Monday, April 16, 2007

Desktoptwo, three, four!

Desktoptwo is a web-based "operating system" manifested in a desktop that you can access from anywhere. Unlike sites like Netvibes and Protopage, which serve up RSS feeds and widgets as panels, Desktoptwo mimics your PC's desktop, complete with programs like office applications (OpenOffice), chat and email clients, calendar, contacts, and even 1GB of free hard drive space. This is more of a workspace than a startpage. It's all driven by some slick Flash.

OpenOffice can open Microsoft Excel and Word documents fairly well so even if you're tied to Microsoft Office, you can still get work done. Files can be uploaded and downloaded from the "Hard Drive" program, which acts like Explorer.

If you upload a bunch of MP3s to Desktoptwo, you can play them from the interface using the MP3 Player. A nice way to keep your music handy. The player's pretty bare bones, but sounds fine.

There are some social features like a blog and a message board available if you share your desktop with others. Not sure I'd use this, it would be like sharing your PC with a bunch of people, but I imagine, like most online social things, the kids would like it.

The rest of the apps are basic and functional. Performance is excellent and I saw no delays or hiccups. I suspect more applications will be added before it gets out of beta. All in all it's a pretty slick program that I suspect will appeal to anyone switching PCs frequently.


Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now and it's invaluable to keep up-to-date with all its advice and tools for web workers like myself.

I've considered switching to a web-based OS for a while now but what does put me off is that you're at the mercy of their servers. Plus, I'm very weary of privacy issues as a lot of work that I do is confidential.

In addition, there would have to be an easy synching method, because I am someone who would use both a web OS and my offline OS (both on a lappy and a desktop though, which is also a pain in the ****).

Lastly, I'm no big fan of flash. Never have been, probably never will be. Flash to me, and this may be a prejudice, is an all-singing-all-dancing affair with little substance. I prefer the brick and mortar of websites, i.e. coding, and html/css etc. Do you think you're actually going to make the switch to desktoptwo permanently?

As a side note, you posted about free books and where to get them (great! I just need to go and print them out sneakily next time I'm in teh office...). If you like disseminating info about free stuff, I've heard that Budweiser are currently giving away free stuff (budbucks I think the promotion is called). the main site is also a Flash affair (...) but there are some videos on youtube which I preferred. May be worth looking into/writing about.

Technogeekboy said...

While I think Desktoptwo is pretty cool technology, it can't replace a desktop OS. I think their use of the OS metaphor is only to make using the tool easier.

Good point about privacy issues. I guess many of us have entrusted companies like Desktoptwo with more personal information than we'd like, but I think we're all also wary of putting too much out there. Something like this would be a bad place to store things like credit card information for instance.

Great idea about syncing, that would be a solid feature for them to add in the future.

I'll check out the youTube site, thanks for sharing it, and reading!