Posts Tagged ‘WebKit’
Like an irritating, hyperactive teenager, Rockmelt will not be ignored. Alerts from Facebook, Twitter and a host of rss feeds allow this browser to barge into your consciousness at will. Is this progress or a recipe for a nervous breakdown?
It’s taken a while for the browser landscape to settle down. Internet Explorer, cumbersome, slow and built by Microsoft, Firefox, cumbersome, bloated and free. Google Chrome, fast, sleek and user friendly. Safari, fast, does what it says on the tin.
Let’s take a step back. Before internet time began, the only way of communicating was by letter or by phone. Letters were great, you could choose when to read them and they only came once a day in any case. The telephone on the other hand was constant nuisance, interrupting at will, and racheting the stress levels up as it did so. E-Mail, when it arrived was a blessing. Not intrusive, all of the virtues of the letter, none of the evils of the telephone. Instant Messaging was kind of ok – you can always turn it off and its less intrusive than the telephone.
The next wave brought Facebook, Twitter and Texting, the world was never the same again. I buy Facebook and Twitter in a work context. They are enablers. RockMelt is very slick, it should be, it’s built on Chromium, WebKit, the technology behind Google Chrome. It has some very interesting characteristics – it integrates Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds into the browser – it’s a one stop shop, click to share on Facebook or forward a link to Twitter. If you install it on two computers, it retrieves your profile from the Cloud and initialises the second browser in the same way as the first – very clever. I love this browser when I’m not working. And there’s the rub.
RockMelt is the anti-pomodoro. If I’m working, and before anyone asks the obvious question, my job does involve a fair amount of researching technology on the internet, the last thing I want is interruption. RockMelt is brilliant at letting me know what my friends are up to, but wasn’t the point of asynchronous communication that it was asynchronous? When I’m concentrating, I switch my phone off, I kill my E-Mail clients and focus. Call me old fashioned, but that’s how I like it.
My experiments with Twitter, documented in previous postings here have stubbornly refused to yield any conclusive proof that the tool is useful for anything other than spreading gnomic utterances about life, my blogs, the universe and er…. computers. I struggle to write interesting one liners -and deprived of the context that Facebook provides it’s status line, the one liners really don’t do it for me. I’m full of beans but do I really need to tell the world?
The problem, I think, is that when I consider it, I don’t have a lot of practice in meaningful many to many communications – in fact the relentless march of technology has herded us all away from the family dinner table, into either 1:1 communications (txt, telephone) or 1:Many (n) communications (radio, TV). We’re just not that good at n: n. I challenge you to remember the last conference call where you didn’t have to IM a colleague to enquire “Who is this talking?”.. Actually, the dinner table doesn’t generally yield fantastic results – except possibly in volume, but at least I usually know who’s talking. Probably me.
Which brings me to Pownce ! Just what I need, I thought, another microblogging / social software solution – only Pownce actually has some rather interesting features. Starting on the basis that it is a microblog, it has the concept of friends (not followers, thank god! I was never comfortable with that conceit). Messages can be broadcast or private – ie the app can be used to IM with a friend. OK Twitter can as well if you use the direct message facility, but Pownce is a lot more intuitive.
The killer functionality though is file attachments – you can send in the free client, 50mb attachments as part of a chat session. A file – music, picture, or a link or an event. Signing up to the Pro version raises the bar to 250mb. To me this makes the application immediately useful, in a way that Twitter just isn’t.
Additionally, Pownce has a downloadable client, running on the Adobe Air platform which utilises both the WebKit (in common with Chrome) and Flash engines, has published API’s and a rapidly expanding list of supported / integrated tooling. Including inevitably iPhone support, Facebook synchronisation and a host of other interesting looking widgets.
I’m in. Once the user base has grown and the tooling supports automated Powncing in the same way that Twitter does, I see Pownce as a real contender – in fact, in these times of market turmoil I’d be tempted to put money on it!