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Miscellaneous

FaceTime to the Desktop and Beyond?

IChat
iChat has been ignored for quite a while now. FaceTime could give it a new lease of life. Image via Wikipedia

This is interesting news. It seems the next logical step is to bring the technology to the desktop and laptop space by incorporating it into iChat on Mac and maybe as a separate app on Windows. With the advances in browser-based communication and HTML 5, it may even be possible to bring all of this straight there with no plug-ins or software.

Surely we’ll see an iPad with a front facing camera soon. If FaceTime is adopted as a standard for video calling, we will likely see devices such as phones from many manufacturers and even games consoles like the 3DS and a new PSP that all take advantage of it.

It’s probably not going to be too long before we see video chat of some description take off in the TV space with products like internet enabled TVs with Skype, and products like Google TV as well as games consoles that have potential to offer this functionality.

Whether or not FaceTime will become the standard for all internet-based video calling is another question entirely though, as power players like Skype would have to get on board with it, as well as relative newcomers like Google who offer it in the browser with Gmail.

Categories
Miscellaneous

MarsEdit 3 vs Windows Live Writer

I’m not the biggest Microsoft fan generally speaking. I don’t like Internet Explorer at all and I’m not a fan of how they brand their products in a nonsensical way. For example bing doesn’t really have anything to do with any other product. Windows Live Search made more sense to me.

However, I can say that I very much like Windows 7 and another lesser known product called Windows Live Writer. This application is a free downloadable publishing tool for a variety of blogging platforms from wordpress to blogger and more. It comes as one part of Microsoft’s Windows Live Essentials package of apps. Of course I’d love for it to be on Mac too but you can’t have everything.

On Mac I’ve used Marsedit for quite a long time. It works well but until version 3 it was purely an HTML editor and compared to the features live writer offers, it’ feels a bit bare especially for a paid app. Version 3 now has a rich text editor but it still feels very basic and you can hardly tell the difference between the versions until you actually insert an image and see the image itself instead of the html code. There is no format bar like you would expect in a publishing app like Word or Live Writer, so you can’t change the font or do any other simple formatting without digging through a drop down menu which doesn’t feel right.

I think when you consider that because of ventures like Google Chrome OS, the future is going to be more browser based than ever, I find myself wondering if I really need a local app for blog publishing. Of course, I enjoy using live writer at the moment. I’m writing this post on it, but I feel that in the end there’s going to be only a stable of a few core standalone apps that you’ll use apart from the browser, on the desktop at least.

On the mobile front, things appear to be going in the opposite direction towards more apps than web content, but I think there will always be room for some apps on the desktop. Whether they will primarily consist of games, movie, photo or audio editing software or more isn’t clear right now, but apps in the traditional sense aren’t going to go away completely any time soon.

Going back to the point of this article in comparing the best windows blog publishing app to the best on the mac, it’s clear that live writer is a more complete experience that feels well made. Marsedit does too but I think for a paid app, it’s just not quite there and I would probably prefer to just use the wordpress dashboard editor itself to create my posts when I’m away from my PC. I think it has a lot to do with being a one man developer. Covering costs is an important aspect, and of course everyone needs to make a living. The issue is that when you’re competing against one of the biggest companies around who are making a free product, it’s hard to match up.

If you’re on a Mac and want a well made stand alone app, then I do recommend marsedit. If you’re not bothered, then the wordpress browser editor should be fine for you. If you’re on windows, the same can be said. If you’re happy with the browser, then that will be adequate, but considering live writer is free anyway, it won’t hurt to give it a try regardless of if you prefer standalone apps or not.