On Fanatics, from Firefox

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Firefox Marketing Community Website, Spreadfirefox carried this (via) article relating to loyalty to a company and fanaticism sometime back.

In my opinion it’s ridiculous to have “loyalty” to a company. I base my evaluation of products only on their own self-worth and merit as a product, and not on any pre-conceived opinions about the company that develops it or distributes it.

Its not always loyalty to a company or organization either. It could simply be that someone has a high opinion of a certain peice of software because they have always used it, and haven’t had any appearant problems with it.”

Zoho Writer on various internet appliances

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It always comes as a surprise when people try using your product in ways you didn’t expect them to. Though we had intended Zoho Writer to be used on desktops and laptops, that too on IE/Firefox/Mozilla browsers, we get interesting user feedback. Sample these :

This one’s from Warren T of Houston, Texas:

Let me give you some background. I recently purchased an MSNTV2 internet appliance for a friend who is going to have surgery soon, and will be out of action for some time. Read: Not able to sit upright at a computer. Anyway, I was thrilled to find your software and had planned to have her use it to edit our CBT scripts from her propped up position in bed. (We all work in multimedia CBT production).

When I signed up for the account, I did it from a desktop PC. Later, I signed on to Zoho from the MSNTV2 device and all was well. I started a new document and was typing along. Then, I hit a return (enter) key. That triggered a keyboard sequence signal that immediately shut down the MSNTV2 device and caused it to reboot. Tried it many times. Same thing.

Don’t get too upset. I’m absolutely certain the problem is with the MSNTV2 device, and not your software. I am merely providing this feedback in the event you encounter this issue from other MSNTV2 users. Too bad that it wouldn’t work. MSNTV2 offers something they call a word processor. Ha ha ha ha. Unfortunately, you can’t save the document you create. It’s weird. You have to sign on to an HTML page and enter your text between the and commands on the screen. Your only choice from there is to print it.

Your product is a natural for people that use internet appliances. I hope that Microsoft’s MSNTV people will fix the problems the unit has with certain protocols or someone will come up with a fix. I have some ideas of my own but no time to work on them.

One final piece of feedback. I Googled and found Writely. I setup an account with them and their device fails on the MSNTV2 before you ever get to the part where you create a document.

Moving away from MSNTV… (phew!) In terms of a software being a good idea, I think you-all are really on to something useful and that has loads of potential. I have already shared with my regular desktop users at work the ways which we could use it.

And Andrew Turner of High Earth Orbit tried Zoho Writer on his Nokia 770 Tablet

I was checking out a certain internet tablet and was wondering about the ability to write, share, and collaborate on documents using such a device. I imagine being in a conference, or meeting, and having a small tablet in which I have my own notes and share with others.

Zoho Writer at first seems to work well within the embedded Opera browser, but doesn’t actually let you view or edit any of your documents. The interface is there, but no one is home. I assume Opera isn’t handling some of the Javascript calls for displaying available docs or the editing toolbar. Also, Zoho even on a desktop has the annoyance of not automatically saving. Therefore, you can be halfway through a new document, click a document from your library on the right, and the doc you were working on is gone. Yay, loss data – I’m always a fan of that.Update: the developer of Zoho is aware of the issues regarding Opera/Safari & the possible loss of data when changing documents (there is apparently a 45 second auto-save of documents) and they are working on updates.

So, the result? Online, collaborative, sharing document editors are quickly rising, and there are no extreme barriers to entry on the bandwidth or technology front. Now comes the hard part, developing good, consistent User Interfaces, stability, and hopefully a little love from the community.

Not to mention, folks who want a mobile version of Zoho Writer (so that they can post to their blogs!). Sorry to disappoint you all. I believe Zoho Writer will support as many internet applicances as possible in the near future. And thanks to Warren T, Andrew Turner & the countless others who are out there trying out in Zoho Writer in every possible internet applicance having a browser screen!

Instant Messaging: Simplified.

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A few days back, I remember writing this. Then, Meebo announces a Single Sign-on, amongst other things. (via) The problem of Gtalk not having an Invisible mode seemed to bother a few people, but Meebo settles that issue. Also users having several accounts with the same IM service provider – say 3 Yahoo accounts each having a different list of contacts, a Meebo user can sign in to all of them simultaneously (and invisibly, if necessary). The tool tips indicating user status is pretty cool – instead of having an indecipherable icon (say, for “Timed Out”) and a truncated Status message. People love to customize that field, and it’s often a sorry sight to see a long status message (and people’s creativity) getting truncated due to space constraints.
The best thing that could be said about Meebo’s new set of feature release is that Sign up is a simple three step process – no activation or other irritating procedures. Much like our own Zoho’s Sign Up, which requires only three fields to be filled and no e-mail based activation. Like they say at Meebo blog, not having e-mail verification or complicating the Registration procedure is way of building friendship with the users. If there are two services with similar features, of which one has a lengthy sign up process and one doesn’t, people would rather save time and key strokes by signing up for the latter.

From the response they’ve been getting, it looks like Meebo might be the next thing that Corporate Firewalls will target. :) Add Conference Calling/ Group Chat facilities inside Meebo, and it could be one of the most chased after web based service in recent times.

PC World reviews Zoho Writer

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Harry McCracken of PC World has a good review on Zoho Writer at the PC World’s Techlog. As with any review on online word processors, he compares Zoho Writer with Writely, saying,

Writely feels a bit more mature, but ZohoWriter has a lot to recommend it, including an elegant approach to letting you work in multiple documents at once and a Firefox-like search feature that puts the search field at the bottom of the window where it’s out of the way”.

And ends the review with,

It’s an impressive piece of work–and most definitely a preview of where the world’s going.”

Thanks a lot, Harry! Lots of insight in the article including those on Microsoft’s moves as regards Web 2.0.

Best ‘Personal Productivity and Organization’ Product

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Dion Hinchcliffe, (who’d earlier reviewed Zoho Planner) in his list of ‘The Most Promising Web 2.0 Software of 2006‘ has given the Best ‘Personal Productivity and Organization’ Product award to Zoho Planner. We feel honored!

From his blog :

Zoho Planner is a very capable Ajax-powered online planner that can handle to do lists, appointments, notes, and more using a very elegant, clean interface. It’s now my favorite online organizer and I use it every day. Zoho Planner supports tagging, collaboration, e-mail notification, and much more. There are lots of Web 2.0 online planning products and while some are more detailed or more feature rich, none so far have quite the right feel like this one does.

Thanks a lot, Dion :-)

And, a review of Zoho Planner in lifehack.org says

I just found out there is a pretty awesome online todo planner system called Zoho Planner. This is similar to Backpack from 37Signals which you can separate different type of information and todo into different pages, you can then share it to other users. What it is superior is the ability to export it to iCal and also the unlimited space to attach files to your planner

Thanks, Leon Ho!

Tabbed Browsing, tags as folders & more

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Zoho Writer just had another update today. Explaining few of the features here.

Tabbed Browsing: The screenshot below says it all! Open multiple documents within Zoho Writer, the Firefox way. Believe that will give you folks much more easiness to play with your documents in Zoho Writer!

Tags as folders: Tags have replaced folders in this Web 2.0 world (read GMail, del.icio.us, Flickr). But there are still folks who are die-hard fans of folders. Zoho Writer now combines the power of these two. Tag similar documents with a same tag & have such tags as folders in the left pane! Easy and at the same time, powerful right? Thanks to Phil Sim who suggested this.

Coming to other useful enhancements : The skin that you choose will now be remembered (from wherever you login, it will remain as your choice), all http://, https:// inside your doc will automatically be made a link (seems we are yet to do this for www), you can add comments on public docs (Zoho Planner already has it too!) & last but not the least, you can have some Global Settings in the form of ‘Options’ – save your skin, change your account password, open docs in tab format or not & whether to allow comments to your public pages.