Sunday, April 13, 2008

Week 5 assignment: Web office tools

Is this the future of all software products? What do you think?

Oh I certainly hope not. Please, no.

The use of Google Docs or related online document services is one of the two areas in the course I haven't had prior experience with. I was poking around minding my own business on it this evening (I doubt Sunday evening/early Monday morning is a high usage time, nothing is posted about systems being down for maintenance) and suddenly it froze.

I assumed the problem was my system connection, refreshed, and found a spreadsheet uploaded twice. No big deal, I deleted the extra copy, but then received


That is exactly what I wouldn't want to see if I was working on something urgent without a backup copy of our collective workgroup edits, which I don't believe we can create at Google Docs because otherwise that sort of defeats the sole source purpose. I'm a much bigger proponent of LOCKSS than 'You can trust us to keep this safe, ya sure ya betcha!' Have you ever seen a professional photographer with external dual hard drive failure? It's not a pretty picture, no pun intended, and I value my own professional work just as highly.

For casual writing and presentation projects I can see web office tools working well, but my geek husband balked at the idea of putting any sort of spreadsheet with data that is remotely confidential on Google Docs for security reasons. I'm probably too entrenched in academia assumption that all relevant parties have access to the same shared drive that is well-taken care of with backups to give web office tools a realistic shot, and was am still too OCD to let go of 'my' presentation final edit if I'm a lead for class or other situations. I could see myself becoming completely unhinged at an unexpected 'Your the best!' title that was added 5 minutes before I gave a presentation.