Tech Note: Google Apps and Google Drive vs Microsoft Office and OneDrive syncing

Just an update of Google Apps vs Microsoft Office on OneDrive –

There are a few nuisances with Google Apps, such as it not recognizing the iOS keyboard Control-Shift shortcut to switch between languages, and no laser pointer in the iOS version of Slides. But when it comes to syncing, Google Apps (Docs and Slides) and Google Drive is a whole different world from Microsoft Office (Word and PowerPoint) and OneDrive.

In Office, with documents syncing through OneDrive, you don’t see the synced changes on either the Mac or the iPad side until you “save” the document. Then syncs are brought in from the iPad and syncs are sent to the iPad (after a bit of time). In other words, there is no real-time collaborative editing of documents. That surprises me. I did a Microsoft Support chat just before, and that was the Microsoft tech person’s opinion as well.

On the other hand, with Google Apps on Google Drive, if you have a file (Docs, Slides) open on the iPad and the Mac at the same time it’s a real-time change that occurs. You can even select text on one device and instantly see it selected on the other device. Very cool! All changes are mirrored instantly on both devices.

Google Apps is a clear winner here on that point. That plus the fact that you can edit for free on all devices (which you can’t do with Office) makes Google Apps the obvious choice to use for class presentations, and for students to learn these basic apps.

Tech note: Google Drive and Apps vs DropBox vs Microsoft OneDrive and Office

I found this article interesting and useful (

One error was that the author says the free 15 GB of Google Drive space is also used by Mail and Google Photos. If you use the default high-quality optimized photos option then Google Photos is unlimited and doesn’t eat up your Google Drive space.

I did finally buy a yearly 100 GB Google Drive subscription recently, because decades of email had finally reached 15 GB. That’s only $20/year.

Currently I pay for that, $100/year for 1 TB of DropBox space and $70/year for Office365, which includes 1 TB of OneDrive space.

I don’t find the OneDrive space that useful because of file size limits and things break when folder or filenames are in Japanese. That doesn’t happen with DropBox. So I find I’m not really taking advantage of the included OneDrive space.

I find the DropBox syncing speeds generally faster, and find it easy to use and share different DropBox folder with different friends and clients. It has been very reliable. I would hate to give that up. DropBox doesn’t really have “apps” so DropBox is just my go-to solution for file syncing and sharing.

I’ve been playing more with Google apps the last few days and have been impressed with how well they work for a browser-based solution. It’s pretty cool. I can actually watch myself select text on my Mac and see it selected at the same time on my iPad. It’s eerily fast considering that it does this via the cloud. I can move lines around on my Mac and see them move at the exact same time on my iPad. And vice versa. Same with my iPhone. My impression was that this is faster than with Office apps.

Of course with Office365 you get the actual desktop clients to work with. It seems those are generally easier to use on my Mac than doing things in the Chrome browser interface. While I’m impressed with how well the web interface does work, there are also web-based limitations and awkwardness in the UI that you don’t see in the Office apps on your desktop. Still, the web-based apps work surprising well.

So right now I’m paying a total of $190/year for 1 TB of DropBox, 100 GB of Google Drive and 1 TB of OneDrive bundled with Office365.

Note: I have an old “grandfathered-in” Google Suite account for my personal domain and company domain, so those accounts remain free for up to 50 users in each domain.

It’s not bad in total, but I feel I get the least use out of OneDrive.

I have a question I’m pondering right now. I teach a volunteer class in computer skills for seniors and disabled people on Sundays. I’d like a free solution for them. I am debating whether to start the students with Google Drive plus Google Apps, or OneDrive plus I’m leaning towards Google because (1) there is more free space; (2) many people already have a Google account for email, YouTube, and Google Photos; and (3) it’s completely free.

I think is free for most iOS and Android devices, but not for the iPad Pro. I guess that would be the deal breaker for right there. Plus the limitations on free disk space.


Diet update – home again with vegan, non-oil

While I have lost 5 kg = 11 lb the last 10 weeks by just calorie counting I didn’t really feel like I was moving off my plateau much. So last Friday, after getting my latest blood test results, I decided to be more pro-active and “come home again” to a vegan, non-oil diet.

In just one week I’ve lost 2.6 kg = 5.7 lb! So over half of what I have lost these past 10 weeks was just in the last week!

What I’m doing differently this time:

  • I’m paying more attention to calorie density (calories per lb) as recommended by various vegan, non-oil doctors. The idea is that you should get full on whole, vegan foods which are lower in calorie density (e.g. potatoes, rice, legumes, non-starchy vegetables, fruits) and avoid those which are extremely high in calorie density (e.g. noodles, breads, and oils in particular).
  • I’m limiting tofu. It’s not high in calorie density, but it is almost half fat. And not particularly filling.
  • I decided to not have any diet colas. I think they trigger sugar urges. I’m mostly drinking just water, and sometimes unsweetened green or black tea.
  • I am avoiding foods where the main ingredient is sugar, such as sorbets or icicles.

I’m not eliminating all sugars from my diet. If a particular vegan, non-oil food has some sugar in the ingredients I don’t really care.

What I found is that that I went from having sugar cravings for sorbet this summer to no sugar cravings at all within just the first few days.

I’ve also been eating a lot of potatoes and almost no rice. I think that’s a major difference from my first go-round with vegan, non-oil dieting. Rice is ok, but it does trigger some hunger urges. Also the calorie density of rice is considerably higher than potatoes. I’m not completely avoiding rice. If I’m outside and all I can get is a rice ball to eat for lunch and I’m hungry, I’ll have it. But I have no rice at home.

I have lots of salad stuff, little packages of corn for the salads, legumes like garbanzo beans and red kidney beans, non-oil dressing, potatoes, other non-starchy vegetables and other things I might get for a snack like some pickles, or the occasional fruit. I’m not eating much fruit though. I’m not having any cravings for anything sweet.

I really like potatoes microwaved, moistened with some soy milk, and topped with nutritional yeast, which gives it a cheesy flavor. A huge plate is only a few hundred calories and filling for hours.

It’s only been one week but I find my hunger urges are largely abated, so I’m not really eating in-between meals. I’m also not eating late at night. So basically I’m fasting ever day for over 12 hours – from my dinner until breakfast the next morning. I’m not really doing that intentionally, I just find if I eat a filling meal at around 6 or 7 pm that I’m just not hungry after that.

My meals consist of a nice salad with corn and non oil dressing, followed by something like 300-400 g of potatoes. There is some variation, but it’s mostly like that.

My energy has increased, and I’ve been taking more bike rides. The fact that the weather has cooled off a bit may have contributed to that.

I am logging calories. Calories do count (whether you count them or not). I notice that eating this way my net calorie intake has dropped a lot. Which of course explains the weight loss.

I feel this way of eating could be sustainable. So I look forward to going back to the doctors in three months and blowing them away with fantastic blood test results!