Saturday, January 07, 2006

Out There 

My computer's acting up tonight and my Ciradian rhythm's all out so I've started to read about Web 2.0 and Ajax.

A mention of an 'Ajax Office Review' (Innerphaze, 24 December 2005) at ResearchBuzz started me off. The review focusses on word processing applications on the Web.

I thought word processing would be cool before I tried it. Wow, imagine processing words! Everything about the Internet sounded like a dream. Imagine talking to people from all over the world! How good would that be? (Yeah, imagine having strangers from overseas piss you off entirely.) Still, a word processor on the Internet naturally appeals to me, even though I'm not too sure what you'd do with it. Here, come re-write my resume! My novel sucks, fix it for yourself.

Although I use Gmail more than Eudora now, and I love Wikipedia, I'm still wondering why people want to use the Web to do work they can do on their own computers? Even though I'm a blogger, I wonder why people want all their 'stuff' out there? Feels a bit like everyone's moving their bedside tables into the front yard for everyone else to take a look at, use, and change. Maybe even doing away with your bedside table and using one provided free by a company you know nothing about.

Actually, I have thought of a non-business application for word processing online. I joined a new writers' mailing list before Chrissie and almost immediately someone suggested we write a continuing, collaborative story. We already have more characters than contributors. Every time someone adds to it, the entire story is e-mailed to the list. A member has a copy in Word format too. If we could all work on the same document, as well as the same story, that'd be so much easier. Not useful to the world at large but easier for us.

I've now checked out Writely, an online word processor that Dan from Innerphaze recommended in his article. I should be able to post my first document to my blog from there.

I do think there's a limit to how much stuff is useful to have 'out there' where you are. I also wonder about how sensible it is to entrust so much information and computer processing to companies you may know nothing about. Yes, I've leapt into a world where we don't have Word on our own computers - back to terminals! Wow, I guess Microsoft should make sure they're in on this.

And now you know what I think about when I can't get to sleep. I guess we'll find out if it helps to have it out there and not so much in here.

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