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Acrobat.com: A Replacement For Other Office Applications?

Acrobat.com: A Replacement For Other Office Applications?

Acrobat.com

    At first glance, Acrobat.com doesn’t seem like anything special. We’ve seen Buzzword before, of course. And we’ve seen all the various Google application, as well. Acrobat.com can’t have anything new to offer, right?

    Adobe Buzzword

    Like I said, Acrobat.com looks like a pretty version of every other set of office applications out there at first glance. But that impression fades very quickly. Really, Adobe Buzzword is pretty much the only similarity to a true office suite — Acrobat.com isn’t offering spreadsheets or PowerPoint slides. The time they might have spent on such endeavors has gone to Buzzword, and the application is a solid product. Adobe picked up Buzzword last year and turned it into the centerpiece of Acrobat.com

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    Adobe Buzzword has the standard offerings of most online word processors — Share your brilliant prose with your friends! Watch edits happen in real time! Access your documents from the furthest corners of the globe! You know the drill. But even the great Google missed a few points on Google Docs, a lesson from Buzzword has learned. Most important for shared documents is the addition of version control. It’s surprisingly easy to revert to that version you thought you saved over in Buzzword — less so in most other applications. When using Buzzword, controls for such things as commenting are simply more intuitive than Google Docs and its ilk. I keep comparing Buzzword to Google Docs for a simple reason — I use it quite a bit. I started using Google Docs because, well, it’s pretty well integrated with Gmail. But I’m a bit tempted to make the changeover.

    Create PDF, Share & My Files

    Off to the right hand side of Acrobat.com are three tools that seem to have the same sort of presentation as Adobe Buzzword. These three, however, haven’t been given the Adobe name. Create PDF, Share and My Files have a bit of the little brother feel — they just don’t seem to have gotten as much love growing up.

    Create PDF has a bit of a stunted feel to it. Sure, it’s a great tool if you don’t have Acrobat — just upload a file and hit one button to get a PDF. But Adobe has limited users to five PDFs (this month? this year? ever? It doesn’t say). Five PDFs really isn’t a lot. Adobe’s suggestion for users who need more than five PDFs isn’t exactly helpful, either:

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    If you need more than 5 Adobe PDF creations, we recommend you purchase Adobe® Acrobat® 9 software to get the full power of PDF creation on your desktop.

    Share has a bit more flexibility, although it too has limits. For those of us constantly sending big files, Adobe’s document sharing tool could come in handy. Users get five gigabytes of space for free, making for a simple way to share sizeable files. There will probably come a point for most users when they have to start removing documents in order to put up new ones, but I consider that a workable solution. But what I really like about the Share function is the fact that each file gets its own unique website address, making it trivial to embed documents in your website.

    Arguably, Share and My Files are the same tool. My Files is just a file organization system and Share is the icing on the top — permissions for those files. They use the same five gigs of storage. Adobe has also put some restrictions on My Files that extends to Share. Most importantly, there is a long list of file formats that cannot be uploaded and therefore cannot be shared. Executable files, music and video files and archive files are all forbidden.

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    Adobe ConnectNow

    Beyond Adobe Buzzwords, the other selling point is Adobe ConnectNow. It’s a conferencing application with all the bells and whistles: screen sharing, whiteboards, audio and video. This is the free version, so users are limited to three people. Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro can handle plenty more, but with a price set significantly higher than free.

    As long as you’re planning a small conference, ConnectNow can be a good option. The user interface is fairly intuitive. My dad could probably figure out which icons to click to start a video conference or to upload a file, although I won’t go so far as to claim that my grandmother could handle it. There isn’t anything I haven’t seen before in an online conferencing application, though.

    The Verdict

    Tempting as Adobe Buzzword’s version control system is, I don’t think I’m going to take the time to transfer all my files over. Buzzword is nice, and the rest of the tools on Acrobat.com are useful. But they aren’t quite innovative. I’ll keep my login and might have a few group projects that I’ll run off of Buzzword, rather than Google Docs, but I have no reason to make a full change over.

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    I’m ready for the next great thing in web applications and, sad to say, Acrobat.com isn’t it. The interface is very well-designed, but there isn’t anything that really makes it stand out from all of the other application suites out roaming the internet. I don’t really object to the restrictions that Acrobat.com places on users (though I’d appreciate a clear explanation of a few points). It’s free and you get what you pay for. But Adobe has made several applications in the past that I was willing to pay for, and I’d hoped that Acrobat.com would be a little more in line with that quality.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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