Microsoft=Success; Google Docs=Fail?

I’m usually on the lookout for new shiny objects. New ways of doing things that turn out to be better than the old way. A post on ReadWriteWeb demonstrates why Google’s online word processor and spreadsheets aren’t as good as Microsoft’s stuff. Richard MacManus said it brought about one of the funniest quotes on a blog comment ever: “Google docs is chock full of FAIL.” I can see where Karim, the guy who made that comment, is coming from.

On the other hand, I’m moving my stuff online increasingly. Why? First of all I have several computers. Second of all I erase their drives frequently and installing stuff just is a pain in the behind. Heck, just finding the DVDs for installing is a pain (I’m not that organized).

Also, I need to work with people all over the world now. Some of my editors are in New York. Others are in San Francisco. Rocky is an hour away in Pacifica. Shel is an hour the other way.

So, sending more docs and spreadsheets via email is just not going to do. Yeah, I know that Microsoft has online collaborative stuff, but it requires installing Office and pretty much having Windows (half my computers are Macs, which makes going back and forth even tougher).

Is Google’s stuff chock full of FAIL? Absolutely! Hope they are listening to Karim, cause if Google made all that stuff better it’d certainly be a shiny object worthy of our attention.

Mullenweg at Northern Voice

This is the first year I’ve missed the Northern Voice conference. Real bummer, but can’t do every event every year. Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic (the fine people who make the blog software I use here) talked about blogging and social media this morning during his keynote. I’m listening to the audio recording of that now. Matt’s one of the smartest people I know, so I always listen to him to see if he’s noticing something happening that I’ve missed.

UPDATE: I’m about halfway through Matt’s speech and it doesn’t disappoint. I wish I had a video, though.

How do you add value to a rubber band?

Rubber Bands

Tonight there are thousands of college students around the world trying to add value to a rubber band, thanks to a contest kicked off last night at Stanford University, so I thought I’d help.

Next week I’ll be helping to judge their efforts. It’s Entrepreneurship Week and Stanford’s page on the week has the details.

I was at the kickoff, where they showed a movie, done by these guys (Qik video), about last year’s contest, which asked students to add value to a PostIt note.

Some of them last year came up with amazing ideas for PostIt Notes — one team raised thousands of dollars (Qik video). Remember, they had/have less than a week to come up with an idea, implement it, and document it for the contest.

The contest is really designed to get you over your fears of being creative. IE, don’t worry about showing up on Valleywag for coming up with some stupid ideas.

How many ideas can you come up with for using rubber bands? Here’s some I’ve come up with.

1. Hard drive holder/shock absorber. OK, OK, I stole this one from Ajay, a friend of mine who used rubber bands to dampen his hard drive because the road bumps were causing him problems.
2. Slingshot. Too easy and every kid has done it.
3. Cut them up in little pieces, find a way to glue them down, and you have a new road or track surface. Again, I stole this idea cause several high schools in the area have surfaces that are pretty similar to this.
4. Create a cause based on the color. OK, I stole this one from Lance Armstrong, who used rubber bands to raise millions of dollars for his charity.
5. Make “Smart Rubber Bands” by putting RFID tags into them. You can then put them around things which you’d like to keep track of. Not to mention you probably will be able to charge $50 a box, instead of only $2.

See how hard it is to come up with a good idea for a household item? It’ll be interesting to see what the students come up with. Their entries will be public by the end of next week and will be submitted via YouTube.

Got any ideas? Post them here, I’m sure some students will appreciate that.