Thursday, February 23, 2006

Look Mom & Dad: You Too Can Be A Web 2.0 Computer Geek

I know that for you guys, the only JAVA that matters is brewing in the morning. And that you don't need AJAX unless it makes the kitchen floors sparkle. But that doesn't mean you can't do some really cool stuff with these free webpages that run like desktop software (mother and father-in-law, I'm talking to you, too).

Gcast - I know you'd like to make your own podcast, but it sounds like a hassle. You don't want to buy a microphone, make MP3s, set-up a feed...Wouldn't it be easier to just talk into a telephone? That's the idea behind GCast. Pick up the phone, dial an 800 number, and talk away. Gcast does the rest. Afterwards you can even mix in some tunes from the Garage Band collection. These songs are all "safe" so you won't have any copyright issues. See the tutorial to learn more.

Vyew - At your next net-meeting, how would you like to impress them? Try Vyew. Not only is the interface "hip and fresh", but the functionality is excellent. Upload documents and take snapshots of your screen. But best of all, every party can "write" on the screen (see the demo - the link is on the top-right of the page).

Thumbstacks - A nice alternative to PowerPoint, with Thumbstacks you can create and save presentations online. There's no need to load software, no need to email documents. After viewing the presentation, you audience can also print it.

Nuvvo -Since you guys teach classes in the evening, maybe you'd like to take a second look at Nuvvo. It's a great way to put your class materials online and to even create review tests for your students. Three reasons to use Nuvvo: (1) You can load video, audio, or other files, (2) you can control who can access the site, (3) you can use Skype with Nuvvo to have group study sessions from home.

Blogger - Blogger is really simple to use. To crete a blog, all you do is sign-up, pick a template, and get posting. Creating a post is just like sending an email. Look at this brief introduction or this video tutorial from Lynda. With YouTube, you can find videos and post the html code. It's easier than it sounds - just copy the "post this" space, select HTML from the Blogger view, and post the code at the top. See this tutorial on video blogging.

Writely - Writely is a great way to collaborate on text documents. It is a really good way to collaborate when revising a document. Rather than dealing with copies of MS Word documents and track changes, just create a document online and check the versions. Here's more on how it works.

Gmail - Please get a Gmail account. I'll send you an invitation, but you don't even need it anymore. With Gmail you can search through your message easily. And the spam filter will get rid of a lot of the junk I see appearing in your account. Plus, now we can have GTalk IM conversations and they get saved with your emails. You never call, never write. I try with you guys, but you really need to make an effort.


BDcomics said...

WOW! A very nice list!

Why doesn't more people comment on it? It's sad.

You've really got an wonderful blog! I'll be coming back! :)

fred said...

Hi there,

Very nice list and thanks for your post on Vyew a while back. I just wanted to let you know that we have redesigned the site and added a host of new features (desktop sharing being the most significant).

Feel free to let us know your thoughts. You can email me at fred [at] simulat [dot] com.

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