It was almost a year ago when I wrote a fairly controversial post about "Challenge and Tech Support." In the post, I advocated that practitioners should be given admin rights on their computers so that they could be unencumbered to install needed software. The rationale of course was that restricting access to installing applications limits productivity and creates opportunities for frustration and obfuscation. I even listed the inability to install the desktop version of TweetDeck as a common example of just one application that many are not able to put on their work computers.
I post to Twitter quite a bit and one of my "SAtech tip" tweets went unread by a colleague. She sent me a DM (direct message) asking me why I had not told her about the Chrome web store (my favorite aspect of Google's Chrome Browser). Her message reminded me of a couple things. One, it's really easy to miss relevant tweets when so many folks are posting content on Twitter. And second, the Chrome web store could be the solution to the "admin rights" issue.
According to Google, the Chrome Web Store is "an online marketplace where you can discover thousands of apps, extensions, and themes for Chrome." If you're able to get your IT department to install Google Chrome on your computer (or perhaps it has already been installed) then you now have access to a variety of useful apps that can run within your Chrome browser. For example, if you can't install the desktop version of TweetDeck, don't worry. ChromeDeck is a version of TweetDeck that runs within Chrome. I actually think that it's far better than the desktop app, especially when tracking hashtag conversations. ChromeDeck is amazingly fast as a browser-based app.
Admittedly, I am not using as many web apps via Chrome as I could because I have no issue with installing software. However, one of my #satech profile interviewees - Jeff Lail, has a Chrome Notebook (which runs solely off of web apps), and shared some productivity apps with me:
- SlideRocket - create and share presentations
- Picnik - a basic photo editor
- Audio Editor by Aviary - a full-featured audio editing app
To access the Chrome Web Store, open a new tab in Chrome. Click on the Web Store icon to start your app search. While I realize that this may not resolve your issues with admin access, it will at least give you access to a variety of useful "programs." Sometimes it's necessary to side-step a challenging situation. If IT will not let you install native executables then at least you can find solace in the cloud. Thanks Google!
Do you use Chrome? What are your favorite apps from the Chrome Web Store?
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