Author Topic: Google Docs?  (Read 4270 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

johnmurdock

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 48
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • John D Murdock, Stage Manager
  • Affiliations: AEA, SMA
Google Docs?
« on: May 13, 2009, 12:12 am »
Was wondering what everyones experiences have been with google docs, I seem to find more and more companies liking that I use this.

Was curious about other SM's experiences

Thanks

John

c45207

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 12:53 am »
Well, you need a persistent Internet connection to use Google Docs. (Google Gears can help, though) At my university, this wasn't a problem. We also used Google Calendar to host calendars for cast/crew/production. After the show closed, the cast told me that they really liked being able to see the latest calendar from anywhere.

Personally, I don't like trusting my data to a third party like Google. Call me paranoid and send some tin foil.

I prefer to use a combination of local programs (Word, Excel, TextEdit, &c.) and a Subversion repository to share documents and keep track of older versions. I do work with a lot of very computer-savy people, so the steep learning curve of Subversion hasn't been a problem.

PSMKay

  • Site Founder
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1354
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • http://www.smnetwork.org
  • Affiliations: None.
  • Current Gig: SMNetwork *is* my production.
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 02:14 am »
I prefer to use a combination of local programs (Word, Excel, TextEdit, &c.) and a Subversion repository to share documents and keep track of older versions. I do work with a lot of very computer-savy people, so the steep learning curve of Subversion hasn't been a problem.

Wow, it had never occurred to me to apply a CVS or version repository for collaborative editing of office documents.  Good idea.  Although you're right, it would be tricky for those without serious computer chops.  My coworkers would not be able to handle it, so I will have to just live vicariously through you!

c45207

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2009, 09:01 am »
Quote
Wow, it had never occurred to me to apply a CVS or version repository for collaborative editing of office documents.

It works fine for collaborative editing, but not so well for concurrent editing. Since Word/Excel files are more than just text, there are issues merging together the concurrent changes of multiple users. However, I tend to do 90% of the editing myself...

missliz

  • Superstar!
  • *****
  • Posts: 569
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Personal Site
  • Affiliations: AEA
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2009, 09:12 am »
I love google docs/calendar. It's been especially helpful in scheduling time in the space (for ex, I put in when we're rehearsing, and if the TD wants to come in and build, he can book his time) and for things that are constantly updated, like prop tracking. I think it helps keep everyone on the same page (no pun intended) about what's going on. Everyone can update at their leisure and we know everyone is looking at the same, most recent version of a document.
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

KMC

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 962
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Current Gig: Project Manager, Systems Integration
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2009, 09:19 am »
Was wondering what everyones experiences have been with google docs, I seem to find more and more companies liking that I use this.

I love this discussion.  I'm fascinated by the way people communicate with each other, and the way we use technology to communicate information.

Google docs is what it is.  For those who haven't used the service before - it is a free service offered by Google.  Essentially you can create, edit and store documents, spreadsheets and presentations.  The documents are centrally stored by Google and are accessed remotely via the internet.  So as opposed to the standard of editing your documents in Word, Excel, or Powerpoint, you edit Google docs in your web browser. 

The service has some glaring drawbacks as well as glaring advantages.  In my opinion, the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks in certain situations.

Advantages
  • Free -  No cost, at all.  If you wanted to throw everything into Google docs, you could do so and never worry about purchasing Word or Excel again.
  • Centrally stored -  No need to worry about flash drives or CDs, and if you switch between computers no need to worry about having the most updated version.  You can access all of your documents from any computer with an internet connection
  • Collaborative - You choose who has viewing rights and collaboration rights to your document.  Anyone with collaboration rights can edit the document at any time from any computer with an internet connection.  If you're editing at the same time as someone else, the document will update itself with your partner's changes as you both edit the document.  This happens in near real time.   
Disadvantages
  • Centrally stored - Yes, this is a disadvantage as well.  Google owns your data.  Google offers many free convenient services such as documents, google 411, maps/earth, calendar, etc...  The convenience factor in a lot of these is out of this world and the documents and calendar service is a fairly major paradigm shift in how we communicate electronic data.  These aren't just for kicks though.  Google's primary revenue stream is advertising, and these free services are used to refine their advertising engine and build their advertising database.  Any information you volunteer to google is going to be subsequently combed by their advertising engine and indexed for content and location (IP address).  Example - if you've got a document stored that says "I love pizza!", you're likely going to be seeing more pizza ads on the internet.  c45207 touched on this in a previous post and it's definitely something you need to think about before you begin using this service.  This is the major drawback of this service.
  • Connectivity - It does require internet connectivity, but this is becoming less and less an issue as our culture becomes more connected.
  • Formatting - We all love Excel's powerful formatting tools, and I'm sure at some point we've all spent far too much time fussing over a small formatting detail.  Formatting in google docs is fairly limited relative to what most of us are used to, though it has made some significant strides since the service's inception a few years back.  There were at some point some difficulties with maintaining formatting while printing.  These may very well be resolved by now, but a simple workaround is to save the google doc as a .pdf file and print that.


I love the service for little tidbits, notes and documents that require some collaboration.  Something like a rehearsal schedule or production calendar where multiple folks need to access the document and have input highlights the advantages of the service.  Something sensitive like a contact sheet, medical forms and financial information highlights the disadvantages.  Don't want google indexing everyone in my cast's email, phone # and medical conditions or my personal finances.  I'm sure as a large and well-respected company they've got some fairly stringent ethics policies about what is used and what is not, and who has access to what, but I prefer to keep sensitive information secured.

I'd be nervous as a company to use this as a primary source of document storage.  There's a lot of stuff I would not want others to access.

Ultimately I think this service definitely has a place in the market, and over time we'll see some of the disadvantages of the service resolved.
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

BLee

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 151
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • BrandyLee Hatcher, SM
  • Affiliations: University of California-Irvine, Graduate SM, Class of '13
  • Current Gig: Assistant Stage Manager at Disneyland Resorts
  • Experience: College/Graduate
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2009, 12:47 pm »
Last summer I did an internship where the festival data was all stored on Google. Everyone created a google account upon arrival and each department could see the main calendar and each department was able to update their own personal calendar. It worked fantastically to keep everyone up-to-date and made everyone aware of any changes to the major schedule asap.

We also used the powerpoint for training, the word feature to type up memos and made to do lists, the excel feature to keep track of our personal budgeting, equipment tracking, etc.

I found that Google worked best in our situation because there were two dozen or more people who needed continuous access to the most up-to-date information. Had we solely relied on daily updates we would of all been behind the times. Plus it saves paper and energy (as the ASM intern I didn't have to always take time to run across the festival campus to find someone immediately).
XX. The only valid excuse for missing one's cue is death.
-Proverb from the Techie Bible.

johnmurdock

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 48
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • John D Murdock, Stage Manager
  • Affiliations: AEA, SMA
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2009, 03:27 pm »
This is super, i do agree the biggest drawback for me is that some of your formatting that you spend time finessing is lost once its uploaded to google docs.

SLY

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 24
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Sheena L Young
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2009, 05:15 pm »
Most theaters I work with at the very least use Google calendars...I like that! But for some reason I just can not get with the google docs. I believe its because as mentioned before, I lose some of my formatting. I just probably need to use it more.
Everything you can imagine is real ~ Pablo Picasso

EFMcMullen

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 126
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2009, 07:48 pm »
I would concur.  The loss of formatting on files produced originally in Word or Excel makes it useless to me.  If I could upload a file just for storage and it could be downloaded great, but I haven't figured out a way to do that.  And I guess since I work with a company with a server, it doesn't seem necessary.



Mac Calder

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 970
  • Gender: Male
  • Plan for the future, live for the now
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: Live Performance Australia / Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance
  • Current Gig: Technical Director
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2009, 08:46 pm »
IMO, you need to look outside the box with google docs - upload documents with basic formatting only - font size, bold, underline, italics etc.

Best used for collaborative works. For example, I can put a simply formatted contact sheet up there and send out an email that people should check their details and update them, then just before first rehearsal I can download it, format it, print off a pretty version for distribution and leave the old (utilitarian) version up there for people to ammend.

When you want to send something pretty, make a PDF and upload it.

So as an example:

Contact information - upload as a spreadsheet
Minutes of meetings - upload as a PDF
Production information - upload as a PDF
Appologies list/unavailability list - upload as a spreadsheet

etc etc etc

The main benefit is that anything uplaoded will look the same on almost any PC out there... The same cannot be said for a .doc file on a public file share.

BLee

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 151
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • BrandyLee Hatcher, SM
  • Affiliations: University of California-Irvine, Graduate SM, Class of '13
  • Current Gig: Assistant Stage Manager at Disneyland Resorts
  • Experience: College/Graduate
Re: Google Docs?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2009, 10:34 pm »
The main benefit is that anything uplaoded will look the same on almost any PC out there... The same cannot be said for a .doc file on a public file share.

I might dispute that only because many of Google documents, sites, etc. will chance slight format on different sized computers. I can't remember if it was a problem on the documents specifically, but I do know that some google features conform to the size of the screen it is being shown on.

It would be interesting to test this further.
XX. The only valid excuse for missing one's cue is death.
-Proverb from the Techie Bible.

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
10 Replies
5685 Views
Last post Apr 11, 2007, 04:43 pm
by zayit shachor
5 Replies
2924 Views
Last post Dec 04, 2014, 12:45 am
by loebtmc
23 Replies
7387 Views
Last post Jun 07, 2016, 12:22 am
by kdshort1

riotous