Monday, 5 December 2011

Ready to share

There I am, finally: Thing 13 - Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox. In that order!
Warning: my examples might not be especially work-related because I do not often have the chance to actually use these tools in my current post. I try to apply them to things I do in my personal time instead, so at least I can test and use them. Oh, and in case you are wondering why I am talking about holidays so much, it is only because I am actually on holiday next week and I am getting excited about it!

I have used Google Docs in my last year at university. We were doing a group project for which we had to write a report. Our problem was: we needed to think about it together and see what the others had written, but since we lived quite far apart from each other, it wasn't easy to meet. So we started putting our ideas in a Google document, each person using a different colour. We then met to put some order into it and share the tasks out. We ended up writing most of our report in Google Docs.
More recently, I have used Google Docs to, err, organise a holiday! Again, it was because we lived too far away from each other to meet. Using Google meant we had a kind of notepad where we could jot down ideas of visits whenever they came up or add more details to our journey whenever one of us had a bit of time to do it.

To me wikis are like a more elaborate Google document: one that's turned into a website. I have read some stuff off wikis before (mostly Wikipedia, of course) but I believe the first time I actually participated in one is when I shared my cake recipe on the wiki for Library Camp UK 2011!

I have registered with and downloaded Dropbox, but I haven't really been able to test it yet. The idea looks great: it's like a private network, accessible anywhere over the Internet, with parts that can be shared if necessary. It's easy to see how it can be used in one's job, if people work in different locations (including at home) on different devices.
In mine at the moment, I have put some documents I might need when I am away on holiday... "just in case". Also, I might ask my friends to share their photographs with me in this way: copying the original files from Dropbox onto my computer would be much easier than downloading smaller versions from Facebook or Picasa and much quicker than waiting to have them on a USB stick!

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