Free Your Documents From the Desktop
If you are anything like us, you have multiple devices. You might own a smart phone, a desktop, laptop, maybe an iPad, Android or other tablet – and are occasionally stuck in a situation where a document you need isn’t in the right place at the right time. It’s locked away at home or a laptop battery dies and you can’t retrieve it. In short, it’s annoying, and occasionally disastrous.
What’s an alternative if you don’t want to carry around an external hard drive or USB device? Consider storing your documents online, that would be the cloud for the cool among you. Zoho, Google and other online productivity have features similar to very popular MS Office suite, but with additional features that help simplify your life.
Obviously, the big win with taking your documents online is that become instantly accessible from all devices, including your phone, anywhere you have an internet connection. However, that’s not the only improvement to how you work.
What else is useful?
You can translate your documents to other languages in Google Docs by going to the “Tools” menu, select “Translate Document” and a list of available languages is displayed.
Almost all of the tools make it easier for you to work on a document with other people by offering real time chat and collaboration. Many of the tools support other document formats including each other. So you don’t have to worry about being locked in if you decide to try out a service. In addition, concerns like software maintenance, computer spyware,
Are you a little skittish about giving up Office? Don’t be. Most of the tools let you store your Office documents as well.
To complete your newfound sense of device freedom, you might, want to head over to http://myfav.es/ to customize a portable start up page that is also accessible from anywhere you are connected. The startup page lets you access your favorite sites without all of those locally stored bookmarks (which happen to be stuck at home with your spreadsheet). The layout is minimal and MyFav.es requires no accounts.
Most online productivity suites are free or have a very low per user entry cost (e.g. $3.00 per user per month for Zoho standard)
Interestingly, on June 15th, Google will release a Netbook that starts at $20.00 per month for students. If you aren’t quite ready to buy the kiddos a laptop or iPad, it might be a viable alternative.
We will be giving it a test drive; will you?