You may have heard a lot this week about the new service at www.thinkfree.com
. They have created web-based applications that do most of what Word, Excel and PowerPoint do, but run in any browser. The great advantage of course is cost - they offer it for free (I am sure there are some ads coming soon to the screen). I signed up to test their presentation application as a substitute for PowerPoint. I must say my first impression is to be very impressed. The screen opens up and looks almost exactly like PowerPoint. I created a simple presentation and downloaded it to my computer and it was readable in PowerPoint 2003. There are of course some features missing, like incorporating audio and video and some of the options on animation to name just two that I discovered in the first few minutes of working with it. But overall, it is quite a good piece of work and worth considering if you are stuck without your computer and need to create a presentation quickly. I can also see it as an outlining tool to develop presentations since it also offers the ability to let others see and make changes (but I haven't tested these features yet). Having said all that, I don't see it as a complete substitute for PowerPoint because of the missing features and the inability to show it full screen in presentation mode without the browser showing. I see it more as a potentially valuable addition to our toolbox that can help in certain situations. As I discover more I'll let you know.