Making 2.0 tick

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What makes Web 2.0 tick? Sample this:

As I’ve said in previous posts, it’s their direct contact with the users that makes 2.0’s so much greater than the “old school” way of taking care of users. I know that as their user base increases that won’t be so easy for them, but their blogs and forums are another way for users to interact with them and with each other, and help each other along.

Another user wrote:

This kind of touch is exactly what more tech companies should have, regardless of specialty. I understand, yes, busy people can’t respond to all their email, but even getting back to some—especially if it’s on an external blog and wasn’t sent in directly—is really warm and sends more good vibrations than 100 clones of Brian Wilson in a marching band on a midspring’s dusk.

Usually, we have seen companies respond by saying, “We’ll get back as soon as possible”. At least in the 2.0 days, “As soon as possible” is measured in hours, not days. I’ll be damned if I post a query and don’t get a reply in a few hours, either in a forum, or a comment in a blog. After all, the user could be working on a presentation at the office a few hours away and requires to embed a chart. It would blow up everything if the application doesn’t respond or gets buggy; worse than that, you report the problem at the company’s forum or blog and they don’t get back soon.

Usually at Zoho forums, we reply queries and work on bug-fixing within hours. However, at times, things to go wrong (as Zoho Writer had log-in problems recently). Worse, it might happen on a weekend or a holiday (as it did), so that it might not possible to receive user feedback immediately. At times like those, we hope the users bear with us. Ofcourse, the solution lies in embracing more stable technology and we soon expect to do the same. Oh yes, unlike “Old-school”, it’ll be really soon. ;)

Zoho Writer login issue

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You would not have been able to login to Zoho Writer for the past few hours. The issue was due to the loss of connectivity between the Zoho Writer application and the database backend. This has been sorted out & you should be able to logon now. Our sincere apologies to all Zoho Writer users who weren’t able to login.

We are in the process of upgrading our current infrastructure to a new grid based technology which we believe will prevent such happenings in future.

Conversations or not

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The Economist carried a story on Blogging. And the bottomline was:

Blogging is just another word for having conversations

Tom Raftery wrote a few days back that in his blog that Blogging was starting to become monologous as some of the most popular bloggers closed down/moderate comments.

And this is what Guy Kawasaki had to say regarding comments:

7. Acknowledge and respond to commenters. Only good things can happen when you read all the comments in your blog and respond to them. It makes commenters return to your blog. This, in turn, makes commenters feel like they are part of your blog’s community which makes them tell more people to read your blog.

It is rather ironical that comments are not “wanted” anymore, because in the early days of blogging, comments were an indication of how popular a blog was! With the advent of feed readers and trackbacks, popular bloggers have decided to shut down a window; one crucial channel of communication, blaming it on the trolls. Added to that, we have spams, word-verifications, comment moderations resulting ultimately in conversation-killers. Sad and sorry state, indeed. As Tom Raftery rightly asks:

how can we now seriously evangelise the benefits of having comments enabled when some of the most prominent bloggers have theirs locked down?

Multiple Sheets and More…

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We upgraded our http://zohosheet.com service couple of days back with some goodies like Multiple Sheets, AJAX, etc.

You can now have multiple sheets (as tabs at the bottom) in a single document (workbook). This is very useful for maintaining all related data in a single document. Your already imported spreadsheets will automatically show all the sheets now. You can insert / add / rename / delete sheets. You can also refer to a cell in another sheet in the document.

We have AJAX-fied the whole interface now. Loading a document / creating a new one is much smoother and faster now.

We have also created a Firefox extension to automatically go to Fullscreen mode whenever you visit zohosheet.com. Apart from that, we have done some fixes and enhancements.

Detailed information is available on our What’s New page.

We also acknowledge that some important features such as insert rows / columns are missing and we will be adding them in our next update.

Oft asked questions in Zoho Writer

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It is high time we had an FAQ for Zoho Writer. Sorry that we haven’t one yet. Some of the oft repeated queries/requests below:

Will Zoho Writer be free forever?
Yes, there will be the current Personal Free Version and we will be charging for the Corporate Edition. For more, refer to this post by Torley & the comment left by Sridhar, our CEO.

How much space do you offer?
Zoho Writer offers unlimited space as of now. However we plan to limit this to 1 GB when we go out of Beta

Does Zoho Writer allow me to post to WordPress?
Yes, of course. The confusion here seems to be that WordPress isn’t listed in the drop-dpwn combo box. Please follow the instructions here or here for posting to WordPress blogs. Remember, Zoho Writer supports Blogger, Typepad & Live Journal blogs too.

Does Zoho Writer offer double spacing (alter line spacing)?
No, not yet. We do have plans to offer spacing options soon though. Yes, we have the option now!

Does Zoho Writer offer word count?
Word (and character) count is of course there! Type any document in Zoho Writer & click ‘Save’. Seems many of you don’t notice the pop-up bubble that comes (so unobstrusively, if I may add!) then at the right-bottom of your screen. We plan to display the word count on the click of a button too in the near future.

Support for ODT (most asked!) & RTF
We will be providing support soon. It’s there now.

I’m using Firefox. Can you use Copy-Paste in Zoho Writer?
This query is due to the fact that you get a security related alert when you try using the Cut/Copy icons of Zoho Writer. A workaround would be to use Ctrl-X/Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V (Cmd- X/C/V for Mac users) shortcut keys instead.

Make Zoho Writer available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish … (sorry if I have left out your mother tongue). Also, have spellcheckers in all major languages.
Yes, we will eventually. The highest priority for us now is to make Zoho Writer go out of Beta & we will start working on these requests from the passionate international community up after that. (Zoho Writer supports Unicode & you should be able to write your docs in your native language even now)

How do I print from Zoho Writer?
The current Print feature is ‘hidden’ well, to say the least. You have to click on Preview -> Print Preview -> Print. We will make this a lot more easier soon.

I shared a do with my friend with Read/Write access. But it is turning up as Read Only. Why?
The ‘Read/Write’ gets set as ‘Read Only’ when the members you invite don’t have Zoho Writer accounts (at the time of you sharing them a doc). This we do for security reasons. Once he/she signs up, we automatically turn this to Read/Write.

Have a single sign-on for all Zoho products. (some ask for Zoho Writer/Planner integration)
Yes, all in good time. We will be providing single sign-on too.

Do you have a question that you think we should add on to the above FAQ? Post it in the comments please. I will try updating the above & have a FAQ page put up soon too.

[tags]Zoho Writer[/tags]

Do you hate filling up forms?

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I do. Especially when I am signing up for a new service. If you see, all the Zoho services just ask you for an email ID (or a username) & a password. Can Zoho CRM be any different? Just provide your email ID and password and within seconds you will be logged into Zoho CRM on-demand service!

By the way, our On-premise Edition is also available for evaluation in your own setup.  Evaluate the full version for 30 days; if you are satisfied with the features, upgrade to the Professional Edition; if you aren’t, continue using the Free Edition (3 users only, free of cost) forever.