Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Microsoft Office Live Workspace

What is Office Live Workspace?

imageA lot of people are mobile these days. I am. I have my laptop with me most times so that when I want to fit in some work on my current novel or other documents I flip it open and go. But every once in a while I leave the laptop at home. The dilemma then becomes one of how do I fit some work in on those documents when the files are not accessible?

Enter Office Live Workspace.

Office Live Workspace is a free "access your documents anywhere" service from Microsoft. With the service you can store hundreds if not thousands of documents remotely, then access those same documents from any computer.

Technically, you don't have to have Office on your desktop, but the integration is quite slick, so I would recommend it. Also, the product is beta, so keep that in mind.

Installation & Setup

You get hooked up with Office Live Workspace by installing the Microsoft Office Live Add-in available via Windows Update as an optional update. I'll assume you can handle that part of the install since it really is just another update. Also, once you get into the service, you'll likely be prompted to install some updates. Go through the motions and let it install what it needs.

Now, either you already have a Live Id from previous apps you might have installed or used or you'll need to sign-up for a new one. If you've already got one, you can sign in from the Office Live Workspace home page: image

Otherwise, here's the step-by-step to get setup with Office Live Workspace.

1. Let's say you've fired up, say, Microsoft Word. Once the Office Live Workspace add-in has been installed you'll see the following dialog asking you to take the plunge with Office Live Workspace:

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2. If you click "Continue" you're brought to the following web site where you can sign up for the Workspace service.

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3. Type your email address and click "Next". You'll then see this:

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4. Go through the motions of filling in the form in order to set up your account. Good luck with the captcha—it took me more times than I care to admit to get it right.

Once you've filled out the form to their satisfaction and clicked "Finish", you'll get a confirmation of sorts:

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5. Go to your inbox and wait for the email to show up. When it does, click on the "Activate your workspace" link.

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I ran into some problems at this point. The service was fairly unresponsive (see above comment about this being beta ;-) ). I waited a bit, and finally got in:

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That's it. You're in. People familiar with SharePoint will see some commonalities here. Basically you've got a repository for storing documents and other files. You can upload files, create a new workspace for grouping files, or view shared documents if others have opened up their documents for you to see.

Save a document to Office Live Workspace

Uploading a document is easy. Let's do it through the web page first, then we'll look at how to save a document to the remote Workspace from within Word.

To upload a document to the Workspace over the web:

1. From your Workspace page, click on "Add Documents".

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2. Navigate to a file using the resulting Open dialog and select it.

3. You'll see a progress bar next to the title of your document as it uploads. The time it takes to upload your file depends on the size of the file.

4. Done. File has been uploaded:

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Now, if you're using Microsoft Word you can upload files directly from there.

1. First, sign-in using the account you created above.

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2. This is one of those times mentioned above where you'll need to install some updates. Click through until it's happy.

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Unfortunately, you will be asked to reboot. Once you've done that, open up Word again, select "Save to Office Live" again and sign-in.

3. A File Save dialog will pop-up. Double-click on the "Documents" folder (it doesn't look like a folder, but that's what it is) and click "Save".

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Give it a sec…

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That's it. Document saved.

Open a document from Office Live Workspace

Just like saving/uploading a document can be done from the web interface or through Microsoft Word, so can opening a file.

1. To open a file through the web interface, locate the "Edit" (leftmost) button.

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2. You'll be confronted with a warning about unsafe files:

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Click "OK"

3. Your document will open in Word or whatever program is assigned to open the file type you chose.

Now, to open a file stored on your Workspace through Word:

1. Select the "Open from Office Live" menu item. A File Open dialog will pop-up. Select your file.

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2. Click "Open" and your document will open in Word.

Make changes and save. You'll see the "Saving" dialog again as the document is saved off to the remote Workspace location.

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That's all there is to it. You've signed up for an Office Live Workspace account, uploaded a file to the service, opened it from the remote location, made changes, and saved it back.

Conclusion

I'm planning on using Office Live Workspace for those days when I don't have my laptop with me but where I also have some time to work on documents I typically only store there. I do have some concerns over security—I'm not going to store personal financial data out there. But as long as the service remains stable I think it will help me stay productive.

Further Reading

For more info and assistance visit the Office Live Workspace Community page.

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Brandon Sanderson: Do a WARBREAKER comparison

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Brandon Sanderson is offering his novel Warbreaker as a free download.

What I like about this particular freebie is that he's not only making the final version available but previous versions as well. That's kind of a twist. How often do you get to see what pains an established author went through from first draft to polished final?

He starts with Version 1.0, which bears a warning:

this version is very, very rough. It includes characters that I decide to cut halfway through, has some serious lack of foreshadowing for elements at the climax, and contains a lot of typos. Read at your own risk!

You can make your way through versions 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, and, finally, 4.2, the latest and greatest. He's also got a Word doc which compares versions 1 and 2 if you want to see the differences side-by-side.

Sanderson is giving away Warbreaker under a Creative Commons license. The book will be available for purchase in June of this year.

Tor Free E-book: The Buried Pyramid by Jane Lindskold

n79453Tor has another free giveaway out there: Jane Lindskold's The Buried Pyramid. This is the second book Tor is giving away by Lindskold. The first was Through Wolf's Eyes. My post about that one remains the most visited post on this site.

So what's The Buried Pyramid about? Check this out from Tor's posting:

Set in the Victorian age, The Buried Pyramid is, at the start, an archaeological suspense novel. Jenny Benet, a recently orphaned American who was raised in the Wild West before being “finished” in Boston, goes to Egypt with her uncle, Neville Hawthorne, a prominent British archaeologist. They’re searching for the legendary Buried Pyramid, the tomb of the pharaoh Neferankhotep—who may also have been Moses the Lawgiver.

Discovering the tomb is not the end of their journey but only the beginning. In The Buried Pyramid, Jane Lindskold sends us on a marvelous ride through Ancient Egyptian myth, legend, and religion and leaves us enlightened and amazed.

Sounds like an excellent adventure ride through history. Exactly my kind of book.

I'm posting this a little late, and since the free stuff is only free for so long, better go get it now if you haven't already.

Tor Free E-book: Dogland by Will Shetterly

9780765342331_ci_stdNOTE: While Tor is making two e-books available simultaneously as free downloads (this one and War of the Oaks, by Emma Bull), I am splitting them up for purposes of my Tor Free E-books Giveaway series.

Tor has reinstated their free e-book giveaway program wherein they will make available for download one free e-book per month. I don't think this continuation of the program has an end date currently, so enjoy. The only catch is that you will have to join their site as a member in order to get the downloads, and each e-book will only be available for a limited amount of time.

This month's free giveaway (along with the aforementioned War of the Oaks) is Dogland, by Will Shetterly.

Shetterly maintains a blog and where, after clicking through a couple of times, I came across this interesting tidbit from his biography page:

I live in Tucson, Arizona, with my wife, Emma Bull, and our cat, Toby, the Terror of the West. When I was a boy, I lived at a tourist attraction attraction called Dog Land that inspired my novel, Dogland.

He claims metatheism as his source of spiritual nourishment, links to a cookie recipe titled "Shetterly's Finest-Kind Cookies" that I would have tried out if only the link worked (I like cookies), and offers this:

In 1994, I ran for Governor of Minnesota and finished third in a field of six.

Hey, this guy could have been president, or perhaps vice-president.

His bibliography boasts a long list of novels, short stories, anthologies, comic books and graphic novels, and a trio of screenplays.

As far as what Dogland is about, I grabbed this from Amazon:

In late 1950s Florida, the transplanted Nix family opens Dogland, a tourist attraction, and their beliefs in integration attract the attention of the Klan. Young Christopher Nix befriends a black man and a Seminole woman who may know the real secret to the Fountain of Youth. Shetterly captures the rhythm, feel, and language of cracker Florida, its legends, and the clash of cultures.

I have to admit, not my usual. But I downloaded it for free, so I'm sure to give it the first 50 pages if nothing else.

Tor Free E-book: War of the Oaks by Emma Bull

n5613 NOTE: While Tor is making two e-books available simultaneously as free downloads (this one and Dogland, by Will Shetterly), I am splitting them up for purposes of my Tor Free E-books Giveaway series.

Tor has reinstated their free e-book giveaway program wherein they will make available for download one free e-book per month. I don't think this continuation of the program has an end date currently, so enjoy. The only catch is that you will have to join their site as a member in order to get the downloads, and each e-book will only be available for a limited amount of time.

This month's free giveaway is War of the Oaks, by Emma Bull.

Emma Bull writes fantasy and science fiction. You can read her blog here. Her bibliography (or this one) is fairly extensive, with seven novels to her name and an extensive list of short stories and anthologies. Something else of interest: she is the executive producer of Shadow Unit, an online series that follows the format of a television-style show but appears to be delivered exclusively via the written word.

She is married to Will Shetterly. Together they have scored an odd historic first: they’re the first married couple to each have a novel on the same final World Fantasy Awards ballot for one of the field’s top awards. Both Emma’s Territory and Will’s The Gospel of the Knife are finalists for Best Novel.

See the complete list of Tor's Free E-book Giveaways.