Do you try out just about every program with “freeware” slapped on it? Does your computer have seven programs that all do the same thing? Are you on a first name basis with many developers?
If any of these are true, you may be addicted to freeware. As a fellow sufferer (Hello, my name is Jimmy…), I have a suggestion for you. No, it’s not therapy. It’s a social network for software users. If your computer is going to be full of free software, why not share your experiences?
Wakoopa is a website connected to a small piece of tracking software. After you download Wakoopa Tracker (which sits conveniently in your taskbar), it simply reports the programs you’ve used every fifteen minutes. This data then goes back into the website and creates your profile. Instead of writing out a profile of your interests, or tracking which sites you visit most, Wakoopa essentially describes you by your usage habits.
The most prominent metric in your profile is an animation of all the software you’ve used in icon form. Note that if you use a lot of indie software, the icons may not be in the database and will show up as a generic icon. Below that are your top 10s. The top for the last week, last month, and the most new are fun lists to contrast with one another. You can see how your usage habits have changed over time.
Below that is a pie chart that displays how much of your time you spend with each program:
As you can see from my chart (note: I haven’t used it for a full month yet), I spend the most time using Flock. Beyond that I use Digsby the most, then Thunderbird. While those are fairly obvious metrics, it’s nice to see them laid out quantitatively. I wish they had more chart options, like “max time,” but hopefully the developers will see fit to add those at some point.
From this point you really start to move into the minutia of your usage. There are several tabs on the profile, including a breakdown of active and background programs. You can also pimp your fantastic user stats with badges, signature, and even a Facebook application (which was glitchy when I tried to use it).
Here an example of a badge you can create [see below]. This one in particular is of my most used applications (over all the time recorded by Wakoopa). The badges are fairly primitive and I can’t understand why they don’t offer the animation at the top of the profile as a badge. It’s definitely the most attractive thing on the site.
Once you’ve let the tracker build up some usage stats for you, or while you’re waiting for it to do so, you can explore the rest of the site.
Most Used Software
The software section is a giant database of all the software used by every user under the tracker’s observation. Users can write reviews for their software and the top apps have lots of tracking info to show their rise or fall in popularity. Maybe eventually this will become “the Alexa of software stats.” Most software metrics are based on surveys and downloads, but this tracks actual usage, a much more impressive figure.
Similarly you can explore most popular apps for a given task by category or using tags. That is to say if you go to MP3 section, you will see most popular programs that has to do with MP3s (i.e. media players, music organizers etc.)
Overall, Wakoopa is growing on me. At first I didn’t really get it and figured it would be a waste of time, but it’s nice to be able to visualize all the time one spends on a computer. Also, you can look through and figure out which programs you hardly use anymore. Right now, though, Wakoopa needs to be fleshed out a lot by its developer team. There aren’t very many options, it is a little cluttered (I’m not a huge fan of tag clouds), and the community isn’t really where it needs to be yet. Even so, I’d say Wakoopa is definitely worth a few weeks of running it in the background. The worst you’ll get out of it is a pretty pie chart.
If you’ve used this before or start using it, post a link to your profile in the comments. Let us know if any of your top ten surprised you!
More articles about: