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A hands-on books about Google's suite of productivity software.

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Ok, I'm not reviewing my own book...

  • May 13, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+1
... but I will review the experience of writing it, which was great.
I got into the whole Google Apps thing since I'm a huge web 2.0 fanatic and I've managed to get many businesses to use Gmail and other Google services with success. In fact, Gmail is the only product I ever rolled out without getting deluged with support calls or problems, and there's a 'wow' factor that makes you look like a real hero (technology hero). There are many, many undocumented and interesting parts of Google Apps, which people really use and add to the stickiness. So time to write a book.

The book started as a Gmail guide but then I thought it should cover Calendar too. And then Docs. And then gadgets. And before I knew it, we were talking about the entire Google Apps suite and how to set it up. The fun parts to write were about the direction of cloud computing and the platform, and explaining how parts link to each other to get things done. The dull parts were the 'compulsory technical manual' tracts of 'this button does this, this does that', which I initially left out but was advised to add. It seems ludicrous to say, "Bold: click this button to make your text bold", but apparently you've got to do that.

It's amazing to me that people still use Outlook and pay for Exchange, and there are hoards of IT support people running around every company, but I suspect this will change very rapidly. There's an maxim in technology that adoption follows an 'S' curve: slow at first, then sudden expansion to 80%, then slow again. Cloud computing is following the same pattern and within 10 years it will be unheard of to have servers in your business. The current situation is like having to own a power station to run a toaster - it makes no sense whatsoever, and the cloud pushes all the complex, extraneous stuff into the center.

The only problem with writing about subjects like Google Apps is the rate of change. Literally, the week I published, they released Google Apps offline, which makes about 10 pages in the book irrelevant! They've made other changes too which have outdated the text a little, but I'm going to get back on the horse and write another edition next month. It's fascinating to follow a topic that requires 2 book editions in one year, but it would be nice to get a heads-up on their product pipeline.

From a personal perspective, writing a book is an interesting exercise since managing 60,000 words is complex. The lines on chapter divisions and topics change from being obvious to not very clear at all, and trying keep the style consistent takes work. Overall, though, I'm quite happy with the result and it's nice to find your name on Amazon.com. Plus, my mom's proud. :-)

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May 22, 2009
Congratulations! That is quite the achievement. So being a tech whiz, what type of computer do you recommend? I recently purchased a VAIO (but I'm find it very slow). I'm looking into a Mac for the future. Any suggestions?
May 22, 2009
Thanks! That's a broad question... I would suggest: - Dell Desktop if you're planning to use it in a static location (desktops are always way more powerful and cheaper than laptops). - Vaio is great if weight is a concern - if you're finding it slow, that sounds like you should get Sony support to take a look (if it's new). - Dell Mini is great for mobile/web-only access. - Macs have a strong following for media-intensive users and people who just plain hate Windows (which is a growing number). But they're kind of pricey. So, it depends... :-)
 
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More Getting Productive With Google... reviews
review by . September 03, 2009
posted in Social_Media
Getting Productive With Google Apps
I know, I know, most of my Lunch contributions so far have been about food, fashion and being fabulous, so please bear with me as I geek out on Lunch this one time.  If you didn't already know, cloud computing's totally the new geek buzz term.  When I first learned it a few months ago, I jokingly told my friends that I'd be dropping that term more in conversation just to sound smarter.      ....Even though I only about 80% knew what it meant.      …
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ISBN-10: 144048676X
ISBN-13: 978-1440486760
Author: James Beswick
Genre: Computers & Internet
Publisher: 415 Systems, Inc.
Date Published: February, 2009
Format: Softback
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