Saturday, February 16, 2008

If serna loves the internet so much, why doesn’t he marry it?

Actually, I’m already married. If I were to marry the internet, it would be polygamy, and I’d have to move to Utah. But I don’t want to live in the States. And, frankly, by the time Andrea gets tired of me, and boots me out of the house, the internet will probably have found some other lucky guy to marry.

I recently wrote two sappy “I love Google” posts (here and here). Well, I was doing some random surfing today, and I came across a whole bunch of cool things to write about. So here I go again. But I promise: These aren’t Google technologies. Well… actually, yeah, some of them are.

I’ve previously mentioned an instant messaging client called Pidgin. It’s a single client that can connect you to many different IM services; MSN Messenger (now called Windows Live Messenger), AIM, IRC, etc. (I wanted to write about the name changes to the Pidgin software, but I talked myself out of it, because of irrelevancy. You can read about it on Wikipedia, if you care.) I came across Pidgin because it came installed with Ubuntu, and I’ve found it very useful, even on Windows.

Well, a website called has been introduced, which builds on the Pidgin libraries, and provides instant messaging from the web. (I don’t actually know how recent it is; I’m always behind the curve on new internet fads and tools. According to the “about” page, they launched in 2005—although that doesn’t mean they had any users.) Can’t install an instant messaging client on your computer? (Or you’re on someone else’s computer, and need to have a quick IM session, but don’t want to—or don’t have time to—install Pidgin on their computer?) Log onto, and away you go. I haven’t actually used it, yet, but I’m sure I will, just to try it out.

I encountered when I was reading about gOS. The gOS operating system—which is based on Ubuntu—doesn’t include many applications on the hard disk; instead, it uses Web 2.0 and AJAX for its applications. Where Ubuntu includes as an office suite, gOS uses Google Docs; where Ubuntu comes with Pidgin, gOS uses; where Ubuntu comes with Evolution, gOS uses Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google News. This means that gOS takes up a lot less hard disk space than Ubuntu, since there’s not only less software installed, there’s also less need of storing documents—they’re all stored on the web.

That being said, there is also promise that applications will be able to use Google Gears technology, to make web applications available offline, so if you installed gOS on a laptop, you’d still be able to do some things without an internet connection. I don’t think this is 100% ready yet; you probably can’t yet edit a spreadsheet on Google Docs without an internet connection. But it’s coming; Google Reader uses Gears, and they’re working on it for Google Docs.