WHERE TO FIND IT: www.thingworld.com
CRITIQUE: It's all about Frogger. The popular videogame of old continues to be used as an example for new technologies in the interactive realm.
We've played Shockwave Frogger, Java Frogger and now Frogger made with Parable Corp.'s Things. And you know what? We still love piloting our amphibious alter ego through five lanes of automotive peril.
But that's beside the point.
The point is that too many companies are trying to solve one basic problem: delivering simple animation and sound on the Web. But how many different languages, browser features and plug-ins do we need?
For the most part, the answer is one. Shockwave. One plug-in does animations, games, sounds and streaming media. With Things, we clicked on an animation of the "South Park" character Stan and he puked on us. With Shockwave's Flash technology built into the Real Media player, we saw an entire streamed episode of the show. You do the math.
It shouldn't be overlooked that Things are easier to develop than Shockwave apps and are portable in nature, so fans can grab Things and install them on their own sites so every "South Park" fan site can now have even more of the same content.
In the end, though, the Web is reaching the point where most surfers would rather jump through traffic than download and install more software.
WHO CREATED IT: Parable Corp., Newton, Mass.