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Online Virtual Computers
By: Barzan "Tony" Antal
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    Table of Contents:
  • Online Virtual Computers
  • G.ho.st, Cloud Computing
  • More About Ghost and Alternatives
  • FanBox and Concluding Thoughts

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    Online Virtual Computers - More About Ghost and Alternatives

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    By now we've mentioned most of Ghost's features. Basically, you have a large assortment of applications to accomplish the tasks you usually need to do on a computer, such as communicate (email, chat, IMs, surf the net), entertain yourself (MP3 player, video player, online radios a la Last.fm, Pandora), business and work-related chores (office suites, photo and image manipulation programs), and then you have the possibility of adding widgets.

    As widgets you can add a clock, calendar, calculator, RSS reader, MP3 player, weather, and a few more fancy or funny things. A bit earlier we said that Ghost's hosting is powered by Amazon Web Services. This means backing up, almost instantaneously to multiple locations, and using encryption algorithms for passwords and other sensitive data.

    To sum up, we know that G.ho.st will become a great success since it offers such a well-rounded and complete platform of "web desktop" solutions that it comes as a blessing for many people that desire their own personal "on-the-go" computer. Even though the project is just in the beta stage, we'd still recommend it. The pre-beta stage was really long (it started in 2006-2007). And if you come across some bugs or glitches, do report back.

    Aside from Ghost, there are other services available that offer similar web desktop capabilities. Some of them are premier-only, others offer both a "free" and a "paid" route. One of the latter that stands out is GoPC. It comes in four different plans. The first is free: 250 MB, virus protection, file transfer manager, Konqueror browser, Kopete (email, chat, IM), PDF reader, Firefox (web-browser), Gwenview (images), etc.

    While it may seem a a bit skimpy compared to what Ghost offers, the free plan should be enough for most people. Really, it's your online virtual computer with its storage of 250 MB and tools that you really need. Of course, we as humans always strive for things that look shiny and seem massive, high, and mighty (Dangerous Rise of the SUVs, anyone?). In a similar fashion, we'd opt for zillions of gigabytes just because.

    The other plans offer some premium features such as printing, flowchart and diagram editing, entire office suites (though you'd always use Web-based ones with the free one, since you have Internet access and a web browser!), web page authoring suites (like NVU), Citrix ICA client, vector drawing, 3D Povray modeler, and others.

    Check out the package comparison page so you know their sets of features. Just as we mentioned with Ghost, in terms of security and safety, GoPC does follow the same path. The servers are reliable, secure, backed up, and always monitored by experts. The back-end platform on which your virtual systems are virtualized is high-end; with reasonable connection speeds, you feel as if you're doing near-native computing.

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