September 2007



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Google Docs Blog Logo The Book Standard Logo
It’s always great to hear from readers of the column. Lately we have been picking up steam in that department. Lots of comments in various articles. Another feather in the cap is when a fellow writer references work you have done or asks for a quote, as an expert.

Google Docs Blog LogoRecently, an uncredited employee of Google wrote on “The Official Google Docs Blog: News and Notes from the Google Docs Team” a post about how s/he helped their fantasy football commissioner and league use Google Docs. They assisted in streamlining the league’s fantasy draft and other management. It is a great article and certainly makes a lot of sense for anyone in fantasy sports, especially those of you who have trouble getting in one place at one time for the draft. At the end the writer added this nice little tip for those preparing for the draft.

(Docs & Spreadsheets user Dave Kaufman also shared his experience with the draft.)

The Book Standard LogoShortly after that I was contacted by Kimberly Maul from “The Book Standard“, who was writing an article on Techlife favorite Daily Lit. Kimberly wrote a great piece about the history of Daily Lit and a bit more about where they are going with a pay for content model. It seems exciting. She also was nice of enough to include this quote I made about Daily Lit.

“Daily Lit is one of those services that is game-changing, but on the surface appears very simple,” said Dave Kaufman, a blogger who writes the TechLife blog, about Daily Lit. “Think of all the countries where Internet access is limited in time, bandwidth and speed. Imagine how easy it would be for a teacher to incorporate classic literature into the curriculum. Its simplicity could allow global access to information and education.”

It is always nice to hear from readers, writers and business owners. Feel free to email or comment.


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Google Docs and Spreadsheets new main interface

I often use Google Docs for collaboration with teams who are not uber-geeks tech savvy. Examples include clients, family, fantasy football partners, and charity work. Most of these folks don’t know what RSS or an RSS Reader is at all. They would be happy to subscribe via email though to a document that was going to be important, but today Google doesn’t offer that feature.

As tech leaders (people who read Techlife) I have a simple tool for you to use that might help educate your collaborative group. Funny enough this tool is low tech. Teach your group to “Share”. Here is a copy of an email I send using Google Docs after creating a new document, it helps foster the collaborative work environment that makes Google Docs a great tool. Please feel free to copy and paste this email and send it using the share tab in Google Docs. Your teams will thank you.

I know some of you might not have used Google Docs very much so let me point out another feature/downfall.There is no automated notification of someone’s working on the documents. Meaning you won’t get any emails if people make major/minor changes.

But there is a tab in the upper right hand corner “Share”, click on that and then click on “Email collaborators” which will let you send an email like this one. With anything you want in the body including a pointer to what has changed.

I look forward to seeing your work.

Encourage your teams and collaborators to use Google Docs for documents that need multiple eyes. It will help the whole team. The Google Docs Tip of sharing, with an announcement via email will help keep everyone aware of the document’s changes even without RSS.

This great video featured on Techlife TV sums up the Google Docs experience, “Google Docs in Plain English” by CommonCraft’s Sachi and Lee LeFever.
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Do you have any good Google Docs tips? Post them.

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Reading by Christine RondeauIt’s October and that comes with all the fun tricks and exciting treats. Techlife has a treat for all our readers, a little more on that later. Our first trick this month was our readers, they came out in force on the website for a few different articles. We decided to highlight our readers excitement for Fantasy Football and Multi-Player Desktop Tower Defense.

We encourage you to visit the site, as we also had our first video double feature this past month. Both videos will hit you, just in slightly different ways. We covered a really great letter we got about improving a website. We are also asking for your “Everyday Websites”.

(the lead-in for the October column)

So a trick and a treat. Who is said we didn’t have fun at Techlife? How many invites will we hand out?

(the closer for the October column)

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)

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Business Notepad 2 by Steve WoodsA new ad campaign. A multi-billion dollar mutual fund. A small start-up. What do these three have in common? They all upgraded their websites and marketing this year. How can you do this? Hit me via email at: techlife [ at ] dkworldwide [dot] com. Do you subscribe to the RSS feed for Techlife? Visit the TechLife weblog where all you need to do is point and click.

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)

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Trick or Treat! The best type of treat you can hand out is introducing a business owner to Dave Kaufman. You help them meet a trusted resource who can help their business. Tell them to sit down with the marketing and technology vision of a proven “venture strategist”. Dave Kaufman wants to meet their business and organization, all it takes is an invitation. Did you know that Dave provides email and web hosting to customers of all sizes? Ask him about it. Contact Dave, it’s easy: techlife [at] dkworldwide [dot] com.

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)


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Vote 2 by Steve WoodsEveryday you use many websites. But which of them are everyday websites?

Everyday websites are defined as sites you visit nearly everyday, often multiple times. Useful, fun, informative but most importantly not because someone sent you a link. Techlife is interested in the sites you choose to visit. (online applications count too.)
Google? Yahoo? MSN? Sure these are the most common. NYTimes? ESPN? Wikipedia? These are popular, too. But I am looking for the deeper, more interesting sites and the reasons.

I will post mine here:

  • Google Docs has become a regular for word processing and spreadsheets. I am constantly using it for collaboration with others.
  • FeedCrier to help me pick the best things to read via RSS. Lifehacker, Engadget and Gizmodo pop up pretty frequently.
  • I have been playing too much of Casual Collective’s Multi-Player Desktop Tower Defense. A lot of Techlife readers have joined me with a free invite.
  • I use SmartMoney’s portfolio tracking tools and sometimes Yahoo’s Finance tools to watch and learn about the economy and stock market.
  • I use Tmobile’s Sidekick Desktop Interface to manage my mobile Sidekick device’s online calendar, address book and notes applications. (no link available for general public, subscription only)
  • I watch and edit Techlife TV on Chime.tv. I often just browse other channels and watch for a while, like regular television.

I really want to know what sites everybody else uses and why. Post them in the comments.

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Techlife TV has our first double feature today. (If you are a mobile or print reader, visit Techlife’s web site to watch.) Today’s theme is image manipulation on your PC.

Photoshop? Illustrator? Corel? Gimp? Picasa? SeaDragon? These programs all owe homage to the grand daddy of them all MS Paint. In this look behind the Microsoft development curtain we catch up with the MS Paint team as they explain how to use MS Paint and how they built it. Riveting.
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Now check out a real world application of how a computer could calculate quickly how an image is resized. This is a must see to fully understand. Some researchers in Israel have come up with a way to dynamically resize images in a web page. A web page could be resized, but how would an image know what is important, this video explains how using seams the image can be stitched together and goes way beyond cropping and scaling
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I hope you enjoyed the double feature.

Can you spot the faux pas in the MS Paint video? Post your answers below.

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books, books by Sanja GjeneroTechlife always welcomes letters from our readers. As most readers know we run a consulting business, DK Worldwide, so we get lots of questions from business owners. Recently a potential client had this to say {excerpt}.

Dear Techlife,
I have a business where I publish writing and activities for professionals. I have been writing eBooks, and selling them with great success.

I have built up a mailing list and started to really see the future of my business. I have built my own website and self-publish my own books. I am not sure if I am doing everything the “best I can.” But I really am encouraged by the recent success and would like to see my business reach $XX,XXX by Christmas this year and $XXX,XXX by next year.

Do you think you can help me?
Sincerely,
Writing for Pleasure (and now profit)

Dear Writing for Pleasure (and now profit),

Congratulations! Your success certainly has you excited. We got excited just reading about it. We really like working with clients who have goals. We often help them write them, so we are certainly thinking from the same place. I also read your email a few times and think that we can help you grow your business.

DK Worldwide provides clients business consulting focusing on marketing and technology. We leverage experience from Fortune 50 clients and apply it to smaller companies. Some of my comments stray away from the web, such as setting goals, making a plan, focusing on your “art direction” etc.

(more…)


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