Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Andreas Grabner, Tim Hinds, Alfredo Diaz, Kevin Benedict, RealWire News Distribution

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Open Web

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

Google Apps: The Missing Manual

This book does a great job at capturing the core functionality of Google Apps

googleappsmissingmanualI’ve mentioned before that I run my small business, Crucial Point LLC, primarily by leveraging cloud computing capabilities. With this post I’ll mention a book that helped me do that: Google Apps: The Missing Manual.

This book does a great job at capturing the core functionality of Google Apps. However, no book can keep up with the capabilities and features of the Google Apps suite.  In cloud computing, features can be developed and fielded fast, and since Google intentionally invests in driving more and more features, a continuing stream of announcements on new functionality has occurred since I bought this book.

That said, the Manual is full of tips, techniques, suggestions and guidance for making the most of your Google Apps that remains very relevant.  Whether you are a user of the free personal/educational/non-profit editions or a business users these are very powerful tools and a book like this can help you think through ways to transform your workflow.

I’d recommend the book to anyone thinking about making the switch to cloud computing.  I should also point out that they give away some great free content from the book online at Amazon, right in the book review. For example, the following list of tips:

QUOTE:

Top 14 Google Docs Tricks

1. If you install Google Gears (http://gears.google.com/), you can edit Docs word-processing documents offline, and Docs automatically syncs them with the online version the next time you sign in online.

2. If you make other folks collaborators on Docs documents and spreadsheets, everyone can work on the files simultaneously. To invite collaborators, head to the upper-right Share button (for documents) or Share tab (for spreadsheets).

3. It’s a snap to publish documents created in Docs as blog posts—just select “Publish as web page” from the Share menu, and then click the “Post to blog” button.

4. If you want to embed a Docs presentation in a Web site, just go to the Publish tab, click “Publish document”, and then copy the HTML that appears in the Mini Presentation Module box. Paste the code into your site’s HTML, upload the revised version of the site, and voilà!

5. Google gives you a whole slew of functions to help make working with spreadsheets more efficient. For the complete list, go to www.docs.google.com/support/spreadsheets. (The GoogleLookup function is particularly nifty.)

6. If your Docs list is getting cluttered, you can hide files (documents, spreadsheets, or presentations) to keep your list clean. Just turn on the checkbox next to any file you want to hide (you can select more than one), and then click the Hide button. To make a hidden file reappear, find All Items in the left-hand menu and, if necessary, click its + sign to expand it. Then click Hidden to see your hidden files; select the one(s) you want to see in your Docs list, and then click Unhide.

7. You can easily turn spreadsheet data into all kinds of charts: column, bar, pie, line, area, or scatter. To create a chart, open your spreadsheet to the Edit tab, select the range of cells you want to convert into a chart, and then click the “Add chart” button. In the Create Chart box that appears, tell Docs what kind of chart you want to create and fill in the other info it needs, and then click “Save chart.”

8. If you create a chart based on a Docs spreadsheet, you can save it as an image and insert it into a Docs document. After you create your chart, click its upper-left Chart link and select “Save image”. Save it to your computer, and then open the document you want to put it in. Click Insert and select Image, then tell Docs where to find the file on your computer.

9. If you don’t like a change that you (or someone else) made to one of your Docs files, no problem. Just head to that file’s revision history (click File and then choose “Revision history”) and pick a previous version that you like better.

10. If you’re working on a computer that doesn’t have Adobe Reader and you need to print a document, click Share and select “View as web page (Preview)” to open the formatted document as a Web page. You can then print it from your Web browser. The formatting isn’t quite as good as if you print from a PDF—and you’ll probably have the browser’s header and footer—but all the content is there.

11. If you’ve published a Docs document as a Web page, you can make the Web page update automatically whenever you edit the document. Just click Share and select “Publish as web page”; then turn on the “Automatically republish when changes are made” checkbox.

12. To see how your Docs document will look to folks you share it with, click the Share This Document page’s “Preview document as a viewer” link. If the preview doesn’t look quite right, then go back and edit the document before you share it.

13. You can add YouTube videos to your Docs presentations. In the blue bar above the edit pane, click “Insert video”. Google opens a box where you can search YouTube videos by keyword. Find the one you want and click it to select it. Then click the Insert Video button to put the video on your slide. Once it’s there, you can move, resize, or delete it, just like any image or shape. During a slideshow, viewers can play the video by clicking the Play button on its slide.

14. When you’ve got several collaborators editing the same document all at once, have each person choose a different color for his text to help sort out who made what changes. (The simplest thing is to have each person use the same text and highlight color.) Then, when you finalize the document, simply select the whole thing and click the “Text color” button to change the rainbow of text colors to basic black.

UNQUOTE

The Amazon review also provides a list of the “Top 10 Cool Things about Gmail” and “11 Ways to Save Time with Google Apps.”

You can find many other user-focused books on Cloud Computing, but in my opinion, Google Apps: The Missing Manual remains the best.

Related posts:

  1. Cloud computing and my small business
  2. Google App Engine: CTOs should check it out
  3. A Google Knol on Disruptive Technology

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.