Archive for August, 2008


Create PDFs on the cheap [Google Docs]

Acrobat PDF creator is one of those applications I think should be free.  In some cases, PDF documents are the only way to distribute documents easily.  There is the fact that not everyone uses the same productivity suite.  There is also the new format change for Office 2007 which makes reading ‘new’ documents on an ‘old’ XP machine difficult.

Don’t get me wrong, Adobe needs to keep the lights on, but they have a whole suite of products to keep them afloat.  Not to mention they have premium Acrobat tools (more than just creating a simple PDF) and the Adobe Interactive Forms suite to keep Acrobat alive and kicking.  Adobe Interactive Forms allow businesses to develop forms that mimic an existing layout that communicate with their backend ERP systems.  This allows the business to implement technology changes with minimal impact to field workers.

I thought I’d share my online PDF creator approach that also fits with my slow transition to an online-only productivity suite.

To get your documents as PDFs follow these few steps:

1) Login to Google Docs and upload your existing document – they cover Word and Powerpoint

Upload File to Google Docs

2) Click on the document to enter ‘change mode’

3) Navigate to File -> Download file as -> PDF and save when prompted

Download file as PDF

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Google Analytics Makes Login Easier

As with a majority of the web-publishers (if you can really call me that), I use Google Analytics to track visitor stats. It’s simple to implement, easy to use, requires almost no server load and best of all it’s free. My only real complaint about the service was that it required me to login again even if I was already logged into other Google services. Obviously not a major issue, I’m more than willing to do that for free access to such a great service, but it was just a productivity buzz kill.

I started noticing the changes Tuesday morning when I logged in and was immediately excited. Google announced the new streamlined login Tuesday night on the Google Analytics blog.

Now to play the devils advocate. I appreciate the change because I hated pausing to enter my password again but I’m not sure why they couldn’t take it one step further and take me right to the main landing page. If it’s for security reasons, I’ve got to say there are other services that use the Google single-signon that I’m more worried about if my account is compromised.

Also, if you visit Google Analytics without being logged into another Google service you now have an additional step. Now, you have to click the ‘access analytics’ button which will determine you’re not logged in and then you have to enter your Google credentials.

All in all, I think it will save me some time because I don’t often visit Analytics first thing (I tend to be an email person followed by RSS reader) but I’m not exactly sure what the engineers where thinking when they ok’d that approach.

Here are a couple screenshots of the new login approach:

Google Analytics Streamlines Login

Google Analytics Streamlines Login

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Google Apps Experiencing Issues

I think I’ve said it before, but just in case you haven’t heard, I’m a big fan of the Google productivity suite.  I use their email, calendar, photos, documents…I think you get the picture. Well, when a few friends and I decided to start an investment club the logical choice for an easy to set-up website was Google Apps for your domain.  It allows us to easily share information, administer users and experiment with things while we decide what we want our more permanent solution to look like.  All in all, it’s worked pretty well and the group members love it.

Tonight, as with most nights, I login to check club activity and make sure things are working smoothly.  I have a lot of faith in Google but based on my experiences at work, a random check up here and there can save you in the long run.

Much to my surprise, I was greeted by a message that said my users may have issues using Google Apps – specifically the email application.  I like that I was warned and luckily we all still keep our own personal email addresses, but I was still pretty shocked.  While implementing the site I read several of the forums and there are a lot of people that use Google Apps for ‘mission critical’ purposes.

I will say though…at least they warn you.  It was nice for them to let me know I may get some crappy emails before they actually made it to my inbox.  I tried to get an image of the problem but I’m on the road (Dallas, TX this week) for work and well…my company issued computer is pretty worthless.  I apologize for its quality in advance.

Google Apps Issues

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