Monday, October 08, 2007

Life in the cloud?

Over the years I have fought putting large parts of my life 'on the cloud', aka on the Internet. In part it is a control issue - I like knowing where my data is, who has their fingers in it, etc. Even after hearing the easy of machine changes that Adam Curry went through: Between GMail, Flickr, etc. he really did not loose much.

The breaker for me was loosing a semi-important spreadsheet. I had it on a thumbdrive that I carried around. Somewhere along the line things got out of sync, the thumb drive lost (and then found again) and in general it all became a mess. I decided to throw the sorted out worksheet into Google spreadsheet in an effort to avoid this mess in the future.

Working with Google spreadsheet has been good. Granted I'm not exactly pushing the envelope of power, using more as a poor man's database than for what spreadsheets were really meant for. I did upload a spreadsheet that does a lot of adding rows & columns and so far it has had pretty good performance. This may not be for everyone, but for typical home use it has more than enough horse power.

Right now I am so tired of having an address, or an email, or whatever, on my home computer, or on my work computer, or on a thumb drive that I can't put my hands on (probably because I left it at work) that I figured it is about time for me to consider moving parts of my life off the laptop and into the cloud.

The first obvious thing to move is email. Right now I have 5 or 6 email addresses. Most forward to one account, although I am too cheap to pay to get Yahoo to forward. I am playing around with GMail now. So far I like the interface. Yahoo and even my ISP's internet email tries to emulate what happens on the desktop. The web needs a different interface and GMail seems to have the best one. I still need to work out some labeling on some emails. I get a lot of emails from geocaching that I do not need to deal with immediately. I am still also getting used to the whole conversation way of dealing with things, but it does look slick.

I have also signed up for Twitter. I have to admit I did not get text messaging until I started to monkey around with Twitter. I still am not setup to Twitter from my phone, not sure I could ever get used to using just 9 keys for typing. However I do think that constant internet hookup is part of the key to living in the cloud. It would be nice to be able to check my Netflix Queue while at a video store. The way people are getting Twitter to work with other services I can see where SMS (aka text messages) could be a simple and quick interface to the cloud. I guess the next step would be to get a phone that has a full QWERTY keyboard (hey, don't ask me to give up ALL my ways at once), SMS & internet.

I am looking to move other parts of my life to the cloud. I am not sure how much I want to move up there yet. Right now I am typing this entry from Blogger's web interface instead of using a local web editor. I guess that is some progress :).

1 comment:

Sandra Mosley said...

Aloha Howard,

David and I have been enjoying life on a cloud for a while now. We love gmail, have google desktops, use google spreadsheets, keep albums on Picasa (like it better than flickr) and use Mosey for our backups. Haven't gotten to twitter yet.