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with Scott Merrill
The Internet as a Platform for Collaboration
Traditional desktop software usually requires that everyone involved use the same version, on the same platform, which is not always something you can control. This can make collaboration with other parties difficult, and sometimes impossible.
The internet represents a fantastic, functional lowest common denominator for all of the different computers in use at our work and home, and at our client's and vendor's locations. By using the internet and a hosted application, anyone anywhere can collaborate.
37Signals, LLC is a great example of a company using the internet as the platform for collaboration. They offer a suite of hosted solutions you can access with almost any web browser. All the data is stored on their servers, so there's nothing for you to manage, or back up. Using nothing but your web browser, you can create a simple task list or a full-blown project plan. And because it's all online, you can access your data from work, or home, a library or an internet cafe.
All three of the solutions above are private by default. After you establish your list, backpack, or project, you can elect to provide access on an individual basis to specific users, or you can make the whole thing completely public for the world to see.
The Basecamp Manifesto is a refreshingly sensible set of core beliefs that inspired the product. These beliefs stand in stark contrast to the restrictive licensing practices of most traditional desktop application software. Likewise, the Backpack Manifesto has a clear understanding that busy people need simple, functional tools.
If you're currently looking for a project management solution, or struggling to keep track of your schedule, give one of these tools a try. TA-DA List is free. Backpack offers a free, limited use version. And Basecamp offers a free 30 day trial.
Scott Merrill is an information technology professional with demonstrated success in a variety of diverse environments, including healthcare, for-profit, and non-profit. He has participated in large-scale deployments for national and international corporations, and has successfully managed the introduction of a complete technology solution for a mid-sized nonprofit mental health facility. Scott lives in lovely Columbus, Ohio with his wife and twin daughters. He occasionally blogs his thoughts at http://skippy.net. You may reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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