Agent of Change

Tuesday night’s NetSquared gathering was very enlightening for me. Jim Forrest spoke on behalf of Technology for All about Houston’s WiFi project, projects for distributing technology to low-income communities, and also provided some insights on the Katrina relief efforts. Jim was fun to listen to and very informative.

Technology seems to be a real stumbling block for people who don’t seem to have the means to keep up to date with this. Or is it a stumbling block? There are some mighty resourceful people and organizations that are making incredible strides in leveling the playing field. Technology for All is certainly high on that list.

I’m not about to start an anti-Microsoft bash (I don’t hate Microsoft, I just loooove Linux), but in case you think you are “locked” in to using Microsoft Office, think again. Just go take a look at NumSum. I love this site. Now I can create spreadsheets on the Internet instead of having to open MS Office, save the file, attach it to my email, email it, yada yada. I now no longer have to deal with yada yada.

It doesn’t stop there. Writely will let me create a Word file. Thumbstacks will let me create Power Point presentations. I use OpenOffice on my desktop, but I am betting that desktop apps are going the way of the Dodo.

What’s really cool about these sites is that they take accessibility and usability to a whole new level. These sites seem to encourage a more mobile mentality towards computing. Rather than be limited to just my home computer or office computer, I can go to any computer on the Internet. This is particularly beneficial for lower income households that might be more likely to spend money on an internet connection versus spending $300 for an MS Office license.

6 Comments so far

  1. a~lotus (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 11:13 pm

    oh wow.. i do love this post.. :) thanks for the links!

  2. David (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 1:33 am

    Hi, you may take a look at EditGrid ( for online spreadsheet. -David

  3. Solveig Haugland (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 10:05 am

    Excellent! I hadn’t heard of the presentation option (or was asleep at the time).

    AjaxWrite is another option, and I’m about to take a look at AjaxSketch for drawing.


  4. Luke Gilman (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 10:29 am

    With Google snapping up Writely I think the webification of the Office Suite will be driven by the boys in Mountain View.

  5. shawn (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 10:41 am

    Inevitably, some of these web startups will not last. It will take companies like Google and Yahoo to buy the smaller companies and market them in order to achieve the mass adoption necessary for survival. Which companies get the support of the big boys depends on how they are!!

  6. Glenn (unregistered) on April 14th, 2006 @ 6:16 pm

    Heard about that city WiFi stuff on Michael Garfield’s radio show. I don’t think govt should be running a wireless network but he convinced me otherwise.

    Cities own all the street lamps and posts plus lots of property. They are the only entity who could feasibly help setup a WiFi system to place all of the transponders.

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