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Yahoo’s Zimbra email product offering has announced this morning that their Collaboration Suite is now available to educational institutions using the Zimbra Hosted platform. Basically the Zimbra Hosted platform puts the Collaboration Suite into the cloud and removes the need for local server hosting.
Zimbra Hosted utilizes Yahoo!’s worldwide infrastructure and provides customers with 99.9 percent guaranteed uptime, 24/7 support and built-in disaster recovery service level agreements (SLA). Pricing is still based on number of mailboxes and selected features. The company says they offer discounts for educational institutions.
Zimbra already has 400+ educational institutions using their Collaboration Suite locally. You can check out the full feature list here. A big difference from the crappy web-only email client we used when I completed my MBA in 2005.
Some of you may have heard of EasyBib before and you know it rocks. EasyBib is a really useful tool for putting together that dreaded bibliography. It takes the sources that you feed it, and will turn things out, in either APA or MLA format. If you’re in college, this may be especially useful for those English classes.
Last year, in my writing class I had to do everything in MLA, it was pretty straight forward. I would go through everything, and get to the bibliography. This is really the worst part of writing something like a research paper. It just takes too long.
So taking the hassle out of those big research papers, is really really nice. Though there is really one thing that bothers me about EasyBib. Using it is a pretty easy task, but the way it looks could definitely be improved.
Besides the site looking a little plain, which really isn’t a bad thing, I have no complaints. It’s really straight forward, you put your sources into a form, and click Format Citation. When you do that, you will be given the option to export as an RTF file, print the bibliography, or view the formatted bibliography directly, as a text file in the browser.
All in all, EasyBib is very useful, you can format any MLA bibliography, whenever you want for free. If you want to format it to APA, you need to sign up for the pro account. In my opinion, it is really worth the cost. They want $8 for a whole year, and you get a one week free trial.
So if you’re looking to cut down on the amount of time you spend on your research papers, or really any paper’s bibliography, check out EasyBib. It’s never gotten me a bad grade :D.
This is the first post in a series I am starting, called "Tools for Schools," it's purpose is to find the best of the best, in web apps that are useful for students of all kinds. I'm in high school, and I know that there are certain web apps that help me a lot, and I'm sure they can help college students, as well.
For my first look into the Tools for Schools series, I've decided to re-visit Writely, now dubbed Google Docs. Now some of you may be saying, oh Writely is dead, and you're pretty much right. When Google bought Writely, they lived as separate entities. But now they are all put together into one interface. It allows you to perform all of your word processing needs. There is even a spreadsheet web app. This is now called Google Docs and Spreadsheets.
So how is Google Docs useful? Well for me, I almost always have some kind of paper that I should be writing. Many times, I just don't get around to them, and have to rush through writing them at the last minute. Most teachers want things typed, and since I'm almost always rushing, I can start it at home, and finish it at school, all in the web browser. There's really no problem with carrying a flashdrive around, or having to worry about that floppy disk that always tends to pester.
I really think that having a word processor like this, in the web browser is a really nice thing to have. It allows for students of all kinds, to do their work on the go. They may be on some unknown OS and not have access to a word processor, or maybe they don't like to use one right on the desktop. But with Google Docs, you can write it all up on one computer, and if needed, switch to another. It really makes things easier. You can also work on team projects together easily. Rather than sending a word document back and forth, everyone works in the same place. Saves time and hassle.
There are a few features that are really nice. You can save, and download as a PDF, DOC, HTML, RTF, and even Open Office formats! Just being able to save on all of these formats brings Docs a lot of favorability, for me anyway.
So yeah, if you tried Writely, back in the day, when it was just getting big, I highly suggest that you check it out again. It's more stable, has a decent UI, and is just easy to use. Includes the spreadsheet app, on top of the ability to use a word processor.