Back in 2009, when my students and I were discussing the possibility of bringing out an e-book on Informatics, there arose a discussion on how materials sourced from different books, libraries and online sources could be collected, compiled and brought out in the form of a CD.
Since my students were all digital natives, they were familiar with the nuances of the computer. Thus, we set about using asynchronous and synchronous forms of communication. All of us created email addresses, and we would collect materials from different sources and mail them to one central email address. We would send the revised mail taking care to mark it as ‘revised’ with a specific date to show that it was more current than the previous one.
Fast forward to 2010, we began to tinker with Dropbox. We found out that it made a tremendous difference in our storage and updating capabilities. Dropbox is one of the simplest forms of a file-synchronization tool. Whatever and wherever your computer is, Dropbox is on hand to allow access to your files and that too remarkably quickly and easily. Easy integration with iOS devices is another feather in its cap. We also found out that Dropbox made it to one of the most innovative products of that year with BBC endorsing it. An e-book on Studies in Advertising was the result.
We had also been tinkering with Writely from 2009, but it was only in 2010 that we began to take a serious look at Docs by Google. Google Docs has altered the way we collaborated. Previously, email attachments and syncing of a file was invariably complemented with a phone call and a plea to look into the revised draft. Now, all of us could sit together at an appointed time in the cool environs of our own workplaces and edit, revise, redraft, add whatever we needed in real time.
Thanks to modern technology tools, a netbook, a tablet and a laptop were able to form a triangle and bring out this book. The participants in this triangle viz the netbook [Asus], iPad [Apple] and laptop [Dell] were all sponsored by my brother and his family living in Ireland, and I wish to thank them profusely. I must also thank Shervani K, Subin Varghese who was on the other two nodes along with me. Thanks also to Dropbox and Google Docs.
Dr Premanand M E
Into the wide wide open.
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