Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Writing a book : Google Docs Vs Zoho Writer

January 24, 2008

Philipp Lenssen has a very nice post about his experiences with writing a book using Google Docs. A cool initiative indeed showing how an online word processor can be used for a big project like that of writing a book!

From his post,

The base document we’re working on is the outline. It’s a linked table of contents which helps us to organize the broad shape of the book, and also see the status of progress. I’ve bookmarked the outline in Firefox and added a keyword shortcut within the bookmark properties, so to open it I just need to type “gohacks” into the browser address bar.

Each document/ hack uses the basic same template. I didn’t use the default Google document styling because I don’t like the overlong line lengths it creates when you use a full-window browser, so I added a <div> wrapper using the “Edit HTML” tab.

I don’t want to manually type Brian’s email address all the time in the “Invite people” dialog, so I’m just typing “Brian” and then hope for the auto-completion dialog to pop up. Now, Brian doesn’t use a Gmail address as his main email so I’m usually writing to his O’Reilly address. This makes Google Docs wrongly assume that it’s not necessary to show that Gmail address of Brian in the auto-completion dialog.

While glad to see the clever hacks he uses (I like the Firefox bookmark one!) to overcome the shortcomings, can’t but wonder how easier it would be to use Zoho Writer instead. Especially since Zoho Writer supports Zoho ID auto-suggest while sharing, margins, headers/footers, offline editing based on Google Gears, and footnotes/endnotes which have just been announced (very useful while writing a book, I believe). And I’m reminded of this post as well, which while being very limited compared to Philip’s excellent tips, can be of help too to budding writers thinking of using an online word processor for penning their books.

All said, Zoho Writer being in Beta & in rapid development like Google Docs will have its own quirks.

Disclaimer : I work for Zoho

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A little tip for a better reading experience

April 22, 2007

Almost all websites from technical publications to newspapers depend on advertisement revenue. And much of this depends on the number of page views they get from their readers. The more page views a publication gets the more it can demand from its advertisers. So a trick most websites follow is to divide an article into multiple pages. And if you are to read the whole article, you will have to keep clicking on the small 1, 2, 3 or ‘Previous’, ‘Next’ links/buttons at the bottom.

What I do when I see such multi-page articles is to look for the ‘Print’ button or link on the page. Almost all websites provide you this and it is usually at the article’s top or bottom. Clicking on it will get you the whole article on a single page. This will save you the many clicks and give you a better reading experience. I see the print button as a little ‘live’ TiVo of sorts as it gets rid of advertisements in most instances as well 😉

A typical example : The regular URL of an article by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker. And its print URL.

This is a little tip am sure many of you must be using or have used unknowingly. I searched in Google blog search and didn’t come across any blogger mentioning this before, hence the post. My 2 cents in increasing one’s productivity 🙂