The desktop application environment took a big step forward with the recent release of Adobe's Air application. Adobe Air enables desktop applications to deliver web content for everything from live stock tickers to eBay.
For the sake of this post, however, I'm just going to post about AIR apps and social networking. There are a few handy apps out there available for those who have taken the plunge into the world of Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, etc.
Here's a short list of apps that I have used, what I find useful and what I find lacking.
Alert thingy is an application that connects users to Friendfeed, but it can also be used for Twitter, Flickr, etc.
Pros: Allows me to Tweet, post to Flickr, shorten a URL with tinyurl, and provides an easy interface for Friendfeed.Drag and drop images easily.
Cons: Interface seems lacking. It does what it's supposed to do, but something about the app seems, plain.
The Pownce application is a simple to use extension of their network.
Pros: Simplicity. Ability to view pics, download files, follow links, easily reply to posts, quick refresh rate.
Cons: No pagination, maybe a better way to view pics, small preview pane instead of loading a web page, lack of customization, does not minimize to tray, sometimes multiclick to get features to work.
Tumblweed is an AIR app based on the popular self hosted blogging site, Tumblr. You have all seen and enjoyed my Mobile friendly site here.
Pros: Easily enables you to post to Tumblr, pics, video, chat, text, even a snapshot from a webcam.
Cons: None that I can see. It does exactly what it sets out to do and does it very well. A must have app for Tumblr users.
Twhirl is a widely popular application that runs Twitter seamlessly and now can run your Friendfeed, just like Alert Thingy.
Pros: Loads Twitter real time, allows for updates, has color coding for replies and direct messages. Color themes, simple interface. Friendfeed works well.
Cons: Some glitches in Friendfeed, which is a relatively new feature. Twhirl can get overwhelmed easily and refuses to refresh or pull in tweets, have to play a game with the refresh rate to get it to work right.
Pros: Ability to post cross or multi platform (Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, Tumblr). Very easy to use.
Cons: Unable to see friend updates, lack of personality and virtually no customization.
Pandora is my favorite social music website. Now they have an AIR app!
Pros and Cons: It's just a browser looking window that runs the Pandora service.
All of these services are handy, and are always continually updating. I'd highly recommend everyone to download the Air app and give some of these a try. Be warned, all of these do love to eat resources, so if you are running an older computer, don't plan on running several AIR apps and browse the web while downloading from iTunes..it can get borderline disastrous.