Google Beef Stew, or How I Could Just Kill a Man

Ever since getting the CR-48, which I call the 4-8 to sound cool, I’ve been acclimating to a pure online existence in Google’s playground. To be sure, I’ve been able to live my life without needing to touch a desktop except for tasks such as using Teamspeak to record a podcast, or to access OneNote which is my all time favorite piece of software (hint hint Google) and occasionally, to call people around the world on Skype.

Before I get into the meat of things, you need to understand something about my online habits. It’s hard to explain certain frustrations without you understanding why it gets under my skin. First off, I don’t consider myself a writer but I write a lot. Besides pulling duties on the noisecast, I write for, write articles under a pen name, create short stories and poetry. I also comment on forums and all, you know, nerd rage must what nerd rage must. The eternal crisis of a life like mine is a set of fingers that are incapable of moving as quickly as my mind works, and not nearly enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs doing. Any blogger, business owner, college student or housewife with multiple kids understands not having enough hours in the day. So any inconvenience no matter how little tends to heat me up quite a bit. In fact, the smaller the inconvenience, the more disconcerting it is because it feels like this shouldn’t even have to be an issue.

At any given moment I’m staring at three screens. The sleek and tiny 4-8, the 16 inch dv6 and a comfortably wide 22 inch external monitor. It gives me a comfortable amount of space to spread out all my tasks and get what ever needs doing, done. Time was, my email was my central productivity tool, always logged in and open on every system I have running so that I could share with myself through email. Things got easier when I ported to gmail but the majority of my life remained on OneNote, Evernote and MS Word, so Google docs remained largely irrelevant. The time spent testing the 4-8 forced me out of that habit and left me to acclimate to Google docs.

Now I should note, I wasn’t a complete novice with Google docs. The Noisecast has been using it for months to handle the podcast logistics and scheduling. But it wasn’t my favorite choice. Like I mentioned earlier, OneNote is the piece of software around which my life revolves. So the transition was uncomfortable for me. I’ll be honest, despite missing OneNote dearly, I loved Google docs. It’s convenience is its strength. Since I already use chrome, it’s a click away and largely an afterthought. Further more, it’s passable at saving your formatting when you come from Word, though you’re better off coming from either Open Office/Libre Office or Wordpad. I began to understand Google’s frustration at Microsoft’s proprietary formats. I even caught myself in a rant about Microsoft playing nice with others, then a little something started invading my pleasant, if naive illusion.

It’s not the world that won’t play nice with Google, it’s Google that won’t play nice with the world. I have a mountain of notes on Google docs, unfinished articles and editorials, notes and a draft on a new short story I’m working on. I’ve in effect replicated all my OneNote files with Google docs. Earlier in the day, I sat down to post an article on blogger that had been pre-written on Google docs. The first hint that there was anything wrong was in the subtle ways my formatting was off. This seems silly. How can Google expect to maintain adequate formatting between Word and itself when it can’t even maintain formats between its services. So began an exhaustive process of copy/paste, erase formatting, re-format, re-copy, etc. Now, perhaps I’m being melodramatic and this only detoured me by a few minutes. I had to switch to my laptop and copy everything to Word, fix it and send it back. The irony is that Blogger and Microsoft Word work together like a dream. Almost like they were run by the same company. Blogger and OneNote work together like mashed potatoes and gravy. Why can’t Google docs and Google’s blogger play nice? Why can’t I get any love with Google docs and Word or even wordpad at least?

Now, like I said, it’s not that large of a detour. The majority of the work went into typing it, but I mentioned my problem earlier. It’s the little inconveniences that drive me the most crazy. Big inconveniences are problems you have to solve, they represent something tangible to address and many of them, you saw coming. But these little things, these annoying little things like linking every line and erasing your bullet points are subtle enough to be invisible until they add up and make you want to kill something. The amount of little tweaks and the little formatting issues I’m finding in old posts are more than I can handle. Call it an overreaction, but when I look at the mass of documents I have in Google docs that will be ending up elsewhere, like blogger, Google Engineer beef stew is looking mighty delicious right now.

The original objective of this post was to talk about the AOL Huffpo buyout. But I was derailed by this little issue. Either I need to work on my calm, or this really is as annoying as I think. Either way, congratulations are in order to Arianna Huffington. She’s the real thing, a truly brilliant and admirable woman and I have no doubt that AOL’s media endeavors will benefit with her at its head.