A while back, I wrote about pursuing something called Techno-bliss. I had described it as a system where you imagined a perfect technological system built around a primary goal My own version of Techno-bliss was a workstation that could live on several machines, using the majesty of the cloud and google docs. In the time since, my needs have gotten a little more specific, and recently I’ve discovered a home-brew, mobile, lightweight and (most importantly) free word processing system that I find very useful. Before I describe it, I should explain why the existing solutions don’t cut it for me, and what I want in a “perfect” system.
Up until recently, I’ve been exclusively using Google Docs as my primary word processor. It fulfilled a few of my criteria for the perfect word processor: Instant Saving, Cloud Storage, and Exportability. When introducing Google Docs to a new student or faculty member, I always show it off by explaining that “the computer [they are using] could explode, or melt underneath [their] hands – and their data would be saved up until the last few seconds.” In the event that their file needed to be a specific format, Docs has you covered there as well. Any system I used would have to be accessible from multiple computers, just like before.
One big downside? Google Docs lives in the browser. Editing in-browser is a great idea, until your notification extensions alert you to the presence of a new email, or Facebook refreshes with an update, or you remember that Reddit exists. A truly productive word processor shouldn’t necessarily live in the most distracting thing my computer has installed in it!
Google Docs also currently lacks any kind of offline capabilities. The ability to edit a document offline (despite how rarely you might find yourself in such a position) is a major function that I do not find in the Google Docs editing suite. This might be me trying to have my cake and eat it too (after all, what good is the cloud if you have it offline?) but there are significant advantages to *also* having a local copy of a file when you need it.