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Summary:

Black Tonic is launching today a remote web presentation for slide decks that doesn’t suck — it’s entirely web-based sans plug-in, and works across just about all browsers. People watching a presentation can even tune in via Safari on their iPhones.

As a reporter covering startups and new product launches, I see a lot of WebEx, GoToMeeting, Glance.net, Adobe Connect, Dimdim and other remote presentation tools on a day-to-day basis. And maybe I’m just on a bad streak of meetings, but they all too often don’t work. So I’m for anything that makes long-distance demos more simple and reliable.

I had a chance to check out a new tool this week that promises to be just that: It’s called Black Tonic, and it’s launching today out of Portland, Ore.-based design and development consultancy Wolverine. Black Tonic is entirely web-based sans plug-in, and works across just about all browsers. People watching a presentation can even tune in via Safari on their iPhones.

Black Tonic is not a screen-sharing tool, so you don’t have to show your whole desktop, with the risk of co-creator David Price’s complaint about competitors’ products: “I hate it when I don’t turn off my Growl notifications and an email from my mom pops up while I’m presenting.” (Yeah, definitely seen that one — but further it’s just awkward to be given a full view of someone’s personal desktop space.) And Black Tonic is not a collaboration tool; all that happens is one person presents a deck of slides and the other watches. (So on the downside, this wouldn’t be good for people who want to work together remotely or want to give a live demo of their site.) The product also includes versioning support and live uploads on the fly. For even more details on its functionality, see Imran’s post over on WebWorkerDaily.

Price compares what Black Tonic does to Google Wave, drop.io, and other real-time browser-based tools. Black Tonic is all HTML and JavaScript, not even the new hype magnet HTML5. Price said they refer to their real-time broadcasting engine as “DOMcasting,” as in the “document object model” coding convention. “We synchronize the DOM between every instance of the web browser,” is how he put it.

Black Tonic is available to the public as of today, starting with a 14-day free trial and after that $15 per month per user.

  1. Looks like Black Tonic is no different from Windows Net Meeting ?

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  2. As far as I know, the Web conference tool from RHUB communications, Inc. (http://www.rhubcom.com) can support viewers to just use a web browser to attend a meeting, same html/javascript tricks.

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