The following is a comparison of cloud integration options for two popular office suites. Both options allow synchronization of documents, spreadsheets and presentations to Google Docs. Both options allow for either automatic or manual syncing, depending on user preference.
LibreOffice 3 + OOo2GD advantages:
- None of the costs associated with Microsoft Office
- Multi-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux, many other Unix variants)
- Supports other cloud services besides Google Docs (Zoho and generic WebDAV)
- When used with user-controlled WebDAV, allows for total control/ownership of all data
- Translated into many other languages besides English
LibreOffice 3 + OOo2GD disadvantages:
- Some problems with certain versions of Mac OSX (seems to be Java related)
- Needs Java 5+ to work, on any platform
Microsoft Office 2010 + Google Cloud Connect advantages:
- Allows user to disable Protected View for documents synced with Google Docs
- Allows application-level configuration of a proxy server to access Google Docs
- Does not require Java
Microsoft Office 2010 + Google Cloud Connect disadvantages:
- The cost of the office suite
- Limited to the Windows platform
- No option for end-to-end control and ownership of all data
- Does not support any services other than Google Docs
The most impactful factors to consider are the platforms being used by all potential collaborators, and any enterprise requirements for internalization of data.
If you’re dealing with a heterogeneous client environment, OOo2GD is the way to go. The interface looks the same across all platforms it supports, which simplifies training through consistency and uniformity; the only caveat is that you may have problems if any Mac users are running one of the versions of OSX affected by the known Java issue. If you’re an all-Windows shop, none of the above is a concern, and either option will work fine.
Some companies are hesitant to embrace cloud computing because of the inherent risks of having your data stored on someone else’s hardware, in a physical location you do not control. This would be a show-stopper for Google Cloud Connect, because all synchronized documents will live on Google’s servers. Assuming your company sets up its own internal WebDAV instance, which could be accessed by employees via VPN, OOo2GD would provide a completely self-owned and internally-controlled solution. This would allay many of the typical fears associated with cloud computing.
After driving back and forth to work in New Haven since July 2003, I’ve been commuting by train for four months now. The following is an objective document of my experiences thus far, in hopes of better informing the decisions of those who might be contemplating such a change to their daily routine. I should mention that this evaluation is from a decidedly Yale-centric perspective. Your mileage may vary. I’m also going to jump quickly from one thought to another, so bear with me.
The obvious primary benefit, to most, will be the freedom from having to compete with rush hour traffic on Interstate 95; this is especially important during the winter months, when snow often makes a bad situation even worse. You also save on gasoline, since you’re not driving as much. Normal wear and tear on your vehicle is reduced for the same reason. A monthly train pass, when purchased using pretax savings to receive a discount (a Yale benefit), is often far less expensive than monthly parking fees, especially on Yale’s medical campus. The majority of shoreline train stations offer free parking, so if you live too far away to walk or bike to them, you likely won’t be paying to leave your vehicle there during business hours. Yale offers numerous and frequent free shuttle options to and from the State Street and Union Stations. Shoreline East’s service is generally very reliable, even during this brutal winter, especially when compared to Metro North. In unexpected situations where there is an appropriate need, riders are offered a guaranteed ride home program, facilitated by a local taxi company; this compensates for the loss of “mobile autonomy” that comes with taking the train. Many riders enjoy the personal relaxation time afforded them by train commuting, taking advantage by reading (as I do), catching up on email, or grabbing a quick nap. Cellular providers’ voice and data coverage of the Shoreline East route appears to be reasonably good, with at least one unfortunate dead zone for most in the area of Hoadley Neck. You should check your own provider’s coverage map to be sure. Finally, there’s the intangible benefit of knowing that you’re doing something good for the environment, by keeping one more pollution-emitting vehicle off the road.
Being on a fixed commuting schedule set by someone else can be a bit jarring at first. It reminded me of being back in elementary school, and taking the bus. You are adding a bit of extra time on both ends of your commute, particularly on those infrequent occasions when the train is late. Walking to your job from State Street or Union Station (or taking a shuttle) also adds some extra time, and every once in a while a shuttle will be too full to accommodate any additional passengers. The bottom line is that you will probably have to leave your home a bit earlier, and arrive back home a bit later, than if you were driving. You may also have to make special arrangements with your supervisor depending on which train home you wish to catch. The Shoreline East train departing Union Station at 5:10pm requires most folks to leave their offices prior to 5pm in order to get there in time. If you do elect to walk, you may want to take into consideration the route you may have to take. The most efficient route can sometimes take you through a potentially unsafe neighborhood, and you should plan accordingly. Although Shoreline East’s service is generally reliable as I mentioned previously, those rare times when a train is significantly delayed or cancelled can be a source of major headaches; this is part of the sacrifice of personal convenience you make when taking the train. Lastly, during peak periods in the holiday season, Shoreline East trains can be plagued with occasional overcrowding by non-commuters. The aforementioned relaxation factor is usually negated during such rides.
I continue to enjoy commuting by train, finding that the positives have outweighed the negatives. Since my perspective thus far is limited to the colder months, I look forward to a time when I can leisurely walk or bike to my local station instead of driving there. I expect my appreciation for train commuting will only increase when that time comes.
For a few days already I’ve been sick of hearing about a certain delusional actor who likes to hit women and generally act like a supreme douche. But the more you people talk about him, the more you inadvertently promote him and ensure that he will eventually continue to make money off of the suffering and hateful exploitation of other human beings. Stop quoting the catchphrases, stop turning this into a meme, just let it quietly die and drop out of the media spotlight. Even that is more than he deserves.
We’ve all heard that experience is the best teacher. Before our first child was born, I heard over and over again from friends who already had children, “Everything changes. Your time isn’t yours anymore.” Now, I consider myself a logical and rational human being, capable of comprehending speech… but these warnings never really sunk in for me. I heard what was being said, but perhaps the cliched and repetitive nature of the delivery had me tuning out without really thinking. Now that I’ve been going through it myself, I’m finally beginning to understand what all the fuss was about.
As a new parent, the underlying rhythm of your life fundamentally changes; comfortable routines either vanish entirely or are so heavily modified that they barely resemble their former incarnations. Things start earlier, and end earlier. Your revised notion of “free time” consists solely of those moments when your baby is sleeping. And even then, you’re not always so lucky. Your willingness to commit to social gatherings starts to revolve around when events begin; if it’s after a certain time of day, it seems not even worth going because of all the frustration you’re guaranteeing yourself. Traveling even short distances becomes a much more complicated affair. Your prep time increases. Your list of standard equipment for such journeys grows exponentially. Sometimes, if the destination doesn’t have certain pieces of said equipment readily available, once again you find yourself questioning whether you should even bother going. And good luck if you ever find yourself waking up with a hangover. It doesn’t take much to realize that’s not really an option anymore.
I don’t preach this stuff to my friends who plan on becoming parents in the near future, because I remember how annoying it was to be lectured by bitter, spiteful “it’ll happen to you” types. And I am now the guy who catches heat for not hanging out as much as I used to, the same type of guy that I once ridiculed. I just assume that everyone will eventually go through what I’m writing about here, awash in the realizations I’ve mentioned. That process, that feeling, is sufficient; I don’t need to scornfully waggle my finger at anyone. I just need to worry about me, and my young family.
How do I define what will populate this blog? Thoughts that are too complex or lengthy for Twitter, perhaps. Ideas that may not necessarily be appropriate for a professionally-oriented forum. Or maybe just whatever comes to mind. In any event, please bear with the mind-numbing banality as I get started. I promise, it’ll get interesting soon.
- iOS Review: Fluxx
- A Conversation with Patrick Casey of Peculiar Games
- We are all wrong.
- Review: Sorcerer Kings
- Review: Wild Wilf
- Pen review: Uni-Ball Jetstream Sport 0.7mm
- Pen review: Pilot B2P
- Pen review: Kaweco Sport Classic
- Pen review: Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.3mm
- Cloud Integration Shootout: Office Suites part 2 (the Mac conundrum)
- Cloud Integration Shootout: Office Suites
- My experiences with Shoreline East commuter rail: the first 4 months.