Signing Off

There’s nothing like learning something new and I had it happen to me on the weekend.  My newest teacher, Sharon, needed me to sign off on something and forwarded me a PDF file to sign.

Sigh, I thought.  I was in the mobile office here at dougpete labs.  It has a relaxing chair and a television in it.

So, in the worst Web 1.0 thinking, I figured that I’d have to get up, go to dougpete labs on the other side of the house, send the PDF file to my printer (hope that I have ink in it), sign it, and then fax it in.

But, Sharon said that the easiest way would be to use HelloSign.


Well, she obviously knows what she’s talking about so off I go to download the HelloSign app for my iPad.  There also is an Android version.

This, my friends, opened a whole new world for me.  I launched the application and saw the option to import a document.  In fact, I could import from email or Google Drive.  Could it be this easy?  It turns out that it is.  Once the document is in HelloSign, you have these options for adding new content.

How sweet is this?

I have the option of writing (using my finger), typing, inserting a check mark, or inserting the date.

So, you doctor the document and a Send button at the top right of the screen attaches the document to an email message ready for sending.  The biggest time taker in the whole process was waiting for the application to download.

This is definitely a utility that I’ll hang on to.  Until now, when I stumbled upon a PDF file, it has always meant moving to a traditional computer with a traditional application.  Now, I can do it from mobile?  Again, sweet.

As it turns out, HelloSign also had a website offering even more functionality like team members, creating reusable documents, etc.

And I have my teacher Sharon, to thank for all of this.  Thank you so much, Sharon.

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Dropbox and Facebook

Sharing is so important.  Angela Maiers had written a post on her blog about Facebook + Dropbox being awesome as partners.  I read it with interest thinking that there might be a use for it and then forgot about it for a bit.  I just didn’t have a need to act on it right away.

Last night, during an ECOO Conference Planning meeting, @sig225 was congratulated by the group for his assembly of all the conference events into an ISSUU document.  Of course, I was paying complete attention to the meeting and only sliced a tiny bit of attention away while I loaded Cal’s document and started to flip through it.  He certainly did a terrific job putting it all together.

Now, we have a Facebook group as part of the pre-conference social conversation and things started to click.  Didn’t Angela say something…?

I could put a link to the ISSUU document in the group but why not try out this new feature.  ISSUU lets you download its documents in PDF format so I did that and then promptly uploaded it to my public folder on Dropbox.  Right click on the uploaded document reveals the public URL to it.  I head back to Facebook and there’s the option to “Add File”.  Clicking it reveals two options – one from my computer and the other from Dropbox.

In this case, it probably doesn’t matter which I use.  The document IS on my computer and it IS in Dropbox.  Just for academic purposes, I elect to send it from Dropbox this time.  Within seconds (in the real world, within minutes in my pathetically slow internet world), the post arrives.

As I write the post this morning, I can see that it’s been seen by 13 people so far.

The next question is “Why would you do this?”  After all, I could just give you the public link to the file sitting in my Dropbox.  After all, that’s what I do when I distribute the Ontario EduBlogger badges.

I see a couple of reasons.  First of all, there is a bit of analytics built into this.  I know that, as of the screen capture above, that 13 people have seen it.  I suspect that will grow as time goes on.  After all, I posted it during the time that teachers would be doing lesson preparation and then headed to bed.  Secondly, I know that many teachers are experimenting with using Facebook as a sort of learning environment for their students.  By having the resources all in one spot, in Dropbox with connections to Facebook, it could ease the strain of finding these documents.  Everything related could be amassed in that particular Facebook group.

For a onesie document, it may not put you over the top with enthusiasm but there may well be reasons to use Dropbox in your Facebook group.