Office Interactive – online collaboration, and CRM

Let’s go business for a while. Office Interactive offers some online applications to serve the needs of small/medium sized businesses.

They offer different packages (one of the Collaboration packages are free) and includes functionality like documents, contacts, calendars, tasks, links etc.

Check this flash out for a closer look on the features.

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Sharpcast – keep your photos online

Ok, I confess, not totally uninstalled but Sharpcast is still a pretty cool tool on the web. Most of us have hundreds of pictures stored on the local harddrive. What if it breaks. You have backups? Do you backup it up every day? Well, most of us don’t.

Sharpcast is a service that lets you have your pictures online. It makes sure to synchronize all your local pictures with the online store and whenever you make any changes, the changed photo will be uploaded automatically in the background.

You can create albums for you and your friends to look at and you can even send the pictures from your windows mobile to their site.

Anyway, if you’re into photos and have problems organizing them and want to have them backed up – check it out!

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Browser Appliance – you never have to re-install your PC

I’ve talked about having some kind of “browser appliance” to replace your desktop computer. So far – not that many hardware appliances seems to fit my needs. But here’s an interesting alternative. I run VMware (either Player or Server which are free or Workstation) and I have several virtual machines running, either Windows or some distribution of Linux.

To get you started on VMware and such appliances, here’s a quick guide to get you startedin just a few minutes.

The quickest way is to get the Browser Appliance which is the Ubuntu distribution running Firefox. Just download the appliance, open it up in VMware and start it. When it boots up you get a Firefox icon and off you go.

So now you got yourself a “surf station”. No need to re-install. If you make a mistake and crash the virtual machine, simply download the VMware image again and replace the one you have. Now wouldn’t it be good to have this functionality in a hardware appliance?

Another good thing is that you don’t have to worry that much about malware, spyware or viruses. First off – it’s Linux. And secondly, even though the virtual computer gets infected, it won’t spread to your host system!

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Install your desktop on the Internet

Have you ever re-installed your PC just because you had “too much stuff installed”. You simply wanted a clean desktop as it looked from day 1. Well, the whole thought of my site is to uninstall everything and keep everything online so why do I need to bother with my local desktop computer? All I actually want is an web browser and an Internet connection.

I was inspired by the following post by Max Limpag where he gives you an overview of the web desktops out there.

So maybe now I need is just some minimal thin client with a webbrowser and if I need a complete “desktop” with all my applications – no need to mix Google Apps, Windows Live Apps and so on. Check my web desktops for more articles on the subject.

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Zoho Polls – polls on the web!

Zoho Polls is an online tool to create polls online and let others vote. 100% free. There’s a demo login you can use.

Creating a poll is as easy as:

The result? Could look like this – either you choose a poll to vote or a poll to rate!

And the results after voting:

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Office Live – create and publish websites in your webbrowser

Have you ever got the question from a non-technical friend if you thought he/she would manage to create a website for themselves? And you knew “no way” since the person didn’t know much about HTML nor how to upload the site using FTP once it was done in some HTML editor?

Office Live could be an alternative for them. No need for HTML or hosting plans or uploading via FTP – easy! Best of it all – it’s free, even with the domain name. Of course, the free package is limited but…

Want to see more? Check the demos out – links are available here.

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mxGraph – draw online in your browser

mxGraph is the a solution for drawing diagrams in a browser. Using open standards, mxGraph does not depend on any third-party plugins and proprietary software. mxGraph works straight out of the box, no client configuration, no plugin installation, no platform dependencies.

Try this demo – no registration required.

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Create online forms

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I’ve done quite a few surveys during my time. At first it was manual labour – word documents with tick boxes and compiling the results manually. Then I did it with Outlook forms and then I went further and installed PHP/mySQL combination on one of our webservers.

But since I want to uninstall everything I started to look for some uninstalled alternatives where the forms are hosted somewhere else. Here are some alternatives. Anyone has any other tips? Please comment on this post.

  • One alternative is Wufoo.
  • Another alternative is Caspio Bridge, free for SOHO.
  • Freedback offers a free alternative aswell. It seems like it’s the same solution as Response-o-matic.
  • Yookie, but seems down at the moment.
  • Bravenet got a whole list of online tools for the web, one of them the ability to create a form and the result is sent via e-mail.

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Thumbstack – Live presentations on the web

Thumbstacks enables you to make and share your presentations on the web! I would say, much like Powerpoint – but of course – uninstalled. If you want to get right down to how it would look, check out this presentation about Thumbstacks itself.

The interface is extremely easy and you will be up and running in no-time. You can add text, objects, text objects, images (once you have logged in),

They’re also developing a plug-in architecture so there are plug-ins for Google Maps, Flickr and “Arrow” which lets you add an arrow and rotate it etc in real-time. So it looks promising.

So what doesn’t Thumbstacks do (yet, I would guess!)? Well, there’s no Slide transitions, Animations and Actions, Sounds and Video or Drawing Tools.

Well, to be honest – the presentations you product with Thumbstacks become quite boring but this service is great if you quickly want to share a presentations with someone or a group and at the same time have an online meeting over the phone. Much easier than e-mailing a Powerpoint slide and let everyone try to follow you. But this area of web 2.0-tools will definitely be interesting to follow.

Here’s a screencast how the Presentation Builder software works:

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Diigo – collect, makes notes on sites you find

Diigo is an online tool to collect and compile your research on the web. Let’s say you viist a webpage that you find interesting. Just as you would if you would print it on a paper, Diigo offers you to “write it on any webpage”, complete with highlights and sticky notes.

You can also collaborate as a group – great for research or web design.

There’s a demo you can try without registering and also a Flash demo.

There’s a toolbar to install for Firefox. Just go to the page and choose Diigo in the toolbar:

You can add sticky notes to the whole page and when you visit the page, you will see it has some sticky notes attached to it and when you move the mouse over it, it will show the notes:

If you highlight any text in on the webpage, it will be marked within Diigo and you can choose to add some sticky notes and it will be shown when you visit the page:

You can also choose to blog about what you just highligted or forward your findings via e-mail:

I think this tool can be very useful within some projects. And it’s (almost) uninstalled and for free!

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Protopage – startup page

Protopage offers you to create your own startpage. It’s very flexible and you can change the boxes sizes and move them around any way you want.

Except for the usual RSS feeds, you can add Podcasts, Video podcasts, Todo lists, sticky notes, comment boxes and much more. You can even watch the videos and listen to the podcasts directly in the interface – quite impressive.

Be sure to check it out! You can try it out without registering.

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G.ho.st Virtual Computer and I’m back

After being very offline for a few weeks in Spain (about 25 mins of Internet time in total) we’re back with some new tips.

When I was away I got an interesting tip regarding “online computers” from Clive Fernandes. The service is g.ho.st and offers a “virtual computer” which is not installed on your PC but simply run in your webbrowser. You have your start-menu, folders etc. You can do a simple “guest login” to quickly test it out. Have fun!

Check out the interview with Zvi Shcreiber, the author of g.ho.st.

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Gliffy with a new release soon

From their newsletter: Gliffy is getting close to 1.3.0 release of the Gliffy Plugin for Confluence. The Gliffy Plugin for Confluence merges the best Enterprise Wiki, Confluence, with the best online diagramming solution, Gliffy. Sound interesting? Here’s a 2 minute video which shows this product in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYLabE6cfBE

The 1.3.0 release has been a big effort as they’ve also streamlined much of our code. Here is a taste of what it will have:

* A new document manager that will allow easy management of Gliffy diagrams within Confluence
* Copy/Paste support of diagrams content into other diagrams
* Ability to lock shapes
* More professional looking network symbols
* Additional Entity-Relationship connectors
* and much, much more!

Find out more about the plugin here:
http://www.gliffy.com/confluencePlugin/

Here are some of their favorite diagrams & drawings they’ve seen out there:

A wire-frame for an academic tool
Nice task flow with time-line
Seating chart
Geometry solution

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Don’t reveal your real e-mail! Get a temporary e-mail

While living more online and uninstalled, you have to register at more and more websites. I suggest you get two e-mail addresses, one that you use for registering at sites, mailinglists, forums and so on. This will probably end up on in a spamdatabase in the end antway. Then get annother one for personal e-mails.

One suggestion could be to use the bugmenot.com, mytrashmail.com  or spambox online services. They offer you to get a temporary e-mail address – completely free and no registration required. Just enter the e-mail address of your choice and it will show you the e-mails send to that address. Perfect for temporary e-mails and you don’t really care about the privacy – you just want that e-mail without giving out your real one or register for a new e-mail account.

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Online tools for the Network Sys Admin

During the week I work as a Network/Systems Administrator. There are plenty of online tools that I use daily to make my life easier.  One of them is dnsstuff.com which lets you check everything you need about an IP-address or domainname. Iptools.com and domaintools.com are two other alternatives. For those of you who are into network administration and need to calculate those subnets and networks – check out a Subnet Calcluator.

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