[AI] Online meeting applications galore netspeak

vishnu ramchandani vishnuhappy at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 21 02:55:37 EDT 2008


Online meeting applications galore netspeak 

The Hindu / Business

One can make the meeting public or password-protected
invite-only 

Online meeting tools offer facilities for co-browsing,
text/audio chatting and the like.

This edition of NetSpeak profiles a few on-line
meeting tools, meant for the conduct of collaborative
meetings with your browser.

In the past, NetSpeak featured several collaboration
tools like Vyew ( 
http://www.hindu.com/biz/2006/02/20/stories/200602200
 0621600. htm), Webhuddle ( 
http://www.hindu.com/200
 7/12/03/stories/2007120355 431500.htm) and the like. 

These services offer facilities such as virtual
whiteboard (for the participants to draw/write
together), text/audio/video and chat. 

Of late, the collaborative meeting applications’ space
is agog with action. 

The emergence of several simple but feature-rich free
services attest to this observation. A few of the
latest entrants are discussed here.

Twiddla 

If you wish to start an online meeting with a couple
of mouse clicks, try out the free web-based on-line
meeting service Twiddla ( 
http://www.twiddla.com/ 
). To initiate a meeting, go through the one-time
registration process and click on the ‘Start meeting’
button. 

You can make the meeting public or password-protected
invite-only. When you initiate a meeting, you get a
meeting URL for sharing with potential attendees.
The service offers facilities for co-browsing,
text/audio chatting and the like. 

While browsing with others you can insert comments,
and place coloured marks on the page being viewed. In
addition, it provides a whiteboard that enables
the participants to collaboratively write, and draw
pictures.

Dimdim 

Another collaboration tool worth a test is the free
web-based conferencing service ‘dimdim’
(http://dimdim.com/). Recently, ‘dimdim’ has made its
service
public. 

Here also, you can start the meeting and invite others
via e-mail, directly from the browser. Apart from
offering collaboration tools such as whiteboard,
chat (text/audio/video) common to e-meeting services,
‘dimdim’ has some additional unique features.

An advantage of ‘dimdim’ is the desktop sharing
facility by the presenter to share her desktop with
the attendees. 

Once the presenter shares her desktop (using the
‘Screen’ option), the desktop screen will immediately
be visible to all the participants. This could be
useful in product demonstration and co-browsing. 

If the presenter’s computer has a TV tuner card, she
can even share the TV show running on her machine with
the attendees.

A shortcoming of the desktop sharing feature is the
lack of facility for attendees to interact with the
presenter’s shared desktop. Also, there is no scope
for the attendees to share their desktops. Perhaps,
forthcoming versions of ‘dimdim’ may incorporate these
features.

Another feature of ‘dimdim’ worth a mention is the
facility to make live presentations with PowerPoint
and PDF files.

Besides offering the hosted service for free, ‘dimdim’
has made its software open-source/freely downloadable,
for enabling enthusiasts to host their own
‘dimdim’ based e-meeting service. However, when this
author tried to use the Windows version, it did not
function — this version seems to work only if
you have Openoffice 2.3 (neither lower nor higher
version is acceptable). 

It seems ‘dimdim’ developers are aware of it and may
rectify this anomaly soon.

Palbee 

Another service in this genre is the free web-based
audio/video conferencing application ‘Palbee’
(http://palbee.com/). 

It allows you to conduct unlimited videoconference
(with five people) sessions. 

To enliven the video session, the service lets you run
slideshows along with a whiteboard. 

A great advantage of this service is the facility to
record the sessions for sharing them with others
later.

Text manipulation tools 

It is likely that you come across a situation, where
you need to get a few text lines sorted in
alphabetical order. No need to hunt for a programme to
do
this. Access the service Alphabetizer
(http://alphabetizer.flap.tv/index.php), paste the
text, click on the ‘Alphabetize’ button and obtain the
sorted
text.

If you are looking for a more versatile text
manipulation tool, try out Textopus
(http://textop.us/). 

Apart from getting lines alphabetized, Textopus offers
a variety of text manipulation tools. 

For instance, if you wish to ‘clean’ a text written
without proper spacing, and capitalisation, the ‘Clean
Text’ option of Textopus could do the job.

Apart from the said features, Textopus toolbox
contains tools for reversing lines, shuffling letters,
adding line numbers, and deleting duplicate lines.


This service can also be used to convert text into
numbers in formats such as hexadecimal, binary and
ASCII.

Gtranslate 

Owing to the availability of a variety of language
learning and translation services such as Google
Translate (http://translate.google.com/translate_t),
language related communication barriers are gradually
disappearing. 

Now, if you want to translate a sentence directly from
a web page using Google Translate, install the Firefox
extens ion Gtranslate
(https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/918).
Once the extension is installed, any text selected
from your web page can be translated into any other
language by just right-clicking and selecting the
‘Translate’ option. Of course, the translation can
only be done into the languages supported by Google’s
translation service.

Currency converter 

Converting currency of a country to that of another is
an important need in today’s globalised context. 

In this regard, take a look at the ‘Currency
conversion tools’ site ( 
http://www.currencyconverter.co.uk/index.html
) that hosts currency related updates.

J. MURALI 

He can be contacted at: jmurali at gmail.com 


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