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Author Topic: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)  (Read 9709 times)

superboyac

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Hi everyone, a friend and I are working together on a project.  I'm wondering what you guys recommend for collaboration tools.  I already know about Google Wave, you don't need to mention that.  I don't want to use it even thought it's good, because I can't print or anything like that.  Basically, you can only use it inside of Google Wave itself.  So let me describe what I'm looking for.

There's a lot of emails going back and forth.  So, instead of finding them in our inboxes, I'd like to store them easily in some of collaboration center, that can be accessed through the internet somehow.  The other thing we'd share are other documents, audio files, video files, etc. Anything.

Now, my simplest solution so far is to use HFS and just create a folder where I can dump all the files in (even email message files).  However, it would be better if the files can be viewed on the web also, rather than just hosting a bunch of files.  Google Wave would be perfect if not for the printing and all that.  Is there any desktop software that can do this, or help out in some way?

Another idea would be to share a MS Onenote notebook.  But I haven't looked into that yet.  From what I hear, the MS Office Live capabilities aren't full featured yet.

Google Docs?  Possibly.

My ideal solution would be a software that runs on my desktop where I can drag my desktop files onto it and organize there.  Then, I can sync it with something that sends it to a website.  On the website, you can view the contents right there on the site itself.  Even better would be if you can edit everything on the website.  Add things, modify things.  But desktop applications usually offer better options and features for that kind of thing, so it's not a must.

So, let me know what has worked for you, what you like to use, etc.  Please don't tell me to google this or browse here.  I'm doing that now.  I want to know your experiences and what you have used and enjoyed.

Paul Keith

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2010, 04:46:23 PM »
Never participated in online collaboration so I don't have first hand experiences for these services:

Dropbox is the easiest one I can think of and was my first thought rather than Google Wave.

Depending on the size you may need to open up a separate account and re-invite each other to get a bigger space for free.

Zoho also has lots more collaboration features than Google setting Google Wave's specific real time elements aside.

If it needs to be public or semi-private - Ning Alternatives are potential options.

http://delicious.com...hk=&context=main|&fr=del_icio_us&lc=

Zerista.com looks to be the most interesting because of it's mobile capability however it's limited early beta.

The others have their bugs and quirkiness from what I read and it's difficult to narrow down anything without bugs. If you trust your files with Ning, you could probably pay for that.

As a social networking service they have forum + attachments, audio, video, gallery last time their free service was open. (and you could set the network as private)

There are also tons of web operating systems but again, I'm not sure which have evolved to really be viable for collaboration.

JavaJones

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2010, 05:31:44 PM »
Use Zoho with Zoho mail to handle your emails and Zoho docs and all the other features to do everything else. Other alternative is Dropbox but it doesn't really address the email issue. If you don't want to use Zoho mail exclusively you can  setup a forward from another account based on tags so you can partition mail on this project as separate from your other mail.

- Oshyan

superboyac

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2010, 05:34:41 PM »
I thought dropbox just allowed you to sync files?  I didn't know it does anything more than that...

I've been thinking about it...how's this for an idea:
Is there an application out there where I can drop a bunch of files into the website, and the website can display the contents?  Kind of like a universal viewer for all sorts of TYPICAL documents. Very typical documents like pdf, word, excel...nothing too out of the ordinary.  There must be something like that, no?

JavaJones

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2010, 05:40:57 PM »
Dropbox does just sync files, but if you use files to put your data into, you can both have access. So you could share a bunch of Office/OpenOffice files, and maybe drop email (EML) files or something in there as well. The email sharing/documenting is the trickiest part of all of it IMO, and I think Zoho might have the best solution for that in that it's a separate but integrated mail system in their suite.

Google Docs will basically do what you describe as far as document viewing and even editing. It's not necessarily as easy as drag-and-drop to put the files up there, but it's not rocket science either. And it sounds like you want to edit the documents anyway, which no "website viewer" that is "displaying the contents" will let you do. You need an online office suite pretty much, and that limits your options.

- Oshyan

superboyac

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2010, 05:50:17 PM »
hmmm...Microsoft Sharepoint?

i don't think I'm interested in dropbox.  If i want to share files, i'll just use HFS.  Also, I don't want my friend doing anything more than visiting a website and logging in to see all of our files.  i don't want him downloading to his computer and then viewing it.  Firstly, he's not a supergeek user like me.  Secondly, he's going to be on a Mac a lot of the time.  Basically, i want to do all the administrative work of placing files here and there and organizing stuff.  I just want him to go to a website and be able to read word files there, excel files, text files, pictures, emails, etc.

Sharepoint looks interesting.

Paul Keith

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2010, 06:22:17 PM »
For pure documents, this recent discount on Office Drop was my first choice but you did say audio and video: http://www.appsumo.com/

I'm not sure how credible it is though but appsumo is generally a site with good reputation.

If you're looking for some form of private read-only type uploading of files, you may take a gander at Posterous.

It's a blogging platform that transforms your attached e-mail documents to Scribd documents and the real problem is that Scribd is a public site if I'm not mistaken but the blog itself can be made private.

http://posterous.com/help/private_sites

It should be the same as other private blogs except as far as I know, Posterous allows for a person to only use their e-mail without needing to have an account in Posterous itself:

http://blog.posterou...-now-email-lists-too

Quote
Those contributors don't even need to create accounts in order to post or comment.
 
When any contributor posts to the site, we'll send that entire post, including all the images, to the contributors. They can then reply to that email to add a comment to the post. And as before, those comments get emailed to all contributors.

superboyac

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2010, 10:14:58 PM »
OK, I've been looking into this a little more.  Sharepoint is a bit much just for two people.  Is there something like Sharepoint that's open source and simpler?  Basically, I'd like to be able to host the server at my house, or on my dc website (if possible).  I don't want to use a service.  I want control of it.  Do any of you know anything like that?  Something like Google Wave that i maintain myself on my home computer or my own website?

iphigenie

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2010, 06:50:29 AM »
being extemely lazy here, but I have a ton of these kinds of tools bookmarked, from open source to free to commercial, self hosted to desktop to cloud...

could be of use

http://www.diigo.com...n&sort=relevance

superboyac

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2010, 09:27:34 AM »
being extemely lazy here, but I have a ton of these kinds of tools bookmarked, from open source to free to commercial, self hosted to desktop to cloud...

could be of use

http://www.diigo.com...n&sort=relevance
I'll check those out, thanks.

Last night, I came across twiki...maybe that's one way to go.

JavaJones

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2010, 02:31:36 AM »
What you want isn't really "collaboration" then, more like a secure information sharing platform. Collaboration implies two-way editing, with you as not the only editor.

Anyway, if you want to preserve the original file formats I'm not sure there's a way to do that and allow them to be viewed without being downloadable. Google Docs or Zoho come closest though because you can share with view-only access.

HFS is two-way only in a rudimentary way because you need to use a simplistic file upload box to upload files (for remote users). But if that's enough for your needs it may address the "file sharing" aspect, though not the "docs without download to his computer" part (see Gdocs, Zoho).

On the other hand if all you need is a place to share *information*, not necessarily particular formats or existing files, then a wiki or CMS might be the way to go as you can maintain control, set permissions on pages granularly, etc. If unique design is not important you can setup many CMSs very quickly and easily to do this, e.g. Silverstripe or Concrete 5.

- Oshyan

superboyac

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2010, 10:48:35 AM »
On the other hand if all you need is a place to share *information*, not necessarily particular formats or existing files, then a wiki or CMS might be the way to go as you can maintain control, set permissions on pages granularly, etc. If unique design is not important you can setup many CMSs very quickly and easily to do this, e.g. Silverstripe or Concrete 5.
Actually, the last day or two I've almost settled on twiki.  I just want somewhere to dump all the information, but it needs to be able to display media also, like photos and videos.

JavaJones

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2010, 03:51:13 PM »
There are wikis you can embed photos and videos into. Not sure if Twiki is one of them though. Zoho offers a hosted Wiki solution (and all the other tools I mentioned of course), which does allow media embed: http://www.zoho.com/wiki/

- Oshyan

kartal

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superboyac

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2010, 01:39:13 AM »
Maybe try this one?

http://www.collanos.com/

or this

http://www.collaber.com/
I've installed twiki right now (with the help of gothic).  It's a little overwhelming for me.  If I can't understand i in about a week, I may have to go for something easier to use.  I like collanos, at least the idea of it.  It doesn't seem to do what I want it to do as far as flexibility, but it's the right idea.  Nice simple interface, doesn't seem to be too intimidating.  But I want something more like a bulletin board.

If I could get the Onenote interface EXACTLY as it is and put it onto a website, that is precisely the thing that I would love.  That would be just perfect.  I'm sitting here and thinking about it, and that's exactly what I'm looking for.  I want Onenote that can be accessed through the web.  Well...except with the ability to embed videos and other content I suppose.

superboyac

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2010, 02:16:26 AM »
OK I am having a hard time understand things about Onenote, Windows Live, Sharepoint, and whatever else goes into trying to share Onenote online.  If anyone can explain it in simple terms, please do.  I've googled around quite a bit and tried finding something easy to understand, but haven't found anything.

Goal:
Share a Onenote notebook online.  I want to access the notebook from the web directly, even if Onenote isn't installed on the computer.  So that means I'm not simply looking to sync a notebook.  I actually want the application available through the web.

I've heard I can use Office Online or Windows Live or something.  I haven't tried it yet, but I probably will very soon.  it sounds like Windows Live would be hosting the site, however.  I'd prefer that the site was hosted independently, let's say on the same server my website is currently on ( dcmembers).  This is the part where I'm confused.  I don't think it's that easy.  Would Sharepoint or something need to be installed on the DC servers?  If so, that sounds like it would be out of the questions since I doubt Sharepoint is running here on DC.  But if Windows Live works well, that would be fine.  What's even better is that I can do all my editing directly on my Onenote local installation, and sync it to the web.  The important thing is being able to read the information.  What's less important is being able to edit online. Again, there's only two people involved, and I'll be doing 99% of the editing most likely.

I want this because I really like Onenote's ability to just plop in information and move it around here or there.  It's brilliant.  It's like a whiteboard with little clumps of text, pictures, video, etc. around everywhere.

superboyac

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2010, 03:30:05 AM »
Ugh...Office Online using Windows Live doesn't work so well.  Not nice at all.  I'm disappointed.

Perhaps Evernote Web is going to be the way to go.  I hate moving to cloud computing without having control on where the information is stored, but in this case, it may be perfect.  Zaine!!  I may be putting one foot into your world!

I've stuck with the old Evernote standalone 2.2 client for a long time now.  I don't use it much anymore, though, since I've moved to InfoQube for most of my information storage.  I still use Onenote for a whiteboard...and that's about it.  Evernote Web...sigh...ok, I'll give it a go.

[edit]
Evernote v3 is quite nice, I have to admit.  I still don't like the idea of cloud computing in general, but it's necessary in this case (collaboration).  And Evernote does a great job with it.  I think I have found my solution, this is going to work great.  It's easy to get the content in there, very easy.  And it can be accessible to my Apple friendly buddy.  How nice.  Goodbye twiki.  Man, I didn't realize how hairy wiki's are.  They are NOT easy to use at all.

Speaking of which, I still feel there is a huge market out there for the kind of website creation that marek talked about here a while ago.  An easy way to organize content.  Take the wordpress model for blogs and apply it more generally to basic content management, and really focus on file organization and stuff.  I think that's what I keep returning to.  Wordpress is getting better and better at that, however...
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 04:11:03 AM by superboyac »

superboyac

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2010, 02:55:34 PM »
Evernote 3 is very nice.  That is my solution.

There is only one thing I don't like about Evernote: you have to use their servers to host all the collaboration.  If they made it available as a separate download (the server stuff), we could install it on our own servers.  but then they would probably lose out on their subscription revenue.  It's nice that they offer a free version, but it would be awesome if they allowed you to host your own.  It would be a brilliant collaboration tool.  Still, minor nitpick...the way it is is really nice.  i doubt I'll add enough notes to go over the 40 MB a month limit.

You know, that's my only problem with cloud computing.  I like the idea of cloud computing, but they should all give the option to install the server side software on your own servers.  Then the revolution really begins!  I've just now pinpointed what I don't like about cloud computing...because most of them HAVE to host your information.  There's no other choice.  Now, with gmail, for instance, they host it but they also offer free POP access, so that's a good solution also.  But for all these other ones, they should have a server side software download, like Wordpress, the various wikis, etc.

But their business models must heavily rely on the subscription part.  Because it allows them to charge a monthly fee, which is where the real money is.  If they allowed the download, it would turn into a normal shareware model...you pay for it once and you can use it forever on your own server.

Sorry for blabbing, but this was just a mini-epiphany for me.

superboyac

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Evernote's version updates are done in a weird way
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2010, 09:21:25 AM »
So, I'm back to using Evernote after not using it for a couple of years.  They have a really strange way of doing updates.  They went from version 3.1 to 3.5.  You would think that everything in 3.1 would be in 3.5, but NO.  In 3.1 you can import your old v2.2 database just fine.  In 3.5, you can't do that yet.  That's weird.  Also, the interface was completely overhauled between 3.1 and 3.5, which is also strange, but not unprecedented.  What's weird is that in this latest update, they took some features out.  Why?  But it sounds like they plan on putting them back in.  It's just a strange way of doing things.  I've never really understood the whole idea of removing features as a software gets updated.  Just leave them in.  If anything, hide them in the preferences or something.  Taking features out is never a good idea for programs.

steveorg

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2010, 07:20:10 PM »
I just started looking at Insightly, which is a free Google App add-on. It provides so much more than collaboration. Actually, collaboration seems to be just a built-in side feature. I've only been playing with it for a couple of hours, but so far I'm impressed. Here's what the Google App listing says:

Insightly: Free simple CRM and Project Management
by Insightly

Insightly is the most popular CRM and Project Management package for Google Apps. Track leads, proposals, opportunities, projects and manage files, all through an easy to use interface.

Track leads, proposals, opportunities and projects
Full history of customer interaction
Central shared contact list

Simplify business management with Insightly for Google Apps.

FEATURES:

* Access Insightly via Google Universal Navigation
* Track leads, proposals, opportunities and projects
* Assign tasks, attach files, tag important items, and get email reminders.
* Full history of customer interaction
* File sharing with full versioning control
* A central shared contact list
* Real-time search of everything
* Email Drop box integration
* Safe, secure, and private

BENEFITS:

* Track your projects, customers, and tasks without buying expensive software
* Utilize existing Google Apps accounts
* Keep a comprehensive history of all your customer interactions inc. emails, phone calls, and meetings.
* Track projects with milestones and tasks
* Very easy and intuitive to use. No training required!
* Searching as you type across all data within Insightly
* One address book for everyone within your company, online and shared.
* Integrate with your existing GMail email
* Single sign-on through your Google Apps account
* Great file sharing capability
* Includes SSL security essential to business

JavaJones

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Re: Recommend collaboration software (over internet, offline or online)
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2010, 07:25:03 PM »
Steve, that sounds very cool! I had looked at ManyMoon before as a GApps integrated project manager, but I hadn't found a CRM tool with that level of integration. Thanks for the recommendation.

- Oshyan