Updates to Google Docs Are Spiffy

Yes, I said spiffy. One of the questions most frequently asked of me is how to work on documents across devices and ensure that changes made in one place show up everywhere. There are plenty of different options for reaching this result, but one of my favorites is Google Docs. In its early days, Docs was a super-stripped down word processor that primarily offered the ability to access the document from anywhere. Heavy on the access, light on the processing feature set. But Google has been steadily improving the interface and the tools, making Docs more like a replacement of your local processor, rather than a supplement. And mobile improvements are high on the priority list.

Case in point. Google Docs Blog has just announced a few nice new features specifically designed for Android, including the ability to designate certain files as available for offline access and write-ability and improved view on Android-powered tablets. For files that you’ve selected to make available offline, Docs will automatically update the changes when you enter Wi-Fi. Or manually update when you are in a data connection by simply opening the file. For tablet users, get ready for a high-definition version of your document when viewing online. Swipe left and right to navigate through pages or use the slider at the bottom for quick maneuvering.

Some people are put off by working with their documents on their phones or tablets, but I have found the ability to do so very helpful in certain circumstances. Google Docs and Android users now have even more to love about mobile word processing.

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Fresh WebSuction – For The Page, The Whole Page & Nothing But The Page

Clipping with Evernote and streamlining with Instapaper are great, but what if you want to snag the entire page in its native glory for easy, off line viewing? There’s a browser for that! Fresh WebSuction, a creation from the folks at Fresh WebMaster,  is focused on your need to download Web pages or content for viewing off-line. You can pull reference material, software files, online books, e-zines or news articles for later viewing. This can be very handy when you are about to lose your internet connection, as you board your flight to Denver. Simply navigate to the browser’s web site, enter the desired URL into the box, and away you go. The service claims it can download up to 50 files at the same time. If this sounds attractive to you, hit the link here to download your new off-line viewing browser.

 

Free, Online Grammar Tool – After The Deadline

I have mentioned a few of these automated editing solutions in the Studio before, but this one is worth a mention if for no other reason than it is FREE. It also works by bookmarklet, which I think is pretty cool. After The Deadline .   Hit the jump and access the Demo tool on the web. Paste your text in the box and hit the “check” button. You will see underlines where potential errors may lie and a click on the underlined term(s) shows the reason for the flag. The tool checks spelling, style and grammar, with color coded underlines for each change. If the quick explanation isn’t enough, you can get more from the “explain” link. There is also a bookmarklet and an extension for Chrome, and an extension for Firefox, a plug-in for Windows Live Writer, and a downloadable plug in for OpenOffice’s word processor. Very nice indeed.

If you have Jetpack installed on your WordPress blog, you are probably familiar with this tool – it is the dedicated grammar checker included with the plug in.

Check it out – it’s free, after all.

One Step Closer to Efficient Off-Line Reading

I use Instapaper, an off-line reading tool, but not as much as I should. I use Google Reader, an on-line RSS reader, but I often don’t have the time to devote the proper attention to every interesting article. In Reader, I “star” a lot of articles that I plan to go back and consume later, but many times, later never comes.

Enter InstaReader, a free plug-in that bridges the gap. Lifehacker tipped me to the tool, which can be found here. Simply feed the RSS feed from your Google Reader starred items into InstaReader on your desktop and it will automatically update Instapaper with your starred items every few minutes. Load Instapaper into your iPhone, remember to sync before you go off-line and your are good to go!