We first talked about Spoon here, but in short, Spoon is a revolutionary virtualization tool that lets you run applications that you would normally need to download to your desktop by just using your web browser and a plugin. Once you’ve created an account and downloaded the plugin, you can select from a variety of applications in its directory, which features a number of the more popular software.
While this browser-based virtualization tool isn’t available for Mac or Linux (I tried Spoon in Ubuntu with no luck), it’s a great tool to have if you’re into trying new applications but don’t want to clutter your registry with unnecessary additions from programs you may not keep later.
Let’s see what applications you can try right now even in your Windows machine after getting the plugin, which is a 2.5 MB download.
Here are the more popular applications you can find in the Spoon App Directory that we’ve mentioned in our MakeUseOf Windows Pack or have made it to other must-have lists.
OpenOffice and OxygenOffice Professional are both available on Spoon. OpenOffice is the office suite included in Ubuntu by default (as well as in our list of 15 must-haves) and probably the most popular open-source office suite out there. OxygenOffice Professional is an enhanced OpenOffice clone, with additional templates, fonts, clip art graphics and images. Here is how the latter looks virtualized.
While the previous apps launched within 10 seconds or so, OxygenOffice took a few minutes to buffer.
There were also a few hiccups when I was testing OxygenOffice that I didn’t get while testing other Spoon apps, but considering I’m only emulating software components to stream this huge office suite, the hiccups (OpenOffice Writer froze a few times) weren’t too bad.
It might be redundant to feature browsers when you’re running it from a browser, but there are times when you just really need to use a more established browser other than your favorite one. Say, if you’re a web or graphic designer that wants to test your projects in another browser, or maybe your online banking site or university’s online database system (a big problem for me as my school’s degree audit website doesn’t display information properly in Chrome) doesn’t support your current browser, you’ll have the options to run either Firefox 4 Beta, 3.5, 3 and 2, as well as Safari 5 and Opera 10. That might save you from having to use portable apps in your hard drive too.
Useful Productivity Programs
Launching Foxit Reader was ultra fast, and there was even a popup asking me whether to set the reader as the system’s default PDF viewer. I don’t think that’d be quite possible but it just goes to show how close to the real application you are even though you’re just using your browser to stream the application.
This is a great, open-source word processor that you can use in lieu of the whole OpenOffice suite, with most features you’d expect to find in the OpenOffice Writer. It’s more feature-rich than, say, online distraction-free writing environments and you can still run it from your browser only!
An excellent text editor for programmers, Notepad++ offers a lot of features for heavy users. It’s so many steps up from Windows’ built-in Notepad that if you’re constantly taking notes using the latter, you should really consider trying Notepad++. It’s got multiple tabs, keyboard shortcuts for almost everything and more.
In my machine, it even picked up folders from my previous Notepad++ installation. Even virtualized, this app acts like the real deal.
You might have heard a bunch of positive things about RocketDock and now you can try it without worries! It’s been raved about in this article on how to make WinXP look like WinVista. This one’s really just about eye candy but could also help save time, as well as navigate around folders and bookmarks in an easier way.
You can probably deduce that the screenshots will not contain anything new, as you’ve probably seen screenshots of the real programs elsewhere. Additional programs you can find that aren’t really geared for productivity include:
- Pidgin/Trillian: Two popular multi-protocol IM clients, which you can even use to tweet.
- Skype: A highly convenient VoIP and video-call service.
- Tweetdeck: A handy Twitter client that even works in Linux.
- Audacity: A great audio editor that was featured in our portable apps list.
- AnyVideoConverter: An excellent video conversion program that you should check out.
- Irfanview: One of the very best and most lightweight image viewers, converters and optimizers out there.
- Blender: An open-source animation suite and video editor that’s responsible for many open movies.
- GIMP: Another open-source application that seriously shines as an image editor with so many features you can do without Photoshop if you really teach yourself.
- Paint.NET: More advanced than Windows Paint, and almost as good as the paid image manipulation apps.
- VLC player: This multi-faceted media player (that you can even use to watch non-MP4 files on your iPhone) probably needs no introduction.
As you can see, there are many popular programs that you’ve probably always heard about supported by Spoon. If you want to try any of them, Spoon would make things much easier. You get the same features as you would with installed desktop programs but they won’t even reside on your hard drive.
What do you think of Spoon and what applications have you virtualized?