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Day 11: How Google Docs Saved My Life...and Not

I experienced one of the primary benefits of working with Web-based apps and cloud-based file storage today

Google Docs saved me today. OK--"saved my life" is a tad melodramatic and sensational. No, it didn't give me the Heimlich Maneuver, or prevent me from seeing that Rebecca Black video, but it did enable me to roll with the punches and remain productive even though I am not using my primary computer today.

Let me explain. I have been working from a different office lately, and yesterday when I left I decided to just leave my laptop there rather than carting it back and forth. Then, this morning there were some adjustments in the social calendar and a change in plans which caused me to stay home and work.

Had I been reliant on solely on Microsoft Office and locally-stored files, I would have been screwed. I would have had to drive over to the office just to get my laptop and bring it home. But, because I am immersed in the 30 Days With...Google Docs experience, I was able to just jump onto the next available computer in my house, log in to Google Docs and get to work,

I had access to half-finished writing projects I had started yesterday--all nicely organized into my various collections. I could start writing from virtually any PC and when I get back to the office tomorrow all of those files I created and worked on today will be there waiting for me. There is something to this cloud thing.

To be fair, I could accomplish pretty much the same thing with Microsoft. I could use Microsoft Office Web Apps and save my data to the SkyDrive. I could even use Windows Live Mesh to automatically sync data from a local drive on my laptop to the cloud and back so that I would still have my data even if I wasn't connected to the cloud. But, that is not the way I normally use Microsoft Office, so had I not been doing this 30 Days With...Google Docs project I most likely wouldn't have been able to work today without going to retrieve my laptop.

I did have an issue, though, as well--an issue that I still don't really have any explanation for. For some reason, my Google Docs page would not update today. The first document I created worked just fine, but I noticed on the second one that--although I had given the document an actual name--it displayed simply as Untitled Document.

I was using Chrome, and I thought maybe it was a browser specific issue or some problem with cookies, so I tried looking in Internet Explorer 9-- same thing. Firefox 4--same result. I checked out my wife's Google Docs on her computer, and it seemed to work just fine, so I thought it must just be the laptop I was using, so I checked from my iPad--same thing.No amount of browser refreshes or system reboots seemed to make any difference. Finally, I decided to move on. There was a file I had started earlier that was not appearing on my list of files in Google Docs, but I assumed it was still there somewhere. So, I did a search for the file name and when I typed "blog_051111" suddenly all of my files from today showed up. Weird.

The issue is still not resolved, though. Once I cleared the search field and refreshed the Google Docs page, the files disappeared once again. If anyone has any ideas (Google--are you reading this?) feel free to send them my way. Not only would I like to fix it, but I am very curious to get to the root cause of why the issue is occurring to begin with.

Day 10: Organizing Files in Google Docs

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