Monthly Archives: November 2014

Online collaboration tools for effective Virtual Communities

I am continually searching for tools and new technologies that I can use to build virtual communities and to more effectively collaborate with colleagues in diverse locations. While email is still a useful tool for communicating, it’s functionality is quite limited. I’ve done a little bit of research to try to discover tools that can extend the range of functions available to me and enable closer more productive working relationships with people in my far-flung networks. Here are some of the results that I have gleaned from various sources.

I have, for some time, been using Skype, Dropbox, and Google Docs, but have not yet tried some others that appear below.

I am eager to have readers contribute by providing comments and suggestions of their favorite tools.

Checklist of Features

  • Action Planning
  • Brainstorming
  • Contact Management
  • Content Management
  • Discussion Board
  • Document Management
  • Email Integration
  • Group Calendars
  • Instant Messaging
  • Project Management
  • Task Management
  • User Access Controls
  • Version Control

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6 Free Easy-to-Use Online Collaboration Tools – Make Teamwork Simple

From Trendblog: http://trendblog.net/6-easy-to-use-online-collaboration-tools-make-teamwork-simple/

Dropbox

Dropbox is probably one tool that we use most for collaboration. With this little software, we are able to have access to all our documents, files, articles and everything else.

As we are all tech junkies, we own quite a few pieces of technology, including multiple notebooks, tablets and smartphones. And we can access our files from each gadget we own. Dropbox is compatible with all popular computer- and mobile platforms. There are native apps built for Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, Android, iOS and Blackberry. Also, you can access your Dropbox from the internet browser. Check out the Dropbox system requirements.

If you aren’t using Dropbox for teamwork, you should definitely consider doing it immediately. This tool allows you to create so-called “shared folders“, which will appear in every team member’s computer. Any file, which has been uploaded to those folders, can be accessed by every person with access to it.

Make sure to check out our post about unusual ways to use Dropbox and how to get more Dropbox space for free!

Dropbox is a must-have for everyone. Seriously.

Screenhero is one of the best tools for screen-sharing&  voice chat collaboration.

For instance, if you are working on some kind presentation or any other document, you can simply share your screen with your team and work together on your screen. With Screenhero, all participants will have their own cursor on your screen and will be able to edit documents.

Skype

If you happen to be in the same situation as us, Skype is probably an application, which you never close. For me it is the most used application on my computer.

All internal communication within the trendblog.net team happens via Skype, either through IM Messaging or video-calls. In spite of being separated by at least 1.500 miles (2.500 km) from each other it seems like we are sitting together in one office.

Google Docs

Sometimes we need to work on one document together at the same time. With Google Docs you can do that very easily; This tool allows you to create online documents, presentations and spreadsheets. You don’t even need to have any office software installed – everything happens right in your browser or via the mobile app for iOS and Android.

Just create a document and share the link with other people. Now you can edit the document together at the same time in live-mode.

Google Hangouts

With Skype you can only video-chat with 2 people for free. And that’s the reason why we sometimes use Google Hangouts. This tool allows you to have a video-conference with up to 100 people for free.

The new Google Hangouts are great to keep all your communication in one place and synchronized. For the sake of testing the new Hangouts we have ditched all other online communication tools. Make sure to check out our review.

Trello

Over the last few months we have tested pretty much every free team/project collaboration tool out there, including popular ones like Asana and Podio. After trying them we didn’t really feel that these tools were making our lives easier. Instead, managing our projects has become a complicated chore.

But there is one tool out there which is different. Trello uses a card-based system for keeping your project overview as simple as possible. You can create custom columns like “To-Do” or “In Progress” which you will use to organize individual tasks. The tasks will be then added as a small card to the column. For each card you can set a due date, write comments, assign people to it and many more.

Asana, Podio and alike are made for managers. Trello is made for people.

One especially great thing about Trello is the user experience. The interface is very simple to use. For example, you can drag every card from column to column (i.e. after completing a task) and assign people to the card by dragging their profile picture onto the card.

Also, Trello probably has the best mobile and tablet collaboration app out there. The experience is exactly what you would expect from an app, with many features taken from the system it runs on. For example, you can delete tasks on your iPad by swiping them to the left, which will reveal a red “delete” button. This looks very much like the native iOS deleting feature. All of these combined make sure that your learning curve is as smooth as possible and you won’t get a headache while using it.

Check out the video below for a demonstration of how Trello works.

Comments

I will also add http://www.binfire.com which combines most features the above six apps have in one package.

Great list and as owner of a start-up, I would recommend Dooster. It takes care of all my virtual collaboration needs. Check them out www.dooster.net

Thanks for the detailed post . I would like to add iCoordinator Free. You can add read more and register it here. http://www.icoordinator.com/bl…

Also have a look at www.proofhub.com/. It is a great online collaboration and project management tool that makes handling work easier, faster and better.

These are some good tools. But we use Drum (http://thisisdrum.com/) which combines all of the collaboration tools into one easy to use (WebRTC) browser based tool with no downloads. At the moment they allow you to use it for free which is an added bonus!

Thanks for the list. I agree with the usefulness of most of the tools you listed excepted for Trello. Trello is fine but I think it lacks a note taking feature. For people having many meetings like most of white-collar professionals, a good note-taking feature is a must-have. This is why I prefer using Beesy (http://www.beesapps.com/beesy-… ). me, that has a dynamic note-takign feature from which all the To-dos, calendar, project management feature are updated and managed. More generally, I think all-in-one apps like Beesy are the best tools if you want to get more productive.

Some great tools there Daniel! We have been using a tool called Drum (http://thisisdrum.com/) here at CIM with a couple of the additional ones up there. Dropbox has been a good place for us to centrally store reports etc. However we use Drum to host our web meetings and collaborate on documents. There hasn’t been any need to download anything and everyone can join. Its also free which has been an added bonus for our budget!

Just a couple of tools, which we use in our team:

Evernote for knowledge sharing.
https://www.box.com/ instead of Dropbox
http://casual.pm/ instead of trello.

I will also add http://www.binfire.com which combines most features the above six apps have in one package.

Get “vegucated”

I recently had occasion to view the documentary film, Vegucated. I’ve followed a mostly vegetarian diet for several decades but still this film taught me a few things and provided a reminder of a some others that I had forgotten. It did this in a way that was often amusing,  sometimes poignant, and occasionally shocking.

Here’s a  synopsis of the film from the official website:

 Here is a trailer for the film:

Jon Stewart’s bodacios commentary on US policy on ISIL and the Middle East

Jon Stewart is always good for a few laughs. Like court jesters of old, he has a delightful way of critiquing the actions of the power structure. Watch this:

Your food and your safety, health risks of the industrial food system

There is very little that I buy from major supermarket chains, and when I do buy something, I’m careful to read the labels. As a general rule, I avoid anything that contains artificial colorings, flavorings, or preservatives. The giant food corporations want us to believe that everything the put into their products is safe, but the overwhelming weight of evidence tells me otherwise.

There are many websites where you can easily find credible information about specific additives. One that I have recently discovered that goes into other health issues, as well, is Nutrition Facts by Dr. Michael Greger M.D.

Here is a short video on the commonly used preservative, sodium benzoate.