Friday, December 5, 2008

9. Look at some online productivity (word processing, spreadsheet, calendars) tools

The availability and use of web-based applications for productivity like word processing, spreadsheets and calendars has exploded over the past two years. These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need of installed desktop applications.

Web-based applications

One large benefit to web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC. Another bonus is that they easily accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and PDF). And, you can even use many of these tools, such as Zoho Writer and Google Docs to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other web 2.0 tools that also makes web-based apps so appealing.

Take some time this week exploring some of these web-based applications and blog about what you discover.

Resources:
  • Google Docs & Spreadsheets – a neat online alternative to MS Office and other productivity software applications. Google Docs and Spreadsheets include a word processor and a lightweight spreadsheet application that allows you to create and edit Word and Excel files online.
  • Zoho – a full-featured suite of applications for creating word files, spreadsheets, presentations, wikis, calendars, databases, and more.
  • ThinkFree – another online productivity suite, ThinkFree has tools to create word files, spreadsheets and presentations.
  • Basecamp – a web-based project management application that allows you to manage everything from to-do lists to workflows to project milestones.
  • Snipshot – a really simple online image editor that allows you to resize, enhance, crop and rotate images online.
  • 30 Boxes – online calendar
Exercise:
  • Take a look at the list of web-based applications above and take a look at 2 or 3 of them. Play around and compare features.
  • Post to you blog about your impressions of the applications. Did you like or dislike them? Should we explore using them in our daily work? What about security and privacy concerns?
Other Resources:


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