Thursday, April 26, 2007

Google Blabs

Alert for family and friends: long boring work post ahead.

Today I looked at Google Docs. As I logged in to create a collaborative document, I was asked if I perhaps had an old Writely account? Well, I did! Last year my colleague Claire (South Seattle Community College) had introduced me to Writely. I was able to log in with my new Google account and painlessly transfer over my old Writely account. I created a new document, and talked a bit about how Microsoft so wishes it had managed to do this. My husband had been employed at MS about 7 years ago and was working on this project; in true MS form, they kept changing the goals, staff, department, names, and even physical locations so often nothing got accomplished.

It was very easy to create a document in Zoho. Hmmm! Surprisingly Google-like in appearance! Enough for a lawsuit, I'd say. At this point in time, they offer more collaborative services than does Google. I tried Zoho Writer for a comparison to Google Docs. The interface seems mush more Word-like than does Google as far as all of the toolbar options. Oddly enough, when I used spellcheck in my Zoho document, it did not recognize the word "zoho." This speaks to some major gaps in coding/programming on the part of the developers. Thoroughness is professional. Not being thorough is not professional. I also shared this with KCLS27Things for the learning experiment. I do not see an RSS option.

Next, I headed over to Google Labs. I love Google Labs! They have a lot of great ideas. Being a science nerd, I went straight for Google Mars. Cool! To the right is an image of Olympus Mons. If you've ever read Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars, this will be especially exciting for you. If you've never read them and you like hard science fiction, you must read them.

Google Video is another Lab item, and it's like searching YouTube, only you are searching the whole net. Wonderful!

Finally, I took a look at Google Scholar, which should be a wonderful research tool. However, I'm so used to being able to limit to full-text items in databases that I was perturbed at getting page after page of results that I couldn't actually access unless I paid for them.

My last learning task for this week was to take a look at some Web 20.0 Awards winners and Webware. These should be the cutting edge applications of web 2.0. I first took a look at the award winners and was surprised that several interesting categories (such as Books, Games, Travel, and Visual Arts) didn't have enough entries to generate winners. I looked at Music, but it was all about new popular music; I want old fogey music. I eventually settled on one of the Games category's honorable mentions: Arcaplay. It looks like a fabulous alternative to MSN Games. But of course, ahem, I can't play on work time.

Soooo, I headed over to Webware. At first glance, this just seems like more ways to waste your time. I actually like to read and go outside sometimes. I tried following the "digital photography" category link, and it crashed my browser along with my unsaved blogger window. Yay! I tried "widgets" next, and re-discovered the Morse Code RSS feeder. I love it! If only I knew Morse code. Still, I'm in love with Steampunk, and especially the Steampunk Workshop. If I was rich I would buy all of these things, or at least pay someone to make them.

People could remember that for my birthday and other important gift-giving occasions.

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