Friday, February 29, 2008

Online teamwork with Google Sites. WOW!!

I received an email today reminding me that I had asked to be told when JotSpot was updated and relaunched.

To be honest, that was so long ago that I couldn't even remember what JotSpot did, but the big news is that it has been relaunched as Google Sites.


I think it is big news, although I have to admit that I haven't tested it yet. Nonetheless, the concept is very exciting.

At no cost, small companies, schools, project managers, groups and so on can have access to a welter of online apps that will enable them to work collaboratively online, without having to pay for hardware, networking or software licences. Which would have been the way to do it otherwise.

Create your own intranet using the web page builder. Share team calendars. Send mail. Post and review documents, upload photos, videos, files for common use. Prepare online presentations. Update events for internal notice with a blog.

Using Web 2.0 technologies, Google has aimed to make it as simple as it can be at the moment for the ordinary office to make all its admin tasks electronic and increase efficiency.

And because it's so simple, the learning curve should be relatively small. A godsend for companies that have been having to pay for software training.

I suspect the reservations will be about security. After all, anything that's online can ultimately be hacked, but how many people really suffer that, unless they've been extremely lax about use of passwords or even indiscrete about what is shared within the team.

And there will also be the core of people who resist doing anything on computers. Are you still employing them?

I only wish I had a project on which I could test this out. I'm already making plans ...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Gone mobile

I finally took the plunge and signed a contract with 3 for a Skype enabled mobile phone. I simply wanted to try out the technology and was persuaded that a monthly contract would not only enable me to make free calls Skype-2-Skype but that I would also benefit from free to 3 phone calls and a monthly allowance of free minutes to any network.

Have I used the minutes in the first month? No. On an economically rational basis, I have made a bum decision, and should have stayed with my Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go but pay-monthly-plan, which averages around £5 a month. The person who I speak to most on my mobile Skype is my daughter, who I can also call for free using 3.

Still, I have demonstrated the use of mobile Skype-2-Skype to her. She has chosen a phone upgrade which also uses the facility, enabling her to speak with her admirers across the globe via Skype. I wish there was rather less admiration and a more focused effort on earning money rather than asking for handouts to keep afloat. But there you are, we can't force people to be economically rational, even though it is a fundamental premise of Economics that people are economically rational.

I also, oh goodness me, subscribed to another 3 contract, for mobile broadband. It works on my Mac Book Pro as well as my PC laptop. It's a liberating sensation to feel that I can take a laptop anywhere to connect to the net, and I only wish that I had had the facility at John O' Groats last year, when I wanted to send a photo of George and his friends at the start line, to the local press. But is the 3 3G network available in the very north of Scotland?

So far, this, too, been an economically irrational decision. I haven't made the use of it that I could. If I were more mobile doing business on the move, I could justify the expense, but being at home most of the time, I'm a heavy user of wireless broadband.

Sadly, the FON/BT partnership for mobile broadband doesn't seem to have caught on, such that I could login for free to FON wireless mobile hotspots wherever I went. And Skype seems to be in the doldrums too. If more people subscribed, then we could be considerably more inventive in our use of cheaper telecomms technology.

The latest issue of Web Designer reckons that Wimax will be with us, in certain locations, within two years.

Yeah, right!