenny Kravitz "The Resurrection": http://songza.com/z/yyv2w6
If you are an artist yourself and wish to share your music there is a site I recommend which does require a login, but no installation: www.odeo.com On it, you can create channels of your own works and share them with your friends and colleagues. Here is a channel created by yours truly:
Internet chat is at once the greatest productivity booster and impedement of the modern era. I have four different chat clients running on my machine (msn,yahoo,googletalk, and skype). There are programs such as Trillian which seek to consolidate these services under one umbrella. First off, it requires an installation and second, I find it doesn't do a great job at completeness (eg file sharing and video often disabled).
Web 2.0 has a few partial solutions to the chat client overpopulation problem. The first is www.meebo.com. This is a site, which like Trillian, puts all your chat accounts under one umbrella. It has a Firefox plugin which will allow you to use it as though it has been installed on your computer. It won't support video or several other advanced features of any given chat program, but at least you don't need to install anything.
If you'd simply like to have a chat conversation with a few people without having to have them all on the same chat protocol, you can use www.simple2chat.com which is provided by yours truly. This isn't intended to be a replacement for chat, but is instead a no login, no install, simple, and fast chat site to allow people to converse or conference quickly and easily.
File Sharing / File BackUp:
With web 2.0, we won't be installing as much software as we used to. However, what do we do with all the files we have? A good example that comes to mind is my mp3 collection. When I'm at work, how do I have access to my mp3 collection? I could take a USB memory key, but wouldn't it be great if there was a web accessible service which could store reams of data? Well there is. www.adrive.com offers 50GB (!!) of storage. You can share the files you've stored and upload and download files from any computer with internet access. You have to provide a login, but that's no big deal given the advantages.
If you'd like a quick file sharing utility, try www.drop.io . This utility allows you to share files plus a whole host of other great features.
Web 2.0 is a brave new world wide web. There is no longer the need to install software for hours on end. Your data, songs, pictures, work documents, and chat clients can now follow you wherever you go.
Free Downloadable Office Suite
Chat - Download - All In One
Chat - Online - No Install - All In One
Chat Online Instant Chat / Conference - No Install, No Login