Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Live Mesh because I'm lazy

England. Summer. Working outside with a laptop isn't too bad when the sky's grey. At least I get some fresh air. It was one of those jobs that I'd been putting off for ages, well, actually hoping someone else would do it as it was going to take a while and wasn't particularly enthralling. I had to find literary agents that might be interested in my novel by looking up details on the internet and then copying and pasting their addresses into a document that would ultimately finish up as a database for a mail merge, envelopes and all that jazz.

Without thinking, I just copied and pasted the information into Word, where I knew I could tidy it up and turn it into a data table without too much hassle. You know how text from the internet comes with a load of garbage and an assortment of fonts, colours that can quickly be removed that way (or via Notepad if necessary).

After about three hours in a strong breeze I had about 30 potential names, addresses and contact details in a respectable-looking and usable table, ready to send to the person who will be sending the stuff out.

Coming indoors, I was delighted to find that the document was already available on my main pc where I could continue to work on it with some other bits and pieces I had there. No copying to USB drives or e-mailing to myself, it was just there. Great.

Then I realised that there were probably a host of web tools I could have used to do the job - and certainly something like Google Docs would make the future collaboration on the data easier. The thing is, there were so many other ways that I couldn't quickly decide on any one in particular and I wasn't sure that my partner would have Google Docs ready to go and the thought of explaining everything and her not getting on with the task as quickly did put me off a bit. So I just went with the comfortable option. I bet lots of the people we describe wonderful new e-learning techniques to often do the same!

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