Triple t: ThinkFree Viewer, Twitter and Talkonaut

So, any good tech out there today? Sure is. And to you who diss me because you want a social blog, read on. Social is the imperative, now!

ThinkFree ViewerI first wrote about this company a year ago, when their online MS Office-suite clone service was proffering free accounts, a mind-boggling 30MB of storage for every single user and an (at times) extremely sluggish interface. Today, the service brings 1GB of free space and collaborative features. And free accounts for all, yeay!

Now, they’re releasing ThinkFree Viewer, a series of techy ways to view and create MS Office-compatible documents, spreadsheets and presentations on the web.

For instance, by installing their Firefox add-on you can suddenly right-click any URL to an MS Office-file (that’s of the three formats mentioned above, plus these), choose “View with ThinkFree” and it opens without having to have any kind of MS Office-related program (or clone) installed on your computer, only java, which is free software. I just tried ThinkFree Viewer on my home desktop computer, and all that it takes is patience the first time around, as the java-files are installed. After that, even running a presentation in show mode worked beautifully. You can do other things, such as post your office documents to your site by simply pasting the generated HTML-code into your web page or blog post. Use a OSX/Yahoo/Google widget to open MS Office-files.

TwitterThis is a well thought-through social application that definitely has some growth in it. So, what gives, besides the name that screams “the guy who thought of it wasn’t English”? You register for a free account, enter your mobile phone number, make sure you can receive and send SMS’s. You then invite/add your friends who do the same. Here’s the fun part: you enter what you’re doing. When you’ve done that, by web or mobile, that information is then relayed to your friends by SMS. Don’t see the fun? Imagine you’re in town and want to have a beer with somebody. Instead of calling/SMS’ing everybody you know, you send one SMS, to Twitter, saying the first one to come have a beer with you will get the first ten for free (like I always do, aa-humm). Now you see it!

It also means that you, through the web and for free, can type a message to a friend and it will be relayed as an SMS. That’s more than nice, it’s brilliant.

You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use Twitter. It’s very straight-forward and contains good stuff, such as the ability to configure a time-span when you don’t want to receive SMS’s (e.g. when you’re sleeping) and to turn privacy on, so that not everybody can see what you’re up to. Very nice. It’s quite a bit like Facebook in the way that you record your status and display it to a disinterested world; mine’s evidently placed on the right side of this blog, for example. Speaking of which, this is an interesting interview from The Guardian, where Andrew Herbert, Director of Microsoft Research Labs Cambridge, speaks about SenseCam, a way to “record your day” and then upload it. My Twitter profile page is here.

TalkonautEver wished you’d find a program that let you GMail-chat with your friends through a mobile phone? Yet again, Java to the rescue1 and you’re as happy as pap. I installed this application to my Sony Ericsson M600i and it worked with no errors. It’s simple to GMail-chat with, even keeps a chat log, but, when I tried to use it for chatting through MSN Messenger, that’s when the people I added turned up as proxied accounts in my GMail account (!) and in order to get to “chat” with them this service wanted me to pay up so that it could call them at the phone number they’ve added in their MSN Passport-account. Not very likely. But you do get 0.2USD to text for, which didn’t even amount to 2 whole SMS’s in my case. Thanks, anyway!

Too bad the site looks like it fell from the top of Ugly Tree and hit every branch on the way down. But hey, enough slagging Talkonaut, so I’ll say this service is more than chatting. Or talking, depending on the nomenclature you/Talkonaut are using. I will only use it to text-chat through GMail, but you can use it for audibly chatting with people through GTalk, Jabber, SIP and VoIP.

  1. Don’t get me wrong. I hate java even though it’s platform-independent.[back]

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