Take a look at some online productivity tools (word processing, spreadsheet tools)

by tosca on Monday, July 28, 2008

Headed off to Zoho Writer to see what I could see, and what I saw was an online word processor.  I kid you not - sign up, bash away at the keyboard and save documents here, which I would assume you could access anywhere you can get the internet.  How bizarrely easy is THAT?  Easy enough process to sign up to Zoho - ties in with my Google account and I just give permission to associate that with this.

Decided to type up a chapter out of a book I'm currently reading (Erica Spindler's 'Copycat' - and thanks to whomever suggested her book in the Next Reads newsletter 'cause it lead me to this one which I'm enjoying) to give me a chance to check out the word processing features.  Certainly has more than Microsoft Word, all arranged above in two simple rows.  Also gives me a word count as I go along.  No stuffing around with toolbars like in Microsoft Word (you know, when you want to add crap that can't fit in the toolbar and have to click and then locate what you're after and then click again . . .

My only complaint is that it changes font on me every time I press 'Enter' to begin a new paragraph.  
So that's minimal.  Of course, in an effort to get my head around it, I'm playing with all of the emoticons and buttons I can find (although I notice that the emoticons don't translate across to my blog post as pictures so much as text so deleted them). 

What do I like about this:

  • can access it anywhere there's internet
  • can share it with all and sundry
  • can publish this doc to my blog (which I will do just to play)

What can it do that I haven't tested yet BUT will:
  • documents made here can be emailed from here, either as a Word file, a pdf document, in HTML format or 'other options' (I've yet to play with these 'other options')
  • export files created here as a Word or .text document to be used again inside Word
  • export files created here as HTML or pdf docs
Simple, uncluttered, no nonsense - but don't trust me, view it for yourself here.  Benefits to Manukau Libraries?  Umm unsure.  I see the benefits to our customers.  Especially for the ones who come in to print off documents that won't open on our Learn.Net pcs.  This way we wouldn't have to worry about compatibility.  I always feel like such a fraud when I can't help customers that way.  Would also mean we wouldn't have to worry about disks/discs.  Even staff with minimal technical know-how would be able to direct borrowers here and, perhaps, even explain the basics.  Would go some way toward easing customer impatience when our pcs won't open their documents for whatever reasons.

Which leads me to a query: How come we don't offer tutorials for teaching our customers how to use the internet?  Or get around in Microsoft Word/Publisher etc?  Maybe it's because I worked at a tertiary library prior to Manukau Libraries, but the idea at ACE was that you teach your customers to fish
.  It often seems like we're incessantly fishing for them, and fishing for them, and fishing for them . . . It always sits wrong with me that we refer our customers elsewhere to learn how to become proficient.  We have a captive audience - and we send them away.  That doesn't make sense.  Is it likely to change?  I have no idea - I'd like to think so.  I'm always cautiously optimistic (is that a contradiction?).

Wow, with the click of a button or two I can add this to my blog.  Check that out!

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Thanks for using Zoho Writer and for your appreciation!

We will sure look into the font issue you have pointed out.


by Anonymous on July 28, 2008 at 10:33 PM. #

Ohh look, Zoho noticed you! I use google docs a lot, haven't tried Zoho yet. Google docs I've used mostly for sharing documents with others that we all want to edit together - Like an excel spreadsheet for my trip to North Carolina when we booked two 12 bedroom beach houses. Logistics nightmare!

Anyway, agree, lessons to our customers on how to use things would be fantastic. ACL already show people how to blog, how to use trademe and so on.

This is step 1 - teach the staff. Here's hoping that you all move on to step 2 and we do - teach the customers.

by Kelly on July 29, 2008 at 12:00 PM. #

Yeah I agree would be good if we had the time and staff to offer a better service as regards helping people on the internet - be good to have specialised staff in each branch to do this.

by Happydazs on August 7, 2008 at 3:12 PM. #

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