So a little more digging and suffering with web storage, in particular Omnidrive just shows how dangerous it is to say anything. The minor teething issues I was having with getting Omnidrive to work turn out to be probable symptoms of something far worse: In the words of Dr McCoy; “It’s worse than that, Jim, it’s dead”. Well maybe not quite dead yet, but far from the glowing reviews that Omnidrive has received from Techcrunch, extremetech and many others, the truth for the average user seems far less rosy.
Matthew Ingram wonders if Omnidrive is heading for the deadpool, which my current experience appears to back up. Wandering around the various forums and chat rooms seems to indicate that all is not well in the Omnidrive world- there are many technical issues and these are not being solved mainly because of financial difficulties. And yet most of the complaints seem to be coming from people who have paid for storage. This raises a puzzle in the Web 2.0 world: How to make money from all the tech developments? I am worried when something like on-line storage can’t make it work: surely that has one of the simpler business models and if they can’t make it work, then what hope is there for something like Meebo that has no obvious revenue stream.
So for now at least, I have to have 1 foot in with the big guys- I’ll use Xdrive for on-line storage, becuase even though it may be flaky from time to time, it seems to be the best of the bunch.
So, now the list looks like
- IM: Pidgin/ Meebo
- Web Mail: GMX
- Online storage: Xdrive
And the rest stay the same
Six months ago I posted about the various pieces of (mainly web) software that I use. Well, in this world of rapid software development, six months is a long time. Not least of which is because I am slowly catching up with the rest of the world as to what is the latest ‘cool’ app. I am still using the same personal social network (Facebook), professional social network (LinkedIn), photography site (Flickr), bookmarking site (del.icio.us), travel site (Dopplr) and calendar (Google Calendar) but I have now made some decisions, expanded in other directions and discovered some new apps. So, here goes with the new things that I am using:
- Web mail: GMX. You may not have heard about GMX, but they have been dominant in Germany for years and have recently made their service available to the rest of the world. Now I know that there are lots of people who rave about Gmail and Yahoo has fought Hotmail/ LiveMail (or whatever brand Microsoft has given it this week) to be the biggest webmail on the block, but I have tried ’em all, and so far GMX is knocking them all out the park: IMAP, slick UI, fast response and no adds. Damn this is good. Oh and it can collect all your mail from all your other accounts. Just about the only thing it doesn’t do is a WAP interface, but smart phones are just downloading mail straight to your phone, so that is not as essential
- Instant Messaging: On a desktop I have been using Adium or Pidgin, but I really like the way Meebo works on the web. The thing about IM is that there is no need to have a desktop client, because how can you chat if you don’t have an internet connection? So it would seem a perfect case of a web app. As far as I can make out, the only down side is that you can’t encrypt the conversation (e.g. with OTR)
- Online storage: Originally there was Xdrive, then AOL bought it and it still offering the best deal (5GB for free, as opposed to Yahoo’s 30MB) but Microsoft’s Live Spaces is coming up hard on the rails. I am trying to stick with an alternative: Omnidrive. When it works it is just great: only 1GB storage, but that is OK for what I need. But I keep having issues getting it to work on my Windows machine- it works magnificently on OS X (seriously, the UI is so good it is yet another reason to switch)
- RSS reader: Last time I didn’t know whether to go with Yahoo or Netvibes. Well, Netvibes won, but I still miss some of Yahoo’s functionality. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all
There may be more, but with those three (GMX, Meebo and Omnidrive) I think that I am starting to see a trend: the big players (Microsoft, Yahoo and Google) all offer the same functionality and all in a one-stop-shop. So why I am using all sorts of odd little players and not just stick with 1 offering? Many, many reasons including truly picking the best of breed, supporting the little guy or just trying to be different. But probably the main one is just trying to stick one to ‘the man’: It is possible to survive in America without sucking up to the blandness of corporate ubiquity- Dave Gorman proved it by driving coast to coast (with a few, OK a lot, of detours on the way) and making a film and book about it; America Unchained is well worth the read. Mind you, Dave also attempted to live exactly according to his horoscope, so maybe holding him up as a role model is not entirely a good idea.
In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I can do be independent.
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