Saturday, March 29, 2008

Thing 9 - Online Collaboration Tools

Knowing that tools like Zoho Writer and Google Documents are available and quite easy to use may change the software marketplace. Having just had a problem with my old version of Microsoft Office 2002 and finding that Microsoft says the cause of the problem I was having was my purchased software (theirs) and recommending I upgrade (read purchase) a new version just rubbed me the wrong way. I have the same hardware and operating system as when I bought Microsoft Office and now it won't work? When free online tools are there for use people having this experience may reconsider what their options are. Maybe buying software which quickly becomes obsolete isn't the best alternative.

I edited both in Google Docs and Zoho Writer after I received my invitation to share the document. Both were easy to use, although I did initially have a problem with Zoho Writer, but a quick look at a few things enabled me to continue successfully. Google Docs was quite intuitive for those familiar with basic word processing software and seemed easier to use, but both were acceptable. I looked at some of the other applications, but playing with them will have to wait for another day.

Those visionary founding fathers would probably be amazed at how productive they could be without meeting face to face, although their documents might tend to get buried in the comments and criticisms that they vented into the air and which never made it to print on paper in their own time.