Flock – A Monster Review
Ok well, I decided that I want to try flock. With all that hype about its amazing blogging tools, flickr integration and other goodies, I decided that I have to try it. After using it for about a day, I have some mixed reactions, so I thought I would share them with you. I hope to make this a beast of a review, all-inclusive, and chock-full of screen shot goodness. Fell free to correct me if I make any mistakes.
First things first, what is Flock? Flock is a Gecko browser, in fact most of it’s code is Mozilla Firefox, so many things will be similar, like the security, and tabs, and some other things. On the other hand, some things are different, and some things are added. Flock is for people who are into blogging, first and foremost, at least in my opinion. You get amazing integration with flickr, Photobucket, del.icio.us which are really big in the blogosphere and web 2.0. I guess you can say that Flock is like Firefox on steroids, but perhaps that’s not the best description.
Setting up Flock
Could not be easier. When you first open flock you will see a screen that looks like this:
If you press Set Up Flock, which you should it will take you through a very simple wizard that will allow you to choose which browser you would like to import from, and then what you want to import. I imported everything from FireFox with absolutely no problems. In fact, when I opened the Downloads box I saw all my FF downloads there. Very nice. All my bookmarks were there too. Also, at setup you will be able to choose a photo service (flickr for me) and a blog (this blog) and then an online bookmarking service if you wish (del.icio.us for me). Setup was very fast and simple, and I even enjoyed it a bit. The install file isn’t very big, which is nice too.
With a mellow blue theme, it’s relaxing, yet very modern at the same time. Most buttons are same, stop and refresh were merged into one, and change at need, which I though to be great. Firefox users will be glad to see the same old search bar as well. The loading bar that reminds me of iTunes was a nice touch. Also, toolbars that open up with a gray background look nice too, reminiscent of LightBox.js. Flock runs nice and fast, even though it seemed to take up a monstrous amount of RAM – 66 696 for me. Because of that, I thought I would have trouble running it on my 5 year old computer, but it seemed to run smoother than FF. First impression – Good.
Tools – Blogging
Everyone loves blogging – it’s a giant fad nowadays – you’re reading a blog right now! Flock has awesome integration with blogs, from Blogger to WordPress. You get a WYSIWYG editor (which I’m using right now) and some smaller, but very important tools to help you along.
If you blog – then you post pictures. Flock helps you along with amazing flickr integration. Once you set up you blog you get to look at your stream, subscribe to other people’s streams, and you even get a built in uploader. It lets you drag and drop photos, crop, turn, and undo. Really great, here, have a look.
In the stream toolbar, you can look at your stream (and other streams) drag and drop photos into comments and blog posts, star and bookmark streams. Really awesome stuff here. To add to that, whenever someone else posts a photo hosted on flickr, a little button gives you the option to view their entire stream, pretty damn sweet.
Snippets are really another great feature of flock that bloggers will enjoy. It’s a little space where you can drag random pictures and text to save it for future use, and then use it on your blog.
I have two pictures and a piece of text there, that I used later on. Kind of like the clipboard feature, but better.
Because bookmarks are overrated, flock used favorites. You can favorite any page, but clicking on the blue star, and then choosing a category, tagging it and turning the star orange. It is really useful, because it allows for really easy and quick searching. You can categorize your favorites into collections to really make things nice, and sync it with your de.icio.us (I still didn’t completely work this out). This is pretty progressive, but I really like it.
Search in flock is really great. When you use the search bar, it automatically searches your history and favorites for quick access, and can also display top 5 yahoo! matches, and links you to any other engine you wish. I abuse this, it’s really fast and useful.
Flock has what I think is a brilliant RSS reader. You can add any feed you want, and it can show it with pictures and a short description with just a click of the “news” button. At setup, it asks what you are interested in, and matches some RSS feeds for you, accordingly. It’s a lot better than FF live bookmarks, although those are supported too. Hmm. Maybe flock is FF on steroids after all 🙂 You can even save articles for later reference.
Well, I think that’s about it. It’s not as big a review as I wanted, but still pretty damn big. I love flock, it’s great. I’m a blogger, and now I am a FlockStar. I recommend anyone else who blogs, uses flickr and just likes web 2.0 to try this out.
P.S. I tried altoids for the first time today, they are curiously delicious!
Filed under: Computers, Internet | 12 Comments