PDFs, comments, and Dropbox

I love commenting on long-form documents. If the author put the necessary work into creating a cogent examination of a topic then I am going to put in the effort to understand it. And I do that by making comments. Some are questions. Some are observations. Some are petty, especially the typographic ones.

When you like commenting you want to have the space needed to comment. I seem to recall that I once forced an author to use double line spacing and an extra wide right margin so that I had room to write. That was great. When Microsoft Word added the comment bubble user-interface I did not think my commenting life could be better. I was wrong. Online collaborative commenting is even better.

Most of my documents are written using Google Docs. Docs has weak formatting and content structuring tools, but it does have great commenting (and version control). I am willing to lose a little structure and style for that. Not all documents come my way via Google Docs, unfortunately. Most of them use Adobe's PDF as authors want structure and style over commenting. Especially, it seems, those working in elementary and secondary education. Sigh.

Today I wanted to read and share my comments on RIDE's "Creating a Shared Understanding of Personalized Learning for Rhode Island," a PDF document. So I looked around the web for tools. There are a fair number, but I was happy to find that Dropbox allows for online collaborative commenting of PDFs. Just add the document to Dropbox and share it. Anyone viewing the document sees the comments and anyone wanting to add comments need only login with Dropbox or Google credentials.

Another online problem solved.

3 times a loser

Last night the Town Council for the second time since the November election had to appoint a replacement School Committee member. I was not appointed. I am disappointed; more so than I thought I would be. Losing 3 times in so many months drains the spirit.

Liz Gledhill nominated me and Joe Viele seconded the nomination. Since Scott received the necessary 3 winning votes my nomination was never voted on. Meg Healy, Abel Collins, and Bryant Da Cruz appointed Scott Mueller to the vacated seat.

I want to thank Liz and Joe for having the courage to support my positions and this governance rookie. I also want to thank all those people across this country that stood up for what is right over these last weeks as it was their example that inspired me to try again.

Scott was not a good choice. Healy, Collins, and Da Cruz made a politically safe choice and, moreover, a safe Democratic party choice. The ramification of their choice is that the SC is effectively the same SC as we had before the November election. An election that clearly called for change. Roland Benjamin and Alycia Collins will do their best to shift the SC's focus towards, I am guessing, finer budget control and reducing the barriers that obstruct educating all of our children. The other 5 members and the Superintendent will continue as they always have. The brazen submittal to the TC of a school budget that increases spending by double the State mandated limit clearly shows that they are not adequate to the task of their responsibility. Shame on them. And shame on the TC for not listening to SK's voters.