Last Thursday was a nice day here in Madrid. Sun was shining, sky was blue; something in the atmosphere was announcing spring finally coming. Air was warmer than previous days and I was enjoying a nice meal at a good restaurant with a customer of mine.
“Oh, you had this window broken?” -customer asked when going back to my car after lunch. “What?” – I mumbled. And that was the beginning of the not-so-nice rest of the afternoon. Someone (God find him/her and lay his vengeance on him/her) had broken my car rear window, got access to the boot of the car and run away with my suitcase and my gym bag. Unfortunately, (for me, but quite luckily for whoever did it) I’m a gadget-addict and that day I had all my gear with me: my macbook pro, ipad, flip camera…the whole thing. So here I am typing this post on an interim pc that my company has given me until a proper replacement mac is available.
Now, I do have my backups and stuff but the amount of time and effort something like the above can cause is tremendous. Not only you have to keep working with whatever is left, but you also have to remember and analyze what you had in the stolen things and make sure you take the appropriate actions. Besides the obvious call to the credit-card companies, etc I have realized how less of a problem this could have been if I used more cloud applications or tools. In fact, the only thing I didn’t loose and was able to access it immediately was all the notes I have in Evernote. And so I’ve decided to move all I can to the cloud. So far, I’ve transitioned to:
- Delicious, for all my bookmarks
- LastPass, for all my passwords
- Evernote, for all notes, materials I manage for work (and personal)
- Dropbox, as a virtual disk
- Springpad, for all things I want to remember and action some day
Not in this list is something basic and very important such as email, contacts and calendar. Well, I have a corporate exchange account that I use for all three things including personal stuff (I only keep one calendar and one list of contacts). If I didn’t have that, my option would be Gmail of course .
More and more, as we become better connected to the internet, have more devices that access the same information and want to be able to do everything from everywhere, the cloud would become more important. Already today there are very few things I can do if I’m offline. The iphone or ipad are not that useful without a data connection. And this is a trend that is not stopping or reversing.
Some people argue cost is a problem: well, I prefer to pay services fee for applications if I then can buy a cheaper platform since I don’t have to have the processing power required. I can then choose various different platforms for different environments.
Some people argue speed and bandwidth are a problem: it can be. However, who today doesn’t have adsl at home? And have you noticed the amount of wifi hotspots on the street? Sure you don’t have a good internet connection when you go camping but then again, do you want to do anything else than camping when you go camping?
Some people argue it’s too difficult to use. I think newer devices are designed with the user in mind and so very easy to use (ipad anyone?)
So, that’s it. If I have had more stuff in the cloud, I wouldn’t be today left with only my memory to remember what I did, when, how far I was in that project and how on earth I can get my data back.
And please, feel free to suggest any other tools you use in the comments section. I’d love to try them. And no, I don’t have any commercial relation to any of the above mentioned applications.