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Author Topic: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz  (Read 5377 times)

Steven Avery

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collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« on: August 31, 2014, 01:55:03 PM »
Hi,

A complex field.  Lots of issues like mobile sync, response time, support, etc.

I'm working with a small company (small in # of people, about 5 total involved) where sometimes we are a distance away and a good collaboration software would be helpful.  It should not be too complex a project management paradigm, more a notes-task-calendar + paradigm. The task manager paradigm (e.g. Toodledo and Producteev-Jive) seems a bit limited.  The company works with WooCommerce and is probably replacing the Method CRM.

btw, we are using LuxSci now for the email, which has been a good move. They have built-in collaboration software, but I really don't see using too much of it, in this case. Partly because of the multi-threading aspect, it is hard to be in the email and notes at the same time. (Maybe two instances?) Also while functional, it is not elegant. We also are not too interested in the Google and Microsoft environments.

One place many of them seem to be weak is simply having an easy to get to RTF note document related to each "task" or "item" or whatever.  If it is RTF you can color-code who is writing, and keep things nice and condensed compared to the "discussion" format (which has its own limited place).

Asana is an example of a good program that is working with "comments" that use keystrokes for bold, etc. Not yet a real editor, otherwise a nice looking program. They will probably improve it in a while, yet still comments to be documents have to be re-editable.

Proofhub is so far my leader.  Bitworks24 is a sleeper that might be very good.  On a test account I set up today they have some nice features.

Podio was nice but did not fuzz me warmly enough. HyperOffice I might check. PBWorks is a nice program, but a little difficult for this use. Smphonical. Azendoo. Flow I have to check, likely too tasky. There are many others.

I really want the collaboration NOT to lose the "read and improve and enhance this note" aspect, which is a good way to think and work (think RightNote, KeyNote-NF etc.)  The great weakness of many of these programs is losing the simple clean note paradigm.

=============

Even if there was a collaborative note program that had some features, or if RightNote or TreeDBnotes etc have a good server edition, that would be a real possibility. Their hosting or mine.  They could work with the X-Y axis of folders and tabs and good searching. In fact, consider that a separate question. Any good web note programs, or server editions?

Ok, I'm looking at WizNote
http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=36909.0

Also I noticed something about Onenote Cloud stuff, that might be interesting.

Your thoughts?

Steven
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 02:27:05 PM by Steven Avery »

mouser

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2014, 02:41:22 PM »
Have you tried google docs?

Stephen66515

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2014, 03:12:54 PM »
Have you tried google docs?


We also are not too interested in the Google and Microsoft environments.

40hz

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2014, 05:02:40 PM »
@SA - Q: Just to clarify - the client piece wants to be running under Windows - but the backend not be a Microsoft solution?

four_cups.jpg
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 05:09:25 PM by 40hz »

Steven Avery

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2014, 08:42:55 PM »
Google Docs I will try more.  I wouldn't mind using it sometimes as a word processor to go to HTML to the web, an alternative to my current Atlantic Word Processor which is desktop.

It just seems to be so integrated with google drive, and I like DriveHQ with a real file manager, maybe I am missing some app or widget or something.

Even at the best though, for the biz needs, it seems like it would only be a fair documents in folders with search solution. Very limited.  I always find google trying to do too many things, other than the one I want to get done. :)

I'm not automatically non-google and non-MS, OneNote in the cloud might be good, (downloaded Wiznote too) it is just that you are really winging it without true support and without the most cohesive program for the job. (Although Google docs may be A-1 for cloud docs, and also the spreadsheet we are using already, although that has its own questions.)

Let me reiterate that ProofHub seems to be reasonably acceptable. The docs were funny, visible enough, and ruled lines with two sizes of font, and various RTF.  Unusual, yet good enough, especially seeing how weak, so far, most every web app is in the shared docs areas, i.e as part of task, calendar etc collaboration tools.

There are so many alternatives it is hard to narrow it and then try them out and find the gotchas.  I'll probably spend some time with both ProofHub and Wiznotes now and see how they fit (Wiznotes maybe become my personal Rightnote-style program in the net, even if it does not feel comfy for the biz, the China syndrome is always a concern.)

Steven
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 09:03:26 PM by Steven Avery »

IainB

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2014, 09:20:32 PM »
If you are considering Google Docs, then you could consider EtherPad (Etherpad - Wikipedia) and its other derivatives:
http://etherpad.org/
http://piratepad.net/
http://sync.in/
http://meetingwords.com/

http://typewith.me/  - seems to be defunct now.

superboyac

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2014, 02:15:21 AM »
I've used wiznote for collaboration, and it worked out really well.  My only complaints were superficial gui issues.  i don't know about the rtf feature you want though.  I'm guessing evernote is also very similar, perhaps less powerful.

If rightnote had a collaboration feature, I'd be all over that.

onenote is awesome, but my problem with onenote is that you really have to commit to using it, and if you don't like something here or there, tough.

If I were you, I'd start with Wiznote, then look at others.

tomos

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2014, 08:26:22 AM »
I've used wiznote for collaboration, and it worked out really well.  My only complaints were superficial gui issues.  i don't know about the rtf feature you want though.
[...]
If I were you, I'd start with Wiznote, then look at others.

WizNote (a PIM from China) - Mini-Review + Provisional User Forum
(going for another look myself)
Tom

mahesh2k

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2014, 09:16:56 AM »
I prefer asana for task collab, google docs for doc collab and evernote for notes (though not worth for collab)

40hz

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2014, 11:42:40 AM »
I don't know if Zoho would work for you. They have a very comprehensive collection of 25 apps that cover most business, productivity and collaboration requirements. I have two clients  heavily vested in it. The only problem is the completely à la carte pricing schedule. While one or two apps are generally affordable for small groups, the monthy per-user fee adds up pretty quickly if you're not careful. But you can add and drop products and users as needed. So if not everybody in the group needs something, there's money to be saved by only buying what you need for whoever needs it when it's needed. A good example is the Meetings app. Some of my client's customers like to web conference - so when they have a big project in from one of them, they add the meeting module for their employees and the client's reps that will be participating. When the project is finished, they drop it till next time they need it.

Zoho offers free trails (2 weeks if IIRC) of all their products. So it's easy to see if it will work for you. All said, it's a very nice suite of offerings.

I personally don't care for it. But my two clients love it. YMMV. :)
« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 01:03:26 PM by 40hz »

Steven Avery

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2014, 03:56:21 PM »
Hi

I poke in an out of Zoho at times.  I know the actual document writing is fine, although not necessarily snappy. I have to see if the structure can be made pleasant. Similar situations with Ubernote and PBWorks, which have different paradigms, without the note at center.

What I am doing now is watching the collaboration videos, also looking for references to Rich Text Editor or RTF in the reviews, by google searching, stuff like that. There are a lot of lean and clean collaboration project and task management softwares, however they seem to consider actual editing (even e.g. similar to a web forum, I am not talking about all the word processing things) to be a non-issue. I think they might be lazy and not want to check which RTF implementation they can integrate. After all, they would, I think, only have to do API coding, or whatever it is when you embed an RTF editor.  That is why the lack is surprising.

I'm also looking at this review article from 2012, which has a cloud section, although it is not collaboration oriented.

The Best Apps and Cloud Services for Taking, Storing, and Sharing Notes
http://www.howtogeek...g-and-sharing-notes/

Springpad and Springnote are defunct.

Listhings looks like an alternative to compare to Google Keep for an online sticky page.

WebAsyst I had looked at, may flunk the rtf doc test, will check.

Penzu looks cute, the RTF editing function looks similar to ProofHub, ie. limited yet acceptable, however it is not collaboration software.

Evernote .. dunno, I never took to it in the past, worthy of some consideration.

Not included:

Wiznotes is a sleeper, discovered here. Maybe the best, putting aside the China Syndrome.
Onenote, again dunno, how is the cloud implemenation.
Ubernote - maybe the main one not included that is right in the genre.

Steven
« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 04:19:14 PM by Steven Avery »

40hz

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2014, 04:42:23 PM »
Wiznotes is a sleeper, discovered here. Maybe the best, putting aside the China Syndrome.

Not exactly an inconsequential consideration these days. Having something written and hosted in Communist China is almost as dangerous as parking it in the USA.

Quote
Onenote, again dunno, how is the cloud implemenation.

I personally think OneNote is vastly overrated. But it's a paradigm thing with me. How a big sloppy freeform notebook helps people keep organized is beyond me. For creative use, brainstorming, a junk box for rough notes and snippets...possibly. But for keeping a complex project on track? Not my idea of how to do it.

That said, the web implementation actually isn't bad. OneNote is one of those things (like Outlook) that seems to make a lot more sense with a big web-enabled server standing behind it. I use OneNote (reluctantly) because some of my clients use it. They're real diehards who put the time in to master all it's little nuances and quirks. (Of which there are far too many AFAIC.) But these same people are pulling down solid 6 and 7-digit salaries most of 'em (they run a private hedge fund) ...so what do I know? :mrgreen:

Microsoft will give you a free 30 day on Office365 complete with all the fixin's. Best bet is to check it out and pound on it. For a certain class of business requirements, O365 is pretty hard to beat. If you don't fit the model of the user Microsoft went into it with, it's another story. (You really can't customize it easily. And some parts you just can't. Period)  But if you're one of the business cases Microsoft designed Office 365 for, rest assured it will serve you very well indeed. If you do subscribe, pay the extra to get the plan that lets you install the actual Office software on your PC. That way you have on and offline capabilities. And it really doesn't cost that much more. It's $12.50 a month with a 12-month subscription. You can pay up front or month-to-month . But month-to-month cost $15/user if you do.

Steven Avery

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2014, 09:42:45 PM »
Hi,

One excellent thing that came out of this search.

It looks like Listhings
http://listhings.com/  
(they need to show you a better picture - my board already would be far better than what I find on the net, however it has phone #s etc.)

can be my main note program, working with a sticky paradigm, yet with more sophistication. Colorful notes, multiple pages (i.e tabs) and bold, italics, etc. ie. No real RTF (so it is limited, not for my style of writing and research) but the  colorful notes and background, combined with bold usage for titles is good enough for quick note - reminder - capability. Has overlap capability. Has some features like checkbox capability and auto-arrange that I have not used.  

They mention collaboration, that may be a function of simply using the tabs==pages harmoniously.  Each person has a "to" page or topics get a page, stuff like that. However, they do have a "share" button, so I will see their thinking. Maybe I can set up a view page and then invite people to see, with a url, who do not have edit capability.

Apparently, the pro model makes them some revenue (there is a page discussing the sale of the site and company for the modest $20K in 2012, it began in 2009) from people who put pictures up there at $2.50 a month. That seems fair enough if you are using listhings as your all purpose sort of showcase or collaborative notes.

I just tried an upload and it goes like this:

"You can upload files of up to 3 MB each. Become a Listhings Pro user and upload files of up to 12 MB each, and get 5 GB disk space for images. That's enough for 5 million medium-size photos. $2.50/month"  

So maybe I can upload my smallish .jpg screenshots even in the free version. Yep, it works! And, since my pics tend to have print, I can stretch them by normal mouse stuff to make them readable at the size I want.

In structure, it works a lot like Xerpi, which is my top-down url program (linkman is my down-up program) with many pages, in terms of the tab==page structure.

Really fine app.

Apparently Google Keep and some extensions like Dashnote for Chrome are the other players in the field. Do we have a thread on net sticky pages? Also there are sticky programs like Internote that work on web pages that I have tried to like, that is a totally different field anyway.

To me Listhings seems to be a start to bridging the gap from stickies to regular (Rightnote) stuff for the small pages filled with notes. Rightnote, or the cloud attempt equivalent, then becomes the large text (articles, research) use only.

Steven
« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 09:56:49 PM by Steven Avery »

Steven Avery

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2014, 03:55:35 PM »
Hi,

At this point I am revisiting Zoho and HyperOffice.  Since both have a real document motif, along with folders, storage, and additional functions like tasks and chat and discussions (a la carte tricky in Zoho) and seem less confusing that the Microsoft and Google environments, they may be the best for this type of light-to-moderate collaboration.  At least you know you can make a nice RTF document and place it in its natural spot and then find it later.

Steven

allen

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2014, 04:59:06 PM »
Not the silver bullet you're looking for, but what has worked for me the last year or so is Draft for collaborative document editing and Asana for... well, everything else.

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2014, 08:49:43 PM »
Not the silver bullet you're looking for, but what has worked for me the last year or so is Draft for collaborative document editing and Asana for... well, everything else.

Thanks for that... Draft looks quite cool!  I've been using StackEdit and Yarny for my online editing... that looks like it's going into the same toolset.

Steven Avery

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2014, 09:30:01 AM »
Hi,

Draft though is markdown, and I'm spoiled with RTF.

A few dead ends.

HyperOffice has a reputation for opt-out recurring billing.  That is ethically challenged.
UberNote has a big ad on the left, unless you go to premium for $80/yr, and seems to not be vibrant enough the last year or two.

So Zoho is on for now.

Steven

40hz

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Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2014, 10:37:22 AM »
So Zoho is on for now.


Much as I'm not a big fan, if I were putting together a project team or a small creative endeavor today - with a limited budget and on very short notice - I'd most likely go with Zoho or Office 365. Office 365 for your standard "business' sort of operation. Zoho for creative/research/education/activism efforts.

Zoho also because most of the people I would end up doing non-biz things with with are either primarily Mac or Nix based (you know they type ;D ) - so missing Microsoft's weltanschauung is not a problem. That lack might even be considered a "plus" by most of them.

If 'real' world considerations necessitated 100% Microsoft compatibility for certain things (i.e. grant applications, financial filings, interfacing with legal or government entities) we can always spring for a single Office 365 subscription and set it up on a PC to be used as/if/when needed. Since the people I usually work with all know each other, we're very comfortable "hoteling" whenever we team up on a project. Saves huge amounts of time. space, and money.

Ah the joys of networked technology...  8)

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