Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) is a technology which allows to you experience the best of the web right from the comfort of your desktop. It allows developers to create rich Internet applications using Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, HTML, or Ajax. AIR has really started to take off. Wonderful new applications being developed every day. Here are my some favourite AIR applications (in no particular order).
1. DeskTube: Don’t mistake DeskTube as just another YouTube application. Yes, it does allow you to surf YouTube from your desktop, but it also does a whole lot more. DeskTube features Facebook, MySpace and Twitter integration and supports four way chat. With DeskTube you can easily hold a video conference with three of your friends right from your desktop (provided that your internet connection is fast enough).
2. Focused: It’s probably the simplest Adobe AIR app in this list, but it’s incredibly useful none the less. It simply hides your entire desktop and replaces it with a gigantic text box. The objective is simple – to prevent you from getting distracted by various background applications and notifications. Not everyone would find a use for Focused, but writers looking to improve their productivity would find this invaluable.
3. FotoBooth: FotoBooth is an image capture software which comes preloaded with a dozen funky effects. Select the effect you like and once you are pleased with the results you can directly upload the images to Flickr.
4. Fractals4D: This may not be the most useful app in the list but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t impressive. You can create stunning Fractal swirls within minutes using Fractals4D. The most amazing thing about Fractals4D is its simplicity. However, this app is not all about fun and games. You can even export your images as an Adobe Illustrator script and use them to create stunning pieces of art.
5. ImageSizer: ImageSizer is an all in one utility to crop, resize, rename and optimise images. What I love about ImageSizer is its simplicity. The interface is neat and clean and doesn’t overwhelm you with unnecessary options. ImageSizer is an extremely capable utility which supports both drag and drop and batch processing.
6. MiniTask: If you believe in GTD (Getting Things Done) philosophy, then you are going to appreciate MiniTask. It is a simple application which allows you to easily create a things-to-do list. MiniTask supports drag and drop resizing, alarm timers, multi-computer syncing and customisable interface.
7. TiltshiftGenerator: Tiltshift is an advanced photography technique used to create extremely cool looking photographs. Creation of Tiltshifted images generally require special lenses. However, they can be faked by utilising selective blurring in Photoshop. TiltshiftGenerator allows anyone to achieve the same effect without using expensive hardware or tinkering around with Photoshop.
8. DestoryFlickr: There are dozens of Adobe AIR apps for viewing Flickr Images. However, DestoryFlickr tops all of them. If eye-candy is what matters to you, then you will be delighted with DestoryFlickr. If you are more concerned with functionality, even then you will love DestoryFlickr. DestoryFlickr works as a photo viewer as well as uploader. The best thing about DestoryFlickr is that it remembers your history and thus doesn’t require reloading of photos and thumbnails you have opened in the past.
9. Polaris: Google Analytics is possibly the best free website metric tool available. If you have a website, you are probably using Google Analytics. Polaris brings Google Analytics to your desktop and is ideal for getting a quick overview of your website’s status without having to open the rather heavy Google Analytics website. Polaris comes in two flavours. The free edition allows you to monitor only a single Google Analytics profile. The premium edition costs $15 per year and supports multiple accounts.
10. Seesmic: In a way Twitter apps are what Adobe AIR is famous for. There is no way I can write an article on Adobe AIR apps without including a Twitter client. Chosing the best client is not easy. Often, it’s just a matter of personal choice. I recommend Seesmic Desktop because it is being rapidly developed and already includes must have features like spell check, TweetShrink, multi-account support, user groups and image uploader. What puts Seesmic ahead of most of the competition is its excellent Facebook integration. You can directly post status updates to Facebook, as well as monitor and comment on your activity stream.