Putting YOUR name on your Facebook ‘Page’

Getting a custom name for your Facebook page will make it easier to remember.

Continue Leave a Comment September 24, 2010

Gmail login: Something new users need to know

If you are a new Gmail user who just switched  from Yahoo or another web-based email service and are having trouble logging in to your Gmail account,  here’s a simple thing to check:  Make sure that you are entering just the first part (before the @) of your Gmail address in the “username” box, NOT the whole address (including “gmail.com”). (more…)

Leave a Comment August 29, 2010

Learning Online: Give yourself permission to play (and fail)

When I’m trying to teach people to use  online tools –Word Press, Google docs and etc.– I often say “just go ahead and play around, jump in and try stuff.  If you don’t like what happens, ‘undo’ it and do something else or dump that site (or doc) and start another. ”   It just occurred to me that what I’m saying has lot in common with the techie mantra “fail faster.”  That is, you are going to have to do a lot of stuff that doesn’t work before you get to the thing that does work, you can’t avoid that stage, so you might as well get to it and get through it.  It may seem like “playing” and “failing” don’t have much in common, but  if you can maintain a playful, experimental attitude while you learn,  you’ll try a lot more stuff a lot quicker, and feel a lot better when it doesn’t work the way you wanted the first few times.  For many people, though,  “playing” and “failing” are both  to be avoided at all cost. That’s because many of  us had it drilled into us  that if we were “playing” we were not “working” and that “failing” is well…..failure.  So how do you give yourself permission to “play” and “fail” with tech — so you can eventually “succeed” and get lots of  work done with your newly-mastered online tools?


Leave a Comment August 11, 2010

Wave bye-bye to Google Wave

Google announced this week that  it  is phasing out Google Wave,  the web-based collaboration tool that the company unveiled to great acclaim a little less than a year ago.   According to Google, “Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked.”   This is a disappointment to those of us who thought that Wave was a potentially useful way for people in different places to work together online–  but, in truth, the service still needed tweaking: it was not easy for many people to learn and its uses were difficult to explain to collaborators.  However,  Google  will likely use what it learned from the Wave experiment  in future products, and  some of Wave’s best features –such as drag-and-drop content addition  and the ability to see collaborator’s document edits in real time– are already appearing in Gmail and Google docs and will likely be much more widely available in next-generation browsers.  I suspect my own Wave story is pretty typical, one example that explains why the Wave wave never crested. . . (more…)

Leave a Comment August 6, 2010

Google Docs turns off ability to edit document HTML and CSS

UPDATE1: 8/26  It appears that the HTML/CSS edit function has been restored to Google docs.  At least I was able to access those functions today in a new doc. The restoration may have occurred earlier– I hadn’t been checking in each document, and Google doesn’t do much to announce such changes. In any case,  if  CSS/HTML editing is back now,  Google appears to have listened to user concerns on this subject.

UPDATE2: 8/26  One reader says he still doesn’t have HTML/CSS editing. See the comments.

UPDATE3: 8/27  After further digging around, I realize that the Google Docs setting in my Apps suite  to “Use New Version of Google Docs” is turned OFF. I was under the impression that Google had turned the new version on by default in all accounts, and I’m unable to turn the new version off in my regular Google account, and thereby restore HTML and CSS editing in those accounts. So it appears that my original posting generally still applies. My bad.

While using Google docs yesterday, I was disturbed  to realize that it’s no longer possible to directly edit a  document’s HTML and CSS– the code that controls document style and formatting.  Even if  those initials give you hives and you can’t imagine touching document code yourself, the lack of a  HTML/CSS editor in Gdocs could turn out to be a big problem. Google says the change is temporary, but if you or your organization is considering a move to Google docs as your primary word processing program  I suggest you wait and see.  Many people are unhappy about the change; there’s already a Facebook group calling on Google to  “Bring Back Edit CSS & HTML”   Here’s why:


6 Comments July 21, 2010

Facebook Docs: beta needs to be better

My invite to try out the new Microsoft Fuse Labs Word service just came through this morning. As I said in my last post, this service is supposed to make it possible to create Word docs online and then share them via Facebook.  Immediately created a doc, but after forty-five minutes of of fiddling with various privacy and other settings; I can’t get the “share” with my Facebook friends to work. I’m sure there’s some nifty explanation hidden deep in the  “Help” screens– but frankly, this is sooooooooo Microsoft-ian….making you jump hoops in order to set things up and carry out essential functions– and as somebody who tries to get people to use tools like this for a living, I rate this one –at least for the moment– a FAIL. Maybe if a link to the doc magically appears on my Facebook wall later today I’ll feel differently, in any case I’ll keep experimenting and keep you posted. [Updates after the jump] (more…)

Leave a Comment May 10, 2010

Confessions of a Google docs fiend

It all started innocently enough:  there was that “Documents” link,  hanging out  right above my Gmail,  whispering  to me that I should try it:  Just once.  And so I did. And now, not only am I hooked on Google docs, but I work hard to get other people hooked, to share my habit so we can do docs together,  even though I  know  –yes, it’s becoming increasingly clear– Google isn’t always good for us.  But, oh, it’s so easy and gets me out there so fast.  And maybe you should try it too.  Just so we can hang out together? (more…)

Leave a Comment May 6, 2010

Monitoring your online publication’s behavior when it’s away from home

Most website editors and bloggers spend most of their time and energy making their online publication  look good to visitors who come to their site to read their content.  But many sites now have RSS feeds that automatically send site content –or at least headlines and summaries– out to feed readers, email subscription services and Twitter and other social media.  If you want to build your site’s audience,  it’s also important to keep an eye on   how your content looks and reads in those other formats.  Here’s how.


1 Comment May 2, 2010

Panels are not a panacea (and not much of a promotional tool)

Panels are great– for some things.  Yes, you know, panels:  Where two or three or four people sit up in front of a room full of other people and talk at them.   True, sometimes people want to hear panelists,  will go out of their way to do so, and even pay for the privilege– most often when the panelists are famous or controversial or –as was the case at the very good NTEN (non-profit technology) conference last week, when people finally get a chance to see and hear the real humans they’ve been interacting with online.  But it happened again today.   I heard somebody propose  a panel discussion as means of promoting a social media campaign that is itself intended to promote an event.  Huh? (more…)

Leave a Comment April 16, 2010

How to Twitter: A Practical Guide from Idealware

OK, you get it. You –or your organization or business– oughta be using Twitter. But how, exactly, do you get started? What do you “tweet”? When do you “tweet”? How do you fit “tweeting” in with the rest of your work? And does it really make a difference? One group, Idealware, provides some concrete and practical answers to Twitter questions based on its own organizational experience. (more…)

1 Comment March 24, 2010

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