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June 1, 2009

“Look straight into this camera phone and repeat after me…”

A press release from the Department of Unwanted Efficiencies:

Huntsville, AL – June 1, 2009 – Cabinet NG (CNG), provider of document management and workflow software, today announced that Limestone County, Alabama is using CNG’s document management software to enable a unique Video Hearing application. By processing new jail inmates through CNG’s Secure Access Filing Environment (CNG-SAFE), all the necessary legal forms and other court paperwork is instantly available during the video hearing process. Limestone County can now get the most out of local government resources in a time of fiscal restraint and challenging economic conditions by streamlining the preliminary hearing process while protecting a defendant’s constitutional right to participate in the legal process.

David Seibert, Limestone County’s Commission Chairman, said, “We are committed to putting into place technology that allows us to better serve Limestone County citizens. Enabling electronic preliminary hearings by integrating document management with videophones eliminates the manpower, transportation and time needed for trips between the Limestone County Jail and the courthouse.”

Added Mike Blakely, Limestone County Sheriff, “There are public safety benefits to conducting preliminary hearings without transporting inmates, and we can process more inmates through the system this way, saving the county time and money.”

…[T]his Video Hearing solution is a unique integration of electronic document management and Videophone technologies that can be applied in a number of environments. For example, any face to face process requiring the processing of documents can be liberated from the physical constraints of appearing in person.

If you want face time, don’t do the crime.

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May 25, 2009

Google Docs path to competency

I use Google Docs a lot because I frequently want to share my drafts with some set of people and because no-frills writing software keeps me from distracting myself with frills. But, as a writing tool, Google Docs heads us back to somewhere between NotePad and a 1998 wysiwyg HTML editor. For it to catch on for anything more than the occasional shared doc, it needs to add a whole bunch of features that leverage its social usage. Here are the ones that spring to mind. Please add your own mind-springers…

Create groups of users + permissions that can be managed and easily applied to a document.

Apply groups to folders, not just individual docs, so that any doc put in that folder inherits those permissions by default.

Name versions so if you want to remember the draft that tried switching sections one and two, you can find it again

View and delete comments by commenter.

Make the document file browser far more powerful, as if it were a view into a database of docs, which of course it is. E.g., browse by permissions, by project, by workflow status (in progress, published), by “smart” folders, etc.

Create CSS style sheets that can be applied at will. (Yes, you can already hand-create CSS for individual documents.)

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I don’t mean to look a gift horse in the mouth, except I entirely do.

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