Workarounds

…are great.  Of course.  And necessary.  Of course.  Too often i spend time and energy railing against the powers that be to change their application/service/website to meet my individual needs.  “This app should let me do this!  Why doesn’t it?  Will there be an update to address this?  I should write support and have them fix it.”

Okay, i’ll let you all in on what i’m talking about.  We use Google Apps here at Wing Forward.  I’m sure we’re not alone in this.  Google Docs, in particular, is a glorious feature that is rapidly becoming indispensable.  As such i’ve set up our Docs in a way that when any member of my Wing Forward team creates a new document it will be instantly visible and editable by every other member of the team.  This set up bypasses the need to send out sharing invitations every time something new is created.  Makes sense, right?  The only problem with this is that it doesn’t work.

It should work.  It should do what i tell it to.  It is a machine after all and i am it’s human master.  I tell the machine what to do; the machine does not tell me.  Unfortunately, as you all have surely noticed, Skynet is more and more commanding and limiting us rather than the other way around.  It seems that “With great options comes great limitations.”  But i digress…Google Docs.

So my system doesn’t work when it should.  I trolled through all the settings my admin status enables me to, double checked all the obscure references and permissions buried in the interface, and revisited the introductory tutorial to see what i may have done wrong, which wires i may have crossed, and if the computer was even plugged in.  No answers forthcoming.  I visited the admin help page.  Nada.  I visited the online forums and to my delight it is not only i, but plenty of folks having the exact same issue.  Apparently there’s a bug in the Google Apps system. What a relief.  I was right, and the machine was wrong.  My initial response was akin to many others online:  “This app should let me do this!  Why doesn’t it?  Will there be an update to address this?  I should write support and have them fix it.”

Wrong.  Well, not really.  Write support and tell them to institute (or in this case: fix) the things you want.  That’s not wrong, just a misdirected solution dependent on others to solve your problems for you.  Wrong in the sense that this line of reasoning does not fix the irksome problem that i would like resolved NOW.

The solution:

I can take no credit for this workaround because i read it on the forum and immediately thought to myself, “Why didn’t i think of that?”  I could have thought of it, and would have thought of it had my brain been open to considering: “How can i work around this problem?” rather than: “Why doesn’t someone fix this problem?”.  It is the latter mindset that i’ve been contemplating all day and have decided to break my habit of.  Yeah, yeah, “You promised us a solution.”

Inside the Wing Forward Docs i created a Wing Forward Docs Collection (google translate: folder) and shared the entire Collection (folder) with my Wing Forward Crew.  Now, whenever a new document is created within the Collection, it is instantly visible and editable by every member of the group.  Isn’t that what i was trying to do at the beginning of this post?  Who would have thought that Google Apps would lead to philosophical rediscovery and a life changing decision to use my own brain instead of Skynets’?  Thanks Google.

The end.

Xing out!

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