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Old 25-Apr-2012, 01:02   #1
Acert93
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Default Best Cloud Service for Syncing, Viewing, Linking Word Documents for Student?

Situation:

I work full time and take a full class load. I have 1x desktop (Vista) and 1x netbook (Windows 7) at home. The netbook is taken to the library 3x a week. I sometimes access my files during lunch or after work (but not often). I am fed up USB pen drives and my NAS, while a nice Synology, is a bit of a bother for syncing/backup and I would like to have some backup outside the house plus easy document sharing with others.

Primary Goals:

1. Sync select files / folders to both PCs as well as to the Cloud.
2. Can share links to select files / folders (specifically for Word documents).
3. Can view Word documents online via a browser (bonus: edit without destroying my footnotes/Zotero integration when re-opening the file on a desktop).
4. Easy to use.

Bonus:

1. Word document editing (and syncing of changes without destroying formatting; e.g. I use a bit of Hebrew and Greek, footnotes, and Zotero integration).
2. Enough storage for some of my private collection of scanned books. I have a book scanner which I use for my heavier referenced books. Auto-syncing these, plus access via the Cloud anywhere, would be a nice perk. Scans weigh in at 100-200MB and I have about 100 books (30 which are scanned often). (Heh, when a tablet can view full page PDF scanned pages quickly and hold a number of such books and can hold a full days charge I will jump in… and probably get a fast scanner with an ADF and cut the spines off most of my books and digitize them all as I really prefer reading on a monitor as I like to take notes when I read.)

Super Bonus:

Some quick context: I am a theology student that enjoys research. Over the years I have struggled with a method for the best long term storage for notes and documentation. Notes are pretty important for what I do/want to do going forward. The problem has always been a format/storage one. Word is by far the best method of writing/notes as it has robust support for footnotes, foreign characters, and layout (plus I have been using it for over 20 years). With that in mind:

1. My documentation tends to fall into 4 categories: (1) Notes, Reviews, etc of Books, (2) Bible notes grouped by Book/Chapter (Genesis 1, Genesis 2, etc), (3) Topical Notes/Studies, and (4) Word/Phrase notes.
2. I want a logical way to display such locally and on the web (e.g. a page for each category above) and link to each article. i.e. An outline. The documents auto-updating to all machines and the Cloud is necessary.
3. Permanent format and complete control. (Hence my desire for Word; the DOC format isn’t going anywhere; content created in a CMS like Drupal is not easily portable and services like Blogger are a no go).

Essentially I am looking to create a “website” (for my own use and infrequently sending links to others to specific notes) with 4 Master Pages with hyper-links to all my documents.

What is the best way to do this? Create 4 documents, insert my links, make the pages web viewable and add them to my favorites? Pick up a service (Skydrive?) that allows me to quickly edit these documents online and to link them to my sync’d documents?

I have resisted using Drupal, Blogger, etc for this as the files are not really portable or a standard format—e.g. if I created a really nice layout for my 3 major categories and full taxonomy (tags) and one day, poof, the service goes so does all my work. Hence the strong desire to stay with Word. But I want to keep things very simple.

How would others recommend such?

(Note: the last hurdle I am particularly interested in how others would implement.)
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Old 25-Apr-2012, 11:12   #2
Miksu
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I can't comment on the "Super Bonus" feature but I think that the Skydrive should work well for you. It allows you to sync files between computers and you can use the Skydrive's web site to view and edit Word-documents and create new ones. With Skydrive you essentially have the Office on the cloud. You can make the whole folder or individual files "public" and send the links to your friends etc.
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Old 25-Apr-2012, 13:32   #3
Davros
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google drive has just come out
https://drive.google.com/start?conti...e.com/%23#home
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Old 25-Apr-2012, 14:17   #4
Arwin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miksu View Post
I can't comment on the "Super Bonus" feature but I think that the Skydrive should work well for you. It allows you to sync files between computers and you can use the Skydrive's web site to view and edit Word-documents and create new ones. With Skydrive you essentially have the Office on the cloud. You can make the whole folder or individual files "public" and send the links to your friends etc.
For this particular case I would also think Office365 could work well. Google Docs is great in that it is one of the very few apps I know that allows you to work in a document in realtime with multiple people at the same time even, but if you are working with existing Office documents with a complex layout I'd think/hope that Office365 with SkyDrive would be your best bet for keeping them in good shape. Haven't tried it in person yet though.

EDIT: I have now, and if you just use it from SkyDrive, you get most of the Office Apps. If you use the WebApp version of Word, then you have very limited editing options (no footnotes, editing styles etc), but it helps prevent your original document from being messed up. And if you run it from Internet Explorer, you can open the document straight from SkyDrive into your desktop Word and save it back to SkyDrive when you're done.

All in all seems like it could work for your situation.
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 03:16   #5
Acert93
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Thanks. I am going to give SkyDrive a more thorough work through with some of my research papers with Hebrew, Greek, and Zotero footnotes and see if it gets corrupted. My initial tests were positive... except the interface is a little slow.

EDIT: Any suggestions on my "Super Bonus" section? Does a handful of Word documents with hyperlinks (to the SkyDrive or would links to the local files map across to the SkyDrive and the other PCs???) seem like a logical solution or is there a better idea?
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 07:38   #6
Arwin
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Originally Posted by Acert93 View Post
Thanks. I am going to give SkyDrive a more thorough work through with some of my research papers with Hebrew, Greek, and Zotero footnotes and see if it gets corrupted. My initial tests were positive... except the interface is a little slow.

EDIT: Any suggestions on my "Super Bonus" section? Does a handful of Word documents with hyperlinks (to the SkyDrive or would links to the local files map across to the SkyDrive and the other PCs???) seem like a logical solution or is there a better idea?
If you can do relative links I think it should work everywhere. Certainly making and maintaining links works in SkyDrive.
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 08:01   #7
Blazkowicz
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I would say Dropbox as it's the most known one, and it's freeware for 2GB storage.
it's just mounted as a local folder I believe, in windows and linux (certainly in linux). so probably one of the solution which is most accessible from any device.

tl;dr see second post.

you can use whatever software or website they provide but then as it's just a folder you can use arbitrary software (such as microsoft SyncToy or rsync)
from wiki article :
Quote:
Power users have devised a number of innovative uses for and mash-ups of the technology that expand Dropbox's functionality. These include: sending files to a Dropbox via Gmail; using Dropbox to sync IM chat logs; BitTorrent management; password management; remote application launching and system monitoring; and as a free Web hosting service.[46][47][48][49][50][51]
that said if you do need MS Word integration then feel free to use Skydrive. you can just use them both and store different data on them.

that said a buddy wrote his PhD thesis using a version control system, i.e. boring stuff for programmers and software engineers. but it was a decentralised system called bazaar. he would sync his documents (thesis was written with Lyx, a human-bearable Latex editor) with any host sporting an ssh server.
you can try experimenting briefly with that. other version control systems are git (running with the help of a server or not), subversion etc. but bazaar perhaps is the simplest one.

you can organize your notes into "projects", everything can be rolled-back, you can probably dump your current working materials somewhere, you can give finely controlled access to somebody else etc.
what's funny is you can put you bazaar projects in your folder, on a server you control.. or just in your dropbox.


the royal way may be to build a website, a real one you can upload to web hosting or a VM with a web server. bazaar (or something else but bazaar is well known) would contain your website with every single one of its revisions, documents would be real html pages - maybe Word can do usable html conversions, if technically suboptimal

Last edited by Blazkowicz; 27-Apr-2012 at 08:35.
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 08:27   #8
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short answer use Skydrive , have a try at dropbox and then you can learn another solution when you get more time.

ideally you can easily migrate your arborescence between one or another, or export the public version or latest revision.
super duper bonus would be to migrate your "Word website" to the "HTML website" and have it be semi or fully automated with scripts.
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Old 28-Apr-2012, 13:00   #9
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I'm wary of handing my stuff off to these cloud services as it seem part and parcel for the companies running these things to award themselves right to use your stuff for whatever whims they themselves see fit, just by you clicking OK to their terms of use. I would use some kind of encrypted virtual drive software first, and then mirror the resulting encrypted drive in the cloud, to prevent this kind of abuse of my rights, especially as it seems particularly muddy if they'll actually release your stuff if you delete it from their storage or not...

And of course, if any authorities want to look at what you've stored there, it's just handed out without ever telling you it happened. Not that I'd ever store anything that was illegal in a cloud, but just the principle of it all is rather offensive IMO...
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Old 30-Apr-2012, 01:39   #10
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Skydrive was awesome since they give you 25GB. Google got all this fanfare for what? 5GB or something.
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Old 30-Apr-2012, 15:53   #11
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Grall if you store an encrypted blob on a skydrive or a dropbox, when you want to share some of the files you have to hand out encryption keys and a procedure with links to the needed software.

not exactly convenient . in fact managing the keys, while not the most difficult problem on earth, was thought to be so cumbersome that the US military or paramilitary just beamed unencrypted signal from the drones over Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the "terrorists" could eavesdrop on them if they had the suitable hardware.

just to be sure, don't store private or political material on these "clouds", use your own resources or do the encryption dance. why not.
but for a collection of church and biblical 19th century books bought in thrift stores, no one gives a fuck. random joe doesn't give a fuck and three-letter agencies give even less of a fuck
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Old 30-Apr-2012, 16:24   #12
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Acert, you specifically asked for no implementation details but here's how a geek uses Bazaar, I put it here for reference.

http://rickvause.com/2010/06/an-alte...x-using-bazaar

basically, a computer geek with knowledge in the linux command line, simple scripts and how to get open source software (it's an 'apt-get install foo' or something) will use such a solution, and think of it to be the simplest one. there is genuine simplicity there, and othogonality - it works the same whether you use a local or remote folder, or tricked your OS into thinking a skydrive or dropbox is just a folder like any one.
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Old 03-May-2012, 06:05   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blazkowicz View Post
Grall if you store an encrypted blob on a skydrive or a dropbox, when you want to share some of the files you have to hand out encryption keys and a procedure with links to the needed software.

not exactly convenient . in fact managing the keys, while not the most difficult problem on earth, was thought to be so cumbersome that the US military or paramilitary just beamed unencrypted signal from the drones over Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the "terrorists" could eavesdrop on them if they had the suitable hardware.

just to be sure, don't store private or political material on these "clouds", use your own resources or do the encryption dance. why not.
but for a collection of church and biblical 19th century books bought in thrift stores, no one gives a fuck. random joe doesn't give a fuck and three-letter agencies give even less of a fuck
I dunno. Religious texts... if you have the *wrong ones* you might have some trouble
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