Since my first post about Pownce, I have obtained an invite, invited 6 friends with my own invites, then used it for a few days. Despite my concerns, this is a great site/app, though it is not without is shortcomings.
Pownce is easy to use. Once you're signed up and logged in, you are automatically sent to your profile page, which lists your stream of messages. This is a mix of your own messages and messages from friends, including replies to messages. You have options to filter your stream on the right, only showing plain messages, links, files, events, replies or just what has been sent by you. Each message has a reply and forward button, so it's easy to talk back or share it on to your other friends.
At the top of the stream you have your own posting box. Just select what type of message it is (Message, Link, File, Event), fill in the details, choose who you want to send it to (Everyone, Friends, Individuals, Groups) and click "Post it!". Your message is added to the stream in an AJAXy way, very nice.
(Private messages scrambled)
The application is just as nice. I don't have any other experience with AIR applications, but I really like what has been done for Pownce. Nice, pretty and simple interface. Your stream of messages takes up the most of the app, with your message posting options at the top (just like the site). Click on a message expands it, showing the option to reply and how many recipients there was. The application periodically refreshes, or you can click the button at the bottom of the interface to refresh manually.
(Again, private messages scrambled)
A little thing about advertisements, which you can see in the app screenshot. The ads are in your stream as sponsored links, and appear in both the site and app. However, they are pretty subtle so you barely notice them. Pownce also makes money from pro subscriptions, $20 a year for an increased file size restriction and removal of advertisements. I haven't had any use for the file service, yet, so it's not something that interests me, but if you are a "Pownce Power User" it might be handy, plus you are supporting the site.
The ProblemsI did say it has some shortcomings, but I expect these will all be remidied in time. It's early days!
- Reply Notification - There is options for getting e-mail notification of replies, certain types of messages and friend requests. However, any replies to a message thread not started by you do not send notifications, even in your stream. I was having a conversation with Adam Snider via Pownce, and I didn't notice he replied in the same thread until several hours later. Maybe e-mail notifications of replies to other peoples messages is a bit much, but after the demand and eventual implementation of threading on Digg it was a bit disappointing to find only one level of threading with no notifications of messages that apply to you. If they added a couple more levels, added them to your stream/notifications, it would be a great improvement. Though, this leads me on to...
- Lack of Reply Message Type - You can only reply to messages with plain messages, no options for links, events or files. This would be handy, replying to links with related links, maybe the link is to a file that suddenly dies, someone who grabbed it could reply with a file message as a mirror. I hope this is added soon.
- More Page Themes - There is currently only 4 options for profile themes, all of which are great but it would be nice to have more of a selection. I am not sure if the themes are developed in house or if people can submit there own to be added (if they are good that is), there is no indication though I wouldn't be surprised if people have submitted ideas to be added. In fact, I was thinking about designing one myself just for fun. I can understand limiting it to just themes and not allowing the users to edit them manually, but users do need more of a choice.
- Replies From Within the Application - In order to reply to a message you read within the app, you are directed to the site. This isn't such a big deal, but it's just another step in getting a message sent. If they added a feature to reply to messages from within the application it would make things much smoother and easier.
Despite the minor issues, Pownce is pretty awesome and if you get an invite offer, take it up and check it out.
Author's Note: I am not a writer so my apologies if the review is a little weak! I just wanted to share my thoughts on it, now that I have an account there. It was useful to write this as well, since I noticed there are acutally RSS feeds for your messages! For those who are wondering about Pownce, I hope this was enough to give you a little preview.