Filed under: Google docs

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?

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Leave a Comment August 11, 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:

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6 Comments July 21, 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

Crocodoc: free, super-easy document sharing with a security downside

Crocodoc.com is a very simple service that may be just the thing if you need to  get quick, fuss-free feedback on a word document, PDF, or slide presentation.  But Crocodoc is a bit too stripped down for many purposes, and the tradeoff for extreme ease of use is a lack of security.   Here’s a  quick-review.

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Leave a Comment March 2, 2010

New Google Docs Clipboard-in-the-Cloud

Google has just added a new “server clipboard” function to Google Docs.  This isn’t just one-shot cut-and-paste;  click on the new “clipboard” icon in the edit menu and  you can copy a number of  excerpts from one  Google doc  and paste them in any order into a different Google doc–  or store them on your clipboard  “in the cloud”,  for, Google says, up to thirty days.

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Leave a Comment February 17, 2010

Spreadsheets for Poets

Spreadsheets have many, many uses besides financial recordkeeping.  But lots of  people who lack business training are intimidated by all those columns and rows, and have never experienced the many ways spreadsheets can make life easier.  If that describes you, check out  Google docs spreadsheets– easy enough for English majors. (more…)

Leave a Comment January 21, 2010


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