Ever since Jolicloud announced their new desktop back in October I’ve been contemplating doing a new extensive review. However, I was leery about doing a review on something that was still in development & changing daily. Plus, I wanted to wait until they released an updated version of Joli OS to go with the new desktop. But it’s been almost 4 months since the new desktop release & it looks like development has stalled somewhat. Plus, there still hasn’t be any indication if Joli OS will ever get updated. So I’m wondering if it would be a good time to go ahead & do the review? One major problem I have with doing it now is that seems Jolicloud has made a major change to their service in the past week with no announcement or indication if it’s permanent or temporary. There have also been hints from Jolicloud on Facebook that another new unannounced product is coming. Could this be the new Joli OS? I don’t think it is if the posts on Facebook are indicator. It might be a companion app similar to Jolicloud Me or it could be a refresh of the iOS & Android apps. Either way I’m at a crossroads & don’t know how to proceed. I think Jolicloud needs some good press on a great product, but at the same time there are things that are not real flattering that could be fixed in future updates. So I don’t want be premature with a review that could potentially make it look bad. But then again a lot of the outstanding issues I have with the new desktop have been forwarded to the team in the hundreds of suggestions, feedback & bug reports I’ve sent them over the past 4 months. So If after 4 months the issues haven’t been fixed are they not fair game for criticism? Maybe so. I think I’m going let this post stew for a couple of days & see if it gets any attention from the public or Jolicloud themselves. If I don’t get a response I think I will go ahead with a full review next week. Just hope I don’t regret doing it.
I’ve been using Jolicloud over the past 6 months and I have totally enjoyed my time. But like my quest to find the ultimate Jolicloud computer, I decided to make a wishlist of improvements to make Jolicloud an even better OS & environment. Most of these have been discussed on the Jolicloud GetSatisfaction site the past couple of months, but I’ve decided to collect them all here in one place.
These items are in no particular order.
- Folders – It would be great to have the ability to create folders on the desktop to organize all your apps. One method that could be used is by dragging & dropping multiple icons on one icon like can be done in Apple’s iOS.
- Text wrap for long icon names – Right now there’s about 14 characters that are allowed in the app’s name. After that it adds an ellipsis (…). Why not support wrapping the text to a second line? You can even support a pop-up tool-tip on hover.
- Transparent icons? – This is something I see a lot of complaints about. People don’t understand that there are apps & icons that are only available when running Joli OS. It would be nice if something more noticeable could be laid over the local app icons to show that they can’t be used when using the Jolicloud Chrome app or visiting My.Jolicloud.com.
- Better page navigation – Clicking on page numbers is OK, but it would be nicer to have arrows on the side of the desktop pages or the ability to click and drag pages. This would help out greatly for touch devices.
- Support more search engines – Right now you can search Jolicloud apps and friends or search Google. It would be great if you could customize your search bar to include search results from Bing, Dropbox, Wikipedia, Hulu, YouTube, Gmail, etc.
- Lighter color scheme – The dark color is great, but there are those out there that would rather have a lighter color scheme or something they can customize to fit their personality.
- Customize desktop grid – Saw this suggestion on Twitter(Thanks @BC3Tech). Would be nice to be able to choose how many rows & columns of icons you can have on your desktop. Two rows of 7 icons is fine for netbook displays, but desktops have lots more room.
- Creating custom web apps is to complicated – Custom web apps are basically bookmarks, but they are too complicated to make. Make it easier to create them from your browser by using some kind of plug-in or extension. While you’re at it, support the Favicon by default. This way you don’t have to go find your own, but can still use your own if you wish.
- Better custom web app maintenance – Once you’ve created your web app it would be nice to be able remove your custom web apps or edit it’s URL.
- Expand the “About You” profile – Add fields to your profile for social networks like Facebook, Twitter or linkedIn. Also support hyper-linking so you can link your own web page or other favorite sites.
- More Badges!! – I love the Badges you can earn on your profile, but it would great to expand those. Have fun with it. Try making it a social game.
- Picture Login – It would be nice to display your profile picture on the login screen similar to Chrome OS.
- More File Browser features – It would be great to be able to stop using Nautilus altogether. Please add support for adding new folders & moving/copying files via right-click or drag/drop. It would also be great to be able to upload directly to the cloud storage sites like Dropbox or Google Docs in one click. You can do something similar with the Cloud Save extension found in the Chrome Store.
- HTML5 Media Player – It would be nice to have a standard media player to play your music, video or photos(slide show) online or off like Chrome OS. To see what can be done with HTML5 & MP3 files click here.
- More “Connections” – Right now they have 3 Connections: Facebook, Dropbox & Google Docs. It would be nice to open up support for these Connections to other sites. Other companies & web developers could add support for their own services to the File Browser. That way Jolicloud won’t have to update it their-self. Just imagine being able to integrate whatever Cloud storage service to the File Browser like Amazon, Pogoplug, etc.
Those are my top suggestions for now. To see more or to let Jolicloud know about your own head over to the Jolicloud GetSatisfaction site. It’s a great resource for every Jolicloud user!
Thought I would post a quick update on something I’m currently working on. With a supposed Joli OS 1.3 update coming & the retail launch of Google’s Chromebooks coming up on June 15, I figure it would be nice to work on a wishlist of improvements & new features for what I want to see in future Jolicloud & Joli OS updates. I’m planning to have the article up sometime this week. In the mean time, if you have any ideas to make Jolicloud better, then post them in the comments section. I will try to highlight the best ones in my article. The future for Jolicloud looks bright!
For the past four months I’ve been using a eMachine eM250 10″ netbook running Joli OS as my primary computer. During that time I came to love my Jolicloud experience, but there was always this feeling that I wanted something just a little bigger and faster. Isn’t that always the problem with computers: you always want something better? Joli OS may work great on old & new hardware, but I knew that if I was going to continue using the OS for the long-term I would need to replace my netbook. And thus my quest to find the Ultimate Jolicloud Computer began!
Jolicloud has added new web apps to the App Center. These include:
I also got word today that due to the feedback in my review Jolicloud has added a few new features to the Jolicloud desktop. Excellent!
First of all they have made the Public Page easier to access by making a link to it directly on the Stream page. The button is to the right of “Top Followers”. It’s also on every user profile. It’s to the right the “Followers” button. And on your Account Info page where your name, username, email address, etc shows, there’s also a link to your Public Page. Instead of a button it shows the full URL.
Public Page Now More Accessible
Lastly, in the integrated Dropbox file browser they added a two new ways to access your folders on the Dropbox site so you can do more file operations like move, copy, rename or delete. Folders now have a “Open” button on the bottom right. Also individual files have a button called “Open in Folder”. These buttons are on the bottom right & on the Preview window when previewing images.
New Direct Access To The Dropbox Web Site
One minor update was made for user-created web apps. They have applied rounded corners to the icons to make them fit better with the rest of the application icons.
All these new changes were made to the Jolicloud desktop without the need to push a new OS update. They’re available to both Joli OS & browser users. That’s the beauty of a HTML5 cloud desktop! Thanks for the updates guys!
I heard about Jolicloud on Engadget back last July before it came out of beta. I even contemplated installing it on my netbook when version 1.0 came out, but decided I wasn’t brave enough yet. I continued reading the news about it & the Jolibook over next few months, but it wasn’t until Jolicloud 1.1 came out that I made the jump. I first installed it right before Christmas & immediately fell in love. I first started out by running the Live version from a 4gb USB key on my little 10″ eMachines netbook. After about a week of that I got brave enough to actually install it using the Jolicloud Express Windows Installer. It wasn’t an easy decision to make since this was my first experience ever with Linux. However, I figured that if I didn’t like it, I could easily uninstall it. But what end up happening was that I totally abandoned my desktop running Windows XP & embraced the cloud. I pretty much took complete control of the netbook till this day & never once used the desktop running Windows XP. I’m not sure my wife was real happy about that since I had bought the netbook for her over a year ago. ;) We originally planned on buying her a bigger laptop with a DVD drive so she could watch movies, but a lot of unforeseen expenses came up & we no longer could afford to buy one. That’s when I decided that maybe it was time to install Joli OS on the desktop.
Our desktop has been our primary means of streaming TV content like Hulu to our TV & Xbox 360 via a Windows DLNA server called PlayOn. Without that program we can’t watch our favorite shows on the big screen. Unfortunately they don’t have a Linux version of their app and that’s the biggest reason why I’ve dragged my feet about installing Jolicloud on it. Last night I finally downloaded the Express edition & installed it. I wanted to get some feedback for this review. The install & everything else seemed to run fine, but I noticed that the Windows Boot Manager never showed up on the first boot & it went straight to Joli OS. At first I thought it might have been temporary because of the install, but after the install finished I rebooted & it still never showed. I started getting worried that I lost Windows. I frantically searched the Jolicloud GetSatisfaction site looking for a way to fix it & finally came across a solution that was posted over a year ago. What had happened is somehow the Windows Boot Manager’s boot.ini file had incorrectly set the timeout value to 0. With it set to 0 it keeps the Boot Manager from showing up & since it was automatically defaulted to Joli OS it boot straight to it instead of Windows. Editing that file & setting it to a number greater than 0 fixed the problem. Whew! That was a close one! :)
The Jolicloud team have shipped Joli OS 1.2 and the new Jolicloud online desktop according to their latest blog update. You can download the latest Windows Express Installer or ISO here. For those that rather test drive it in their Chrome, Firefox 4 or Safari 5 browser go here. If you want to install the Chrome App, get it here.
New features announced today include:
- Create your own apps! Now you you can create & share your own web apps. This has been the most requested feature from the beginning.
- Seamless Dropbox integration! This has been another big feature request. Cloud storage for a cloud OS. About time! :)
- Jolicloud public page. A profile page that not only shows a little bit about you, but it also shows your shared apps & your followers.
For a more visual look at the latest changes, check out the guided tour. I’m currently working on a detailed review of all the changes to the Jolicloud online desktop. Expect it online tomorrow.
Congratulations Jolicloud team. It’s an excellent service & upgrade. Everybody have fun & happy Joliclouding!