Google Calendar Sync & Sites

image If you have stayed current on your Tech News, you have undoubtedly heard about Google Sites. For those unfamiliar with the Google Site’s service, I’ll provide the Cliff Notes version. Launched February 27, 2008, Google Sites is a wiki platform targeted towards small and medium sized businesses. The service has been made a part of the pre-existing Google Apps service. Google Sites is essentially a re-launched version of JotSpot, which Google purchased in 2006.

What makes Google Sites unique is the way it integrates a wiki like platform with things like documents, spreadsheets ,presentations, calendars, and even video (YouTube). Some have compared Google Sites with other collaboration tools such as Microsoft SharePoint. While both are considered collaboration tools, I personally feel that SharePoint is much more robust than Google Sites. Of course one element Google beats Microsoft on without question is price. A public SharePoint site can prove incredibly costly, whereas Google Sites is FREE. After playing around with the service myself, I’d compare Google Sites to a service more like Central Desktop than I would SharePoint.

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NewsGator & FeedDemon Now Free!

image Over the last several years the number of CAD blogs, and blogs in general, have multiplied many times over.  Back when there were only a handful of CAD sites worth visiting, it wasn’t too tough to manually visit each one on a periodic basis.  These days that number has multiplied many times over, as there are a countless number of blogs worth visiting.

One challenge that comes from so many great sites is keeping up with them all.  Most modern-day blogs out there have what is known as an RSS Feed.  By subscribing to the RSS feeds of the sites your frequent, you can be notified as those sites are updated with new content.  A program or utility known as a "Feed Reader" is actually what will notify you of a new post.

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Free Tools for the CAD Manager/User

Those who read my last post, “Inserting DWG’s into MS Word or PowerPoint” may recall the mention I made about PDF Creator.  Since it seems many of you were interested in that tool, I thought it may be appropriate to share some other tools that I have used and/or know about.  If you’re a big web surfer you have likely read a number of Top 100 Free Utility lists.  It’s not my intention to litter this post with so much excess baggage.  Instead I have tried to keep this list as concise, and as relevant to CAD users as possible.  Even to that end, I know there are probably many more free tools than included on my list which a CAD user may find helpful.  If you would like to share such utilities, please do so by leaving a comment on this post.

PDF Creation

  • PDF Creator – I have found this tool to be one of the most versatile free PDF creators.  A couple things which stand out to me is the ability not only to create PDF’s but also PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, and EPS.  Better still is the way you can plot to a logical sheet size like Arch D as opposed to some pixel resolution.  Another interesting feature is the way you can combine multiple PDF’s into a single PDF.
  • CutePDF Writer – If all you need to do is create PDF’s than this tool is second to none.  It’s both quick, lightweight, and FREE for both personal and commercial use.

Online Meetings and Web Conferencing

  • Yugma – This is an awesome alternative to services such as GoToMeeting or MS Live Meeting.  If all you need is a basic online conference room this tool is perfect.  For the audio portion they have recently teamed up with skype, and they also provide a free conference line (non 1-800 number though). More advanced features are available through their reasonably priced paid plans starting at $9.95/month.

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