I was very interested to pick up yesterday (on Twitter, I think) a link to a great resource, Ismael Ghalimi’s extensive list of Office 2.0 tools.

On my recent international travels, I had more than one opportunity to reflect on some of the advantages and disadvantages of online office tools versus those on the desktop (or notebook). I’m still weighing it up.

While ever I had a properly working Internet connection there was no problem with using online tools such as Gmail. The problem arose when I couldn’t get a workable connection, wanted to do some work and some of the data I wanted to access could only be accessed with a live connection. So at those times – and there were more than I had anticipated – I could, for example, check back on email items in MS Outlook, but not any of those in Gmail.

As I had BlogBridge installed as a desktop news reader I was able to do some quiet catching up on various blogs without being online. That would not have been possible with, say, Google Reader. (Actually, the experience would have been more efficient if I had updated the BlogBridge downloads more recently than was in fact the case.)

I was glad too that I could still work with Microsoft Word and other desktop tools such as the Open Office suite I have installed.

I suspect that if I’d become a very committed user of Office 2.0 tools I might have been more frustrated by the problems of Internet access than I was.

But I am still very interested in the possibilities for working more systematically with Web-based/ Office 2.0 tools and have been since, I suspect, about when I read the very informative paper, Web 2.0 for Business Advantage, produced just over a year ago by Kathleen Gilroy, CEO of The Otter Group. In that document, Kathleen listed the Web 2.0 tools she was using then:

Gmail for email; del.icio.us for bookmarks; flickr for photos; Google Calendar; Google Desktop; Google Reader as feedreader; Blogware for weblog; Google Docs and Spreadsheets for spreadsheet; Basecamp for project management; echosign for contract management.

I would hazard a guess that Kathleen, like others of us, is no longer using Blogware as a weblog platform.

Ismael’s list is quite extensive and he has broken it up into sub-lists:

  • Applications Used Every Day
  • Applications Used Extensively
  • Applications Used Occasionally

Within these sections, he lists categories of apps, with the one he uses listed first and then other products in that category. All of these are hyperlinked and there are links to reviews, where they are known, and other information on each app, including pricing where that applies.

I knew a number of the tools and I use several. Some not nearly enough – Ismael’s listing of del.icio.us as his preferred bookmarking app was a reminder to me to use it more systematically and frequently. I also found some very interesting tools I’d not been aware of previously. This is a list to get lost in for a while – happily. And hopefully to find some tools to improve productivity.

Robert Scoble has also written about Ismael’s list and says that on Monday Microsoft will be announcing something in this area.

Elsewhere I have done a bit of a rant about the fact that one of Ismael’s more favored products, the ThinkFree set of tools, is not available for me and other Australians (and New Zealanders) who are not paid-up subscribers to the big telco Telstra’s BigPond online services.

That doesn’t detract from the excellence of Ismael’s list.

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