Today I finally had the time to give one of the latest applications from the famous Mozilla labs a spin around the block. In their own words Prism "is an application that lets users split web applications out of their browser and run them directly on their desktop." What that basically means it that Prism allows you to turn websites and web-services into something that's closer to an application with shortcuts directly on the desktop and whatnot. While Gmail and the Google Calender are probably the most popular services for this right now I decided to turn to something that's more important for me.
There's a cafeteria at our university, called the Mensa, where I go for lunch most days (especially since I live only 3min away from university). Unfortunately at times there food there isn't too appealing and seeing that I'm a lazy person at times I'd like to know in advance what food is available. Luckily for me there's the Mensen.at website where I can find that information. However that means I have to navigate to that website and select my university from the list only for the whole menu to pop up in another window.
What Prism has allowed me to do is turn this process into a single click operation. All I have to do now is click on the "Mensa @ TU Wien" icon on my ObjectDock and I'm presented with the menu. Now that's what I call making things more efficient!
Interestingly my flatmate Micheal told me that the new Apple OS X Leopard also has a very similar feature as it allows you to turn websites or even parts of websites into Widgets for a similar experience. Additionally there are also similar efforts going on with the One Laptop Per Child project where they have recently turned Gmail into an activity (the name for applications on the X0) that's directly available from the desktop.
Good stuff indeed and I'll definitely keep a close eye on further developments in this area!