Tag Archives: document

Use TypeWith.me to Collaborate on Documents in Real-Time

Having to shift between different computers and mobile devices is something we do without thinking about. We spend so much time staying connected that it’s second nature to us by now. However, our flow is interrupted whenever we have to figure out a way to work on something we may not have easy access to. What if you forgot to email yourself a copy of a document? Perhaps you might need to quickly collaborate with several people to create a proposal – and none of them are in the same location.

This is where a tool such as TypeWith.me comes in handy. You can either use a generic URL which the application will assign to you, or choose your own document name by typing in typewith.me/documentname (if it’s not already taken, that is!). There’s nothing to configure or install, and you’ll find a host of options to help you get things done. If you’ve already been scratching out notes in a standard text program and need to share it with others, simply choose to import your file from HTML, standard text, Microsoft Word or from a Rich Text File document.

This application (based on the open sourced EtherPad code) allows you to invite anyone to join in the process simply by sending them an email from inside your document or by pasting a link in an email or IM. Your unique URL is created when you begin the document, and every change is saved immediately. You can quickly revert to a previous version at any point in time, and adjust the slider bar to only save in increments of your choosing.

While you are viewing a saved version, you can grab a link to it (instead of your working document) and share it with others to read-only or collaborate with you on. You’ll also be allowed to download these saved versions at any point in time – exactly the way each of them were saved. No more deciding “I like the old way better!” and having to completely redo things. Just click on the version you want and go from there.

Your collaborators can each type in their changes and additions in a color assigned to them. This makes it a snap for you to see who has done what… and why! You can, of course, also strip away background colors completely, as well as the line numbers. Additionally, you can change the spacing of the document slightly so that it is easier for others to read. Simply click on the Options tab at the top of the page and make your changes.

You can use this free service from virtually any type of laptop, computer or phone that you might own – as long as it can access the Internet. This genius little document creator even works on an iPad. You’ll have to export the document as text or HTML first in order to select text on that particular device. Your export options include HTML, plain-text, bookmark file, PDF and Microsoft Word.

TypeWith.me is not meant to replace traditional text-editing documents. It is, however, a fantastic way to quickly access your documents from any machine or device you happen to be using. Type or click your URL and you’re there.

And be careful about what you place on the open Internet. The chances of people finding what you’ve done is slim… but you never know!

Is Document Annotation Software Still Necessary?

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Annotation isn’t exactly fun, no. Annotation is when you have to edit parts of a document, such as highlighting or underlining a certain portion of a document you may have scanned. Now, it’s time for us to turn our attention to a Website that will let you annotate without having to install anything. Fine Tuna allows you to quickly and easily edit your documents on the fly, no matter where you are.

You won’t believe how simple this is to use. Simply upload an image or design, then add your comments. When you’re finished, you can either email it to another person(s), or send them the direct link to what you’ve done. That’s it… seriously. Your “image” is likely a scanned document, of course. They also have a Firefox Extension which allows you to send any image directly from Firefox with comments.

You are dynamically editing annotations, without having to install anything. If this doesn’t trump your desktop software, I’d be surprised. If you do a lot of collaboration with others, you’ll want to move as many of your experiences to the Web as you can. This allows you to do that, without having to cause you any headaches.


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PDF is an ISO Standard

I was up and about at 5am today (don’t ask), and I just so happened to catch a short email in my inbox:

The Portable Document Format (PDF), undeniably one of the most commonly used formats for electronic documents, is now accessible as an ISO International Standard – ISO 32000-1. This move follows a decision by Adobe Systems Incorporated, original developer and copyright owner of the format, to relinquish control to ISO, who is now in charge of publishing the specifications for the current version (1.7) and for updating and developing future versions.

Here’s the abstract:

ISO 32000-1:2008 specifies a digital form for representing electronic documents to enable users to exchange and view electronic documents independent of the environment in which they were created or the environment in which they are viewed or printed. It is intended for the developer of software that creates PDF files (conforming writers), software that reads existing PDF files and interprets their contents for display and interaction (conforming readers) and PDF products that read and/or write PDF files for a variety of other purposes (conforming products).

And what my friends had to say about it:

This is a really strong move for Adobe and for those of us who use PDF constantly. – Blake Robinson via Alert Thingy

Perhaps has something to do with Microsoft opening up their doc specs? – Kenneth Younger

will adobe reader be even slower now? i hope foxit will still work with the flash-enabled pdfs. – mike

mike: the new Adobe Reader coming out is dramatically faster. – Robert Scoble

robert: phew! maybe i can venture back to using it after my tryst with foxit. – mike

this has *nothing* to do with Microsoft… And this isn't really "news", it's just the ISO officialization of what we already knew since December: http://arstechnica.com/news.ar…Marcos Marado

It's a great document format, even though their own reader sucks, thank god for Apple's Preview. – Gerard van Schip

Finally. The whole industry-standard status was kind of weird since everyone treated it like a standard for years now anyway – Horst Gutmann

At the end of the day, this is good news for consumers; standards are always good news for us. I don’t really see a need to install Adobe Reader 9 on my Mac desktop – even though I just installed 9.0 on Ponzi’s Vista desktop yesterday afternoon; I’ll be content with Mac OS X’s built-in support for PDF. When I want to do a bit more with my PDFs, I’ll use Skim. Here’s to hoping that Flash (SWF, FLV) becomes the next ISO standard!

Documentation Concentration: Focus on Editing Text

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Over the years, I’ve used a variety of text editors on pretty much every operating system. I’m still looking for a good text editor for OS X. There just aren’t any that do what I want to do, and get out of my way when I don’t want to use their features.

What happens if you need to write? You probably do it on the desktop. But there are a million things on your desktop, breaking your concentration. When you really need to focus, why not strip your desktop down so you can just write? JDarkRoom lets you do just that. It is cross-platform, and free. When you launch it, you’ll be prompted with something that asks you what it is you want to do. You can write and edit your text without any distractions.

JDarkRoom is a popular, simple full-screen text file editor with none of the usual bells and whistles that might distract you from the job in hand. If you are writing a novel, essay, thesis or just need to be able to concentrate on your writing, then JDarkRoom may help you.

If you’re using your computer to write, every distraction you can think of is just a click away. JDarkRoom allows you to filter those out. However, if you need to stop writing and check on something else (research, maybe?), simply hit ALT + Tab, and it brings you back to your normal desktop. Then you just click “ok”, and JDarkRoom comes back.

But seriously, I really need a good text editor for OS X. It needs to be clean, fast, uber-configurable. Free would be good, as well, but not necessary. I’m willing to pay for a program, as long as it’s excellent.

What text editor do you use? Why do you like it?

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Get Documents and Spreadsheets on the Go with Google

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Invariably, when you’re on the road, you forget a document at home. It’s of course difficult to get to them, especially if no one is at home to send them to you. It’s also hard to get to them with your iPhone… unless you use Google Docs, of course!

If you have a mobile device that has an Internet connection… you can access your documents at any time, day or night. If you aren’t already using them, shame on you! You can easily do all the basics, including making bulleted lists, sorting by columns, adding tables, images, comments, formulas, changing fonts and more. And it’s free!! Google Docs accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, etc. So go ahead and upload your existing files.

I love this. I love just knowing something is there when I need it, where I need it. It doesn’t get much better than that.


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Google Docs

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Most everyone has some type of office suite installed on your computer, likely Microsoft Office. Did you realize you can do everything that Office can do online… for free? Google has free office tools called Google Docs. You may ask… why would I do them online? Well, it’s simple. How many times have you had to send a document or spreadsheet back and forth to others to be checked over, edited and just shared? By using Google Docs, you can simply upload your existing files, choose who to share them with, and work away! Using Google Docs can increase your productivity by cutting down on the amount of time needed to send the files back and forth via email, wait for the other person, and so on.

Google Docs has applications to build spreadsheets, word documents, and presentations. You can easily do all the basics, including making bulleted lists, sorting by columns, adding tables, images, comments, formulas, changing fonts and more. Google Docs accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, and more! There are toolbar buttons similar to what you are already familiar with for editing… such as bold, underline and italics.

So how do you get started? Visit docs.Google.com. If you don’t already have a Google account, such as for Gmail, then you’ll need to sign up for a free account. If you do have a Google name, simply log in with it. As soon as you’re logged in, you can click on the “New” button to choose to create a new document, spreadsheet or presentation. Or… click the “Upload” button to upload an existing file. One of the best features of Google Docs is the fact that it automatically saves your work pretty often. You don’t have to click a button, it just saves it for you.

So what about sharing your work with others? Click on the Share button to invite others (via email address) to share in the document with you. Anyone you’ve invited to either edit or view your document, spreadsheet or presentation can access it as soon as they sign in. Multiple people can view and make changes at the same time. There’s an on-screen chat window for spreadsheets, and document revisions show you exactly who changed what, and when. Viewing a presentation together is a breeze, as anyone joined in a presentation can automatically follow along with the presenter.

Working on and saving your files has never been easier. There’s nothing to download; you access your documents, spreadsheets and presentations from any computer with an Internet connection and a standard browser. You can create as many folders as you wish in order to organize your work in a way that is easy for you to manage.

With so many features that are easy to use… and all for FREE, I don’t see why you would want to use anything else! Give it a try, and let me know what you think! Leave me a follow-up comment to this video, or shoot me an email to [email protected]

E ya later!

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