Monday, 30 November 2009

Why are Web Apps the same?

Ok, still need to make a review of Jolicloud... I must admit, I didn't use Jolicloud as much as I was expecting but enjoyed what I saw. They have work to do and everything is still too slow to be my main OS for now but because I was running from a pen, couldn't install the updates to see if it gets better.
I'll be installing it completely during this week but I'm now even more excited with Chrome OS (that apparently works on Dell Mini v10 netbooks).

Back to the post topic...
I've been using some of the web apps I listed on previews posts. In general they're great, some more useful than others but great. I'm really impressed by Zoho apps actually.

What's the problem then?
Well, I can do what they do and sometimes better and/or quicker with Desktop applications! Ok, the data doesn't get stored in the Cloud with desktop apps, at least not until you install Dropbox .
I'm not being pessimist, I still believe in the Cloud but, that won't convince anyone by itself.
What do you answer to a casual user that asks "Why should I change if I have everything I need?". Firstly, they always think to have enough until they start using something else ;) and then you can talk about mobility of data.
But is that enough?

What happens if someone only uses one machine? Well, they aren't the target public of Cloud services probably, not! Most of cloud services have (or should have) social and share features, they are great but, why do you need them if you don't have "anyone" to share with?
We need everyone, even those "one machine only" users, but we must admit, we're asking for a big change, it's not like installing a new Office version! Users need to be educated.

So, with that said, what can we do? Simple, stop trying to port desktop applications into the web and trying to rival with years of development and support.
Look at the Pixlr example, it's amazing, I don't need to install Photoshop neither Paint.NET ever again but, what if I already had those installed? After speaking with some people that use Photoshop more often, they think Pixlr is ok but misses some core functionality! So, what's the point?

Since we already need to educate users anyway, why not making a complete change? Why not starting looking at what the web has that desktops don't, social & share features, new UI designs, new functionality... Basically rethinking the way we use the computer!
It needs to feel different, newer and better for the average user to adopt the product. Users need to feel that after using some of the web apps they can't even think on going back to the equivalent outdated desktop app.

Now it's the time, cloud services and apps need to be the key for this turning point to work, they need to leave everything else behind!
Though, still a long way to go...

See you later,

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

After all, there is more...

After all there is more than Google!

At the same day I read about the German government claiming that Google Analytics is illegal I found a strange, but promising, new Operating System that will compete with Chrome OS. Can Google be hurt?

I'm speaking about Jolicloud. Some would say - "that's just another operating system... It won't work" - well, you may be right or... Maybe not!

Why am I so excited? In the past few days I've been trying to convince everyone that Chrome OS is the future. Apart of one or two people, no one believed in me. I can understand, is still a big jump forward.
Between some minor reasons for the 'failure' of Google Chrome OS, there was a major and rather concerning one, the fact it is just a browser and everything is completely on the Cloud. For me it isn't an issue, that's exactly what I'm trying to do now, but I kind of understand those concerns.

This brings us back to Jolicloud - "Why are you so excited?" (you ask again) - Well, Jolicloud follows the same path as Chrome OS, that's reason enough for me but, as if it wasn't enough, it is actually compatible with offline applications and data (with a proper file system) for people concerned with privacy. It's based on Ubuntu so it is compatible with some well known applications, as it proves by the great software collection it comes with.
This is all great but you might be still thinking - "Yah, but that won't be enough to convince users to use it, at least the casual ones!" - again, you might be right but, I left the best to the end... It actually runs Windows applications!

I'm not saying everything will be perfect, far from it, but it looks much better than Chrome OS with its iPhone look and feel and more of a 'new Operating System for our times' instead of trying to be too extremist.

I've got an invitation to the Alpha version of Jolicloud and I'm currently downloading it (600MB not much and yes, it runs on a fair list of netbooks and laptops). I'll have more to say after installing and using it.

Last but not least, here are some of the applications I've started using last week:

Application browser
See for yourself, it's like Google Apps but, from what I've seen, much more complete! Try Zoho Writer!
You can use your Google Account to register, i's really easy and you won't be disappointed.

Slideshow creator
Not much to say... cool but not that useful (for me at least).

Was great to 'speak' with you again.
See you later!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Defining Cloud

Quick post today...
Firstly, I just saw Little Big Planet at HMV and I must admit, it's a great feeling to see our game on the shelves!

I was thinking on my next post when I realised I should probably 'define' the concept of Cloud as a starting point so, for quick reference, open and read (or look at the drawings) these links:

This will definitely help defining it...

Now I can continue thinking on my next post :)

See you later,

Friday, 20 November 2009

Chrome OS & Web Apps

This week was (and still is, here) Little Big Planet release week :)
The game is getting really good reviews and that is reflected on the happy faces around the studio.

There are already some good levels online that you can try (yes, because you bought or will buy the game!).

Today's big news were Google Chrome OS Event.
I am quite excited about it because it answers some of the needs of my Master Plan.
Well... Enough of words, here are two videos that can explain it better:

The concept of Chrome OS.

And some UI working :)

And to finish, here are some Web Apps that I discovered recently. These are probably good candidates for Apps to use on Chrome OS.
I promise to talk more about them as soon as I start using more frequently but I'd also like to know what you think.

Paint software.
For my usage of paint software it doesn't make sense to pay for it, but I still want to be able to use some good quality functionality. It looks impressive and is quite responsive.

Cloud disk.
Amazing, has been really useful between my work and home machines. Apparently has a great iPhone App but I don't have one to try it.

Music player (streaming)
Can't live without it now, it's my only music player at the moment and I enjoy the radio feature, although some times it fails miserably when choosing songs.

I only found it yesterday (thanks Marco) and I decided to give it a try by writing some notes for this post. For now looks like Google Docs (that I still prefer) but I didn't use the 'cool' features yet. Again, some nice mobile Apps but not on my phone...

? Waving software ?
Started using this with my brother and we've been discussing some topics on it, though I still don't find it that revolutionary yet... I need to try using more of its features.

Programming environment.
Just started using but has some really nice ideas, it'll probably be my next home programming environment.

See you around...

EDIT: Added tags.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Master Plan

I am that type of person that gets easily excited with new stuff, any stuff, not only geeky stuff.
OK, this week I bought one of those tiny laptops, a netbook! You might be thinking now - "But netbooks aren't new" - yep, I know, this isn't the "new stuff" I was talking about.

Some weeks ago I started putting together a plan, a master plan to dominate the world or, at least, the virtual world. I'm talking about 'The Cloud'! And now you think - "But that isn't new either!" - OK! But I didn't know back then!

The plan is simple:

  • Buy a netbook (without optical drive)
  • Don't install any of those useful software products that you so 'desperately' need
  • Understand what you really miss
  • Look online for a good solution
  • Start using it
  • Spread the word!

For those asking "Why?", I ask "Why not?".
As I said, I love new stuff and I love a good challenge. I know that most of the desktop tools are still better than their online younger brothers. I want to help those young little monsters and there is only one way, by using them.
There is still some usability problems with most of the online tools already available, but it still makes sense to me.

While walking this path I hope to help and being helped by others with a similar interest.
The only victim here will be my wife, poor girl, she'll be my experiment mouse :)