REVIEW: "Google Apps Hacks", Philipp Lenssen
- BKGOAPHA.RVW 20090723
"Google Apps Hacks", Philipp Lenssen, 2008, 978-0-596-51588-1,
%A Philipp Lenssen Philipp.Lenssen@...
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%G 0-596-51588-X 978-0-596-51588-1
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$29.99/C$29.99 707-829-0515 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
%O Audience i- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 361 p.
%T "Google Apps Hacks"
Currently, I'm supposed to be helping out an organization that wants
to use Google Apps in order to make documents and resources available
to its members. I can't figure it out. I could really use a book
that would explain how to use the system.
This doesn't appear to be it. The work does say that collaboration
and sharing can happen, it just doesn't tell you how, specifically, to
do it. The authors do detail how to do some clever little tricks, but
the tricks don't appear (to me, as a novice) to be very useful. The
"hacks" also appear to involve installing an awful lot of outside
software, and since this is a security group, and I'm a professional
paranoid, I'm not sure how much time I'd want to spend testing all
this stuff and making sure that it is safe.
That's chapter one. It's supposed to be an introduction, but it
demands a fairly high level of familiarity with Google Apps if you are
going to make much sense of it. The same is true with chapter two,
which addresses Google Docs (word processor). There are hacks on how
to get fancy, but no help on how to get started. Chapters three and
four, on Google Spreadsheets and Presentations, are similar.
The content on Gmail, in chapter five, is an odd mix of generic email
advice, notes for customizing Gmail, and other systems to use instead
of Gmail. Chapter six deals with iGoogle (a way to create a Web page
for yourself). The calendar, discussed in chapter seven, is fairly
basic. RSS (Really Simple Syndication or Resource description
framework Site Summary), and Google's Reader, is outlined in chapter
eight. Chapter nine notes some random functions of Picasa (for
pictures) and YouTube (for videos), whereas ten mentions various
Blogger features, and eleven talks about Google Maps, Earth, and
SketchUp 3D. Some ideas on how to promote your Website, and track
traffic with Google Analytics, are dealt with in chapter twelve.
This book is definitely not an introduction. However, even for those
familiar with Google products, the content is not organized in a way
that makes operations and tasks easy to find and use. In addition,
since the work seems to require at least an intermediate knowledge of
how the applications work, one would assume that the "hacks" would be
detailed, but that is not always so. In many cases it is pointed out
that you can do something, and then the specifics of "how" are left to
the reader to find out. Certainly there are ideas which may be of
interest or use to Google Apps users in this text, but the value of
the manual, as a whole, is questionable. Novices need the details.
Google Apps wizards presumably know all of this.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2009 BKGOAPHA.RVW 20090723
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rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
After attacking the sacred majesty of kings, I shall scarcely
excite surprise by adding my firm persuasion that every
profession, in which great subordination of rank constitutes its
power, is highly injurious to morality.
Mary Wollstoncraft (1759-1797), A Vindication of the Rights of Woman