Posted by: gurglin | June 10, 2008

How to do almost anything online

Presentation Convert WP Database Spreadsheet Image edit Diagrams Office Chess
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Let’s start with G.ho.st, which provides every person in the world with a free Virtual Computer (VC). Like a Windows PC, or Mac, the VC is a personal computing environment which includes your desktop, your personal settings, your files and your choice of software applications. But unlike a PC, your VC is not installed on one physical computer – instead it is stored in professional data centers across the Internet cloud, and is accessed from any Internet browser in the world. From any computer, open the browser to G.ho.st , enter your username and password, and continue using your VC from exactly the state you last left it in.

Brainstorming and Mindmapping

Mindmapping software is great for brainstorming, organizing information hierarchically, creating advanced to-do lists, planning etc

  1. Bubbl.us. Bubbl.us is a basic mindmapping app with an easy to use interface, is multi-lingual, and allows maps to be embedded in web pages.
  2. Comapping. Comapping takes mindmapping one step further, allowing simultaneous use by multiple users.
  3. Kayuda. Kayuda is a mindmapping-plus app, good for developing “campaigns”. Maps are shareable and serve as navigation. Add text and details to each node.
  4. Mind42. Mind42 (“Mind for two”) is another collaborative mindmapping application that is a bit closer to its desktop cousins, and throws in web sticky notes as well.
  5. Mindomo. Mindomo might make you forget it’s a webware app in terms of interface and mindmapping functionality. It has non-real time collaborative features.
  6. Mindmeister. Mindmeister offers non-real time collaboration and many of the import/ export features of Mindomo. The interface lies between Bubbl.us and Mindomo in feature quantity.

Bookmarks and Clipping

Will allow you to quickly save information in an organized way

  1. Del.icio.us. Forget your browser’s bookmarks. Del.icio.us lets you tag and share each URL, as well as search other members bookmarks.
  2. StartAid. StartAid’s non-vanilla interface resemble’s Del.icio.us only in essence, and also has a Digg button for each URL

Calendaring

Integrate with other webware apps, shareable info sometimes updatable by SMS texting, and may have a mobile edition.

  1. 30Boxes. 30Boxes offers a rich grid interface and import of RSS feeds from multiple sources. Receive reminders via SMS and use the app on your web-enabled phone.
  2. CalendarHub. CalendarHub offers multiple calendars, search capability to find local events, RSS feeds for tracking, subscription to public calendars, and reminders by email and mobile phone.
  3. Google Calendar. Google Calendar is well integrated with other Google data and webware. Allows you to keep multiple color-coded calendars, add public calendars, share yours, and get popup event reminders.
  4. Remember the Milk. Remember the Milk (RTM) is a reminder service that works either on its own (has mobile phone access) or with calendaring tools such Google Calendar. Now updatable from Twitter.
  5. Planzo. Share your Plano calendar events on web pages or via AIM. Get daily reminders by email or SMS. Use the API to build a custom version without the hideous green background.
  6. Spongecell. Spongecell’s calendar interface seems more suited for planning one day at a time, as with a paper day planner, since it does not make full use of vertical screen space.
  7. Yahoo! Calendar. Yahoo!’s calendar offers multiple views (day, week, month, year) and automatically includes events from any Yahoo! Groups that you may be part of.

Collaboration, Communication, Contact Management

Cooperation and communication between remote individuals

  1. Campfire. Campfire is 37Signals‘ real-time group chat app. Share files, upload images, name and set up multiple chat rooms. Invite temporary members such as vendors or clients.
  2. ConceptShare. Use ConceptShare’s collaborative whiteboards for design work on images or videos. Overlay a workspace with comments and revision marks while using the text chat.
  3. Coventi Pages. Use Coventi Pages’ whiteboards to share documents and collaborate in real time. Add text highlighting or comments.
  4. GMail GTalk. If you have GMail, GTalk works in a tiny, annoying window for a quick chat with other GMail users.
  5. Highrise. 37Signal’s Highrise provides contact management and CRM features. Add documents, locked notes, images, links to videos or audio, tasks, and bio information.
  6. iContact. Manage your surveys, autoresponders, and customers’ newsletter subscriptions with iContact. Perform mail-merge and message scheduling. Use spamCheck(tm) for CAN-SPAM compliance.
  7. Meebo. Consolidate all your IM clients with Meebo, be it AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, or MSN Messenger.
  8. Novlet. The Harry Potter series is coming to an end and we’ll need a new fiction saga. Sharpen your writing skills with Novlet, either collaboratively or by yourself, in case you’re entering the NanoWriMo contest.
  9. Twitter. Twitter is a very informal way to communicate with a group of people, provided you don’t mind eavesdroppers and a 140 character message limit.
  10. Pownce. Pownce is Digg founder Kevin Rose’s baby, currently invite only. Sign up or ask around. Pownce is like a private Twitter but is skinnable and allows sharing of links and files (up to 10Mb free version).
  11. ProjectStat.us. Keep curious clients happy by updating them on project progress with ProjectStat.us.
  12. Thinkature. Thinkature offers virtual teams real-time collaboration. Add text, diagrams or hand-sketched images to the workspace while using the voice chat feature.
  13. Writeboard. Writeboard from 37Signals offers a collaborative environment for editing text documents. Track document changes via RSS.

Diagramming

Organize a team or organize your thoughts with, diagramming software

  1. Flowchart.com. With Flowchart.com, choose a chart type, then drag and drop nodes, lines and clipart onto the canvas. Share charts or export to PDF or PNG formats.
  2. Gliffy. It’s not quite as full-featured MS-Visio but Gliffy offers many of the same types of diagrams in a similar interface.
  3. Swivel. Share your data charts and visualizations on Swivel, which is sort of like a Flickr or YouTube for charts. (API currently in invite mode only.

Email Clients

  1. GMail. GMail is arguably the most productive webmail client. It offers 2 Gb and more of space, discussion threads, custom fiters, the ability to manage other email acconts, and more.
  2. Hotmail. This webmail veteran has a new interface, more storage, and is called Windows Live Hotmail. That means getting a portal page instead of your inbox. Despite the upgrades, however, you should use Hotmail only if you’re a masochist, or have a legacy account.
  3. Fuzzmail. Annoy friends, family, and foes by sending them raw Fuzzmail email. Contains every error and correction your sticky little fingers make.
  4. Yahoo! Mail. Another old veteran, also upgraded to an AJAX interface. Still lacking somewhat in spam filtering capabilities, but a better experience overall than Hotmail.

Entertainment – Audio, Video, Other

Ditch your CD player. Forget about that TV tuner card. Nearly any song, TV show, or full-length movie you want is online or likely will be soon. Download content to your iPod or other MP3/ MP4 devices or enjoy it online.

  1. Finetune. Finetune is similar to Pandora (below) in essence and also offers widgets that can be embedded in web pages.
  2. Jamglue. Bedroom and garage musicians take note: JamGlue lets you remix tracks online and share them with the community. Though if Rype is ever released, Jamglue will likely be forgotten.
  3. LessonBites. LessonBites, like VideoJug (below) focuses on how-to, but with monetization. You pay to upload content but earn when people purchase non-download access.
  4. Live365. If you fancy being a net DJ, Live365 lets you broadcast your Internet radio station for US$9.95/mo.
  5. MusicMesh. Combine Pandora logic with YouTube content and get MusicMesh. Feed it a song or band name and get a cluster map of CD covers. Pick one, and get a playlist with links to YouTube videos, if any.
  6. Pandora. Pandora should get an award for best music recommendation service. It’s currently available only in the U.S. due to user/royalty fees for Internet radio stations. Unlike annoyingly intrusive competitor Last.fm, Pandora does not have a rich suitor (though it does drive Microsoft’s Internet Radio).
  7. SplashCast. SplashCast is currently the most innovative media player. Create slideshows manually or from RSS feeds. Use documents, images or videos. Add in audio/ narration for a webcast.
  8. Splice. Splice, like JamGlue, offers a means to remix audio from a browser.
  9. VideoJug. VideoJug has dedicated itself to how-to videos, both amusing and serious.
  10. YourSpins. YourSpins is one more for the audio mixing category. It differs in that you can choose specific artists and songs from a dropdown menu, and tweak volumes and modes of various instruments.
  11. YouTube. In addition to a new player with thumbnails, YouTube now offers a video remixer for special effects and resequencing, but only on your own videos. Alternatives: DailyMotion, Metacafe, Revver and many more. Or just visit your local TV station’s website.
  12. Tun3r. Imagine the frequency band of a radio. Replace the band with a 2d grid of snapshots of net radio home pages. Move the tuner around to hear live streaming snippets from over 1400 net stations.

Image Stores, Image and Video Editors

If you’ve purchased any clipart CD’s or image editing software in the past or were forced to upgrade your harddrive to accomodate large image and video files, you know that software based image and video applications are lacking.

  1. ColorBlender. Create custom, harmonious color palettes using ColorBlend. Move the RGB sliders around until you’re happy, then save the settings.
  2. Cuts. Cuts lets you specify a video URL, then layer special effects, captions and loops over the timeline. More for amusement than anything serious.
  3. Eyespot. Mix videos online with Eyespot. Use the timeline to drop in video, audio, and transitions, and the Trimmer for smoother sequences. Use the free media sets to get started.
  4. Flickr. Flickr’s image sharing service excels in community-feel, RSS feeds, and a well-used API that’s spawned countless mashups.
  5. Fotki. According to Webware 100, Fotki is an image hosting and sharing site, as well as a tool for blogging about your photos. Try out for a photo contest for prizes.
  6. Graphita. Have fun adding captions, doodles and clipart objects to your images with Graphita, and share them with other members.
  7. Jumpcut. Yahoo-owned Jumpcut is a video mixing service. Use their videos or upload your own, reorder frame sequences, add audio, titles, and effects.
  8. Movie Masher. Movie Masher uses an Adobe Flash 8 applet to let you set up video editing tools on your site.
  9. Photobucket. According to Mashable, while Flickr use is growing, Photobucket is still the number one image hosting and sharing site.
  10. Picnik. Picnik boasts photo-editing features including crop, rotate, and special effects. Upload your own photos or retrieve pics from photo sharing sites.
  11. Picture2Life. Picture2Life offers basic photo-editing capabiltiy, as well as collages and animated GIFs. Use your own images or retrieve some from Facebook, Flickr, Webshots, and other sites.
  12. XMG Image. Tag, label, crop, rotate and resize your images with XMG Image. Upload full Zip files of images and unzip on their servers.

Invoice and Finance Managers

  1. Blinksale. Blinksale is a basic, easy to use invoicing tool with customizable templates, repeat auto-send and more. Import client records from Basecamp.
  2. BudgetPulse. BudgetPulse provides easy graphical views of funds in multiple accounts, goals, and spending trends.
  3. Dimewise. Dimewise tracks your finances using multiple “accounts”. Tag expense items for easy charting of your spending trends.
  4. FreshBooks. Track time spent on projects with FreshBooks, then send invoices by snail mail or email. Accept payments with PayPal and other processors, and send late notices automatically.
  5. Wesabe. Wesabe is best in its class, allowing access to bank accounts and credit cards so that you can pay one-off or repeating bills. Use the new REST API for custom apps.

Maps and Mapping

  1. Google Maps. Google Maps is miles ahead of the competition with the introduction of MyMaps and mapplets, as well as a relatively easy to use API that has resulted in countless map mashups.
  2. Platial. Platial offers dead simple addition of rich media to map points of interest, including images, videos, and audio. Use the Mapkit to create maps for your website that visitors can update.
  3. Yahoo! Maps. Yahoo! Maps are a bit behind Google Maps, but are integrated nicely with Yahoo! Pipes feed mashup tool. Custom Pipes feeds with geocoded data automatically result in an optional map view.

Organizers, To-do Lists and Project Managers

Acess their information at any time and from anywhere.

  1. Backpack. Backpack from 37Signals is an all-in-one app for managing to-do lists, notes, and your schedule. Build full-blown HTML pages for notes, organize photos, or just keep a calendar.
  2. Basecamp. Basecamp, also from 37Signals, is a skinnable, customizable project management and file sharing tool with milestone and time tracking, project overview, and message boards that team members can add comments to.
  3. Neptune. Neptune may appear to be a no-frills app, but it packs a lot of to-do list features, is easy to use, and can email alerts of pending tasks.
  4. Stikkit. Stikkit combines sticky notes and to-do lists into a hybrid paradigm. Enter items manually or via a unique email address. Stikkit recognizes dates in English.
  5. Todoist. Todoist offers advanced instruction parsing, especially for dates. There’s also an API, and Todoist integrates with GMail, iGoogle, Netvibes, and more.
  6. WhoDoes. WhoDoes is a project manager app that allows for team co-ordination, role definition and permissions, time-tracking, and sharing of documentation.

Password Management

Jst one password you’ll have access to all of them at any time, from anywhere.

  1. Clipperz. Clipperz is available in both English and Japanese and allows you to store any type of password, code or PIN.
  2. PassPack. PassPack, dubbed an online privacy manager, is similar to Clipperz, though you can also store links and notes.

Portals and Start Pages

Portal/start pages to get an overview of events, email and tasks
  1. iGoogle. iGoogle offers a clean, simple start page with movable widgets, including a calendar, the weather, top stories, and the time. Add, remove, rearrange as you like.
  2. Netvibes. Netvibes starts with a default set of widgets which you can customize. Integrate with your preferred webmail account and add external widgets – which you can create.
  3. Pageflakes. Pageflakes lets you select your widgets upon first use, as well as customize from a massive gallery of outside “flakes”. Or you can develop your own.

RSS Readers

RSS readers offer an excellent way to research online while organizing references. Here are three of the most popular web-based RSS readers.
  1. Bloglines. Bloglines, with it’s two-pane design, started off with an early lead in terms of popularity – especially amongst bloggers – but appears to be losing market-share.
  2. Google Reader. Google Reader is the new kid on the block and has attracted defectors from Bloglines and Newsgator, despite, or maybe because of, the different interface layout.
  3. NewsGator Online Edition. Newsgator is similar in interface to Bloglines but synchronizes with its more serious desktop counterpart Feed Demon. Unlike Bloglines, feed items are retained in Newsgator until explicitly deleted.

Spreadsheets and Calculators

  1. Calcoolate. Calcoolate gives you more than than the standard calculator on your desktop, including basic math functions and history.
  2. Calcr. Calcr likes minimalist, having no “buttons” – just an entry area. Enter standard math forumlas including basic trig and other functions to get your results. It saves your history.
  3. EditGrid. EditGrid offers a number of spreadsheet innovations: tagging of sheets, real-time editing by several people, tying of live web data to specific cells, and XML/XSLT features. Use the API for custom applications.
  4. InstaCalc. Instacalc offers multiple rows, numerous types of advanced calculations, and charting features. Share your calculations or link to a result.

Storage and File-Sharing

Sending of large files. So how do you send them to clients or teammates, short of burning discs and using snailmail? Shareable online storage sites, of course. And there are a lot of them. Here are three of the most popular, based on Alexa rankings.
  1. eSnips. eSnips gives you 5 Gb of free space. Upload whatever, sell your content, start a community.
  2. YouSendIt. YouSendIt acts as a proxy for sending files free up to 100 Mb with no ads, or up to 2 Gb with various paid acounts.
  3. zUpload. Upload and share files of up to 500Mb for free with donation-run zUpload, with no download or bandwidth limits.

Text Editors, Document Viewers, and Document Processors

  1. Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Google jazzed up their interface to these two “office” apps with a folder-tree view of your documents. However, these two apps are still very barebones and occasionally unreponsive, though they integrate nicely with GMail attachments.
  2. GreenDOC. Want a simple interface for word processing? GreenDOC provides it. You don’t even need to register, unless you want to save your documents.
  3. Scribd. Scribd combines multi-format document viewing with voting. Documents are viewed using a rich PDF-like embedded viewer.
  4. ZohoWriter/ ZohoSheet. ZohoWriter and ZohoSheet are two of about a dozen webware apps from Zoho, are easy to use, and more closely resemble their Microsoft desktop counterparts than Google’s offerings.
  5. ThinkFree ThinkFree, like Zoho, offers an “office” suite of webware apps, including Write and Calc (spreadsheet). Use up to 1 Gb of storage free. Has an API.

Web Desktops

Your entire operating system in a browser.

  1. Destoptwo. Desktop Two offers a 1 Gb storage, email, address book, IM, RSS reader, live chat and more. It really does look like a desktop.
  2. Goowy. Goowy does not resemble Windows, but it does give a windows-like interface which includes email access, a calendar, contact app, IM, file storage and minis.

Application Mashups and Data Collection

If there isn’t a webware alternative already available, you can quickly create your owning a multitude of free mashup and data collection tools. With all the web mashup tools available, it’s easy for non-programmers to manipulate and repackage data, and for programmers to rapidly prototype web applications.

  1. Dabble DB. Rapidly build web database apps with Dabble DB using imported data. Manipulate data with custom fiters using natural language commands. Can be accessed from multiple views including maps and spreadsheets.
  2. Teqlo. Rapidly create custom interfaces with Teqlo, driven purely by RSS feeds of any sort: news, blogs, shopping, calendars, contact management, etc.
  3. Wufoo. Create custom forms, integrate them on your site, and collect data. Wufoo informs you of your collected data via email or an RSS feed. Use the two APIs, Query and Submit, for custom apps.
  4. Yahoo Pipes. Yahoo Pipes lets you slice, dice, and splice RSS feeds in an easy to use visual interface. A powerful tool that’ll be even more powerful once out of beta.
  5. Zoho Creator. Rapidly build web forms with Zoho Creator, then collect and manage your data. Zoho allows you to export data in multiple formats, or to build a web application to access the data using the script builder.

References

In addition to the sites directly referenced in the article, the following websites were used to compile the list above.
  1. Emily Chang’s eHub.
  2. Mashable.
  3. Programmable Web.
  4. Read/Write Web.
  5. Techcrunch

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