I’ve mentioned before that I work 2 jobs in addition to writing and family responsibilities. This means that I rarely have a period of time where I can just sit and write uninterrupted, so I wind up sending files back and forth to myself from home to work and back. This wasn’t a terrible system except when I sent myself the wrong file or forgot to save the file immediately in my regular documents folder and went and made all my changes to the temp file which I then couldn’t find again… It mostly worked for me. But I was always on the lookout for something better.
I tried Google Docs but I didn’t like how if you printed it it was like a website and had the whole web address as a header. It also had some funky formatting issues and limited functionality. I recently discovered Buzzword, Adobe’s web based word processor. As web-based word processors go, this one is top notch. It has almost all the functionality of a desktop program. It actually prints exactly like a regular document with no funky formatting or headers and footers. The documents can be imported from or exported exported flawlessly to a number of major word processing program formats from PC to Mac and a few I’d never heard of. I came across it in the first place because Microsoft Word on my work computer is currently DOA and Open Office Writer won’t open docx files. Buzzword will do that. So that’s what I’ve been using at the moment. There is also a share feature, which isn’t unusual in a web based word processor, but it does allow for a comment function, which makes it very useful and practical for sharing with your Crit Partner without emailing drafts back and forth.
But even better than Buzzword was the program I discovered today while catching up on my Bloglines. Over at Storytellersunplugged, Joe Nassise posted this addition to the Writer’s Toolbox: Dropbox. This is a program made with me in mind. In Joe’s words:
Dropbox is an online service that lets you store, synch and share information from one computer to another. It will also serve as an automatic backup service for your files, should something go wrong on your end. Once you install it, Dropbox creates a folder on your hard drive. Any file you put inside that folder will automatically be synched and monitored for changes. Each time the file is saved anew, it backs up and syncs the file again. Even better, it keeps a running list of revisions, so you can always go back to an earlier version should you need to do so. You can even undelete any file that you might accidentally have trashed.
The awesomeness of this concept cannot be overstated. No more mailing myself the wrong file, saving it in the wrong folder, correcting the wrong version. This program automatically updates everything to the latest version. I am ecstatic. Anything that simplifies my life as a writer is good for me.
I started to download DropBox but got hung up on the agreements/consents in the license. I don’t like giving access to my computer and files to any other DropBox user. Is there a “public” folder and then a “private” one once you’ve uploaded files to their servers? Or is everything public? It wasn’t real clear and I couldn’t immediately tell from their screenshots.
Yeah there’s a separate public folder (which on mine is totally empty). Then you can create any sort of file folder organization system you want within the program. I’ve been using it to back up files at work for work purposes and so far really like the idea.