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In A Galaxy…Near You…Came a Phone!

People of my blog!

Okay, first – I’m sorry. I am, really. You know how real life gets me and I have to do that and then come back here, but more on that later. Important, awesome news, which actually does relate to that series I started back in December. So, if you’ll remember, I was doing a list of some of the best gifts you should consider when thinking about your freelancer. Well, as of this post, let’s just consider this the start of our phone and app section, yes? Read the rest of this entry

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Cloud Warming – When the Cloud Becomes Dark

Diagram showing overview of cloud computing in...

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As I get ready for my big move to Virginia, it dawned on me that I would also need to be shipping my desktop, which I’m reluctant to do because…well, I’ve never shipped my fully loaded, everything that I need to live, desktop anywhere before. This got me thinking about using the cloud even more than usual.

I’ve written about how awesome I think the cloud is and in this case, the ability to leave my twenty something pound desktop here in Denver is an advantage. If you’re just starting to freelance, then the cloud is the way to go, especially if you’re running two computers and a smartphone (or tablet or all four).

However, just yesterday I discovered that there are downsides to this.

Listening to the latest (read: the day before) podcast of  Tech New Today, which is part of the This Week in Technology (TWiT) series by the awesome Leo Leparte, I actually found out that both Microsoft’s Sky Drive and Google Docs had outages earlier in the week. Obviously because I use both (Sky Drive/Live Mesh more than Docs), I was a bit surprised to hear about. It happened when I wasn’t working on either apparently, but it still gave me a bit of pause, especially after yesterday’s complete and utter adherence to the cloud for the next seven months.

Much as I love the cloud, there are of course dangers that it faces, one of them being that if the cloud goes down, so does your work.

Now before you panic about not getting your items, as the guest on the show mentioned, it’s not that big of a deal, really. As the hosts mentioned, yes if you’re in the middle of a meeting using Google Docs or you need those docs for a meeting and it’s offline, yeah big problem (which is why Google has now implemented Google Docs offline), but in the overall scheme of things, not so bad.

I of course say this as someone who is tied to the cloud and not. I still have backup copies of stuff on my hard drive (synced with Live Mesh) and of those items, I’ve gone ahead and moved docs that I’m working on (or should be working on) to Docs. Even my music is now in the cloud and I have plans on making digital versions of all CDs and DVDs that I own.

Listen kids, the cloud is great, but as some people forget, it’s not the be all solution to everything. Remember the story about the guy who lost seven years of his life because Google closed his account? I find myself cutting down when I go from around twelve email accounts to four (though at least 5 of those 12 were work related). I’m still gonna have backups (please please backup your stuff!), but getting access quick, easy, and from anywhere is the better deal.

Even if it means it’s down for twenty or forty minutes.

Welcome to the Cloud

Close-up of cupcake with pink frosting and spr...

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Today’s post, while a little late, is finally here. And it is called the cloud. Well, I should say it’s all about cloud computing. Surely you’ve heard of it.

You haven’t?

And don’t call you Shirley?

Well, Carlos, let me tell you a little about living in the cloud and how mondo awesome it is or as we say, ‘osome’ (yes, there is a story behind that). In the big world of definitions, cloud computing is an Internet based ability for the sharing of resources, information, and services to many computers.

Basically, think of it as this – there’s this cupcake that you want to share with the office workers, but how do you get it to everyone? Let’s just assume it’s a never ending cupcake, if you’re wondering. You could invite everyone over to have some of the cupcake, but what about Bob in Kansas? Or Susie in Des Moines? Or me in Arizona? How do we share in the confectionery goodness?

This is where the cloud comes in. You put the cupcake in a place where everyone can get at it (and where it won’t go stale or anything). And then you give people access to the cupcake, so that they can either view the cupcake or put sprinkles on the cupcake or even frost the cupcake.

You know what sounds good right now? Yeah, you guessed it – an oatmeal raisin cookie.

But I digress.

The cloud is kinda like a storage facility for your documents and files and you have the key, which you can give to others if you so choose. So why is this ‘cloud’ all the rage? Well, think of what you can do with it. For example, I have two computers, a laptop and a desktop, and I’m a writer. I think we can see how problematic this could potentially be. See, I loves my desktop, but when I’m not at home, I use my laptop, and more often than not, I do something on the desktop that I forgot to bring for the laptop or vice versa.

With the cloud or rather, with Microsoft’s Live Sync, I can do what I want on my desktop, as long as I’m working on a file that is being synced, I can also work on it on my laptop and all changes are updated so that when I come back home, I can work on it on my desktop. You have to, of course, set it up so that it knows where and what to sync, but overall, it’s a nice little system.

There’s also Microsoft’s Office Live and their web apps which allow not only you, but others to view and even edit documents and other things. Now, seeing as I’m talking about M$ here, I can’t say if Apple has something similar, so all you Mac and iPhones do leave me a comment on what they have to offer. You can also go Google, which syncs just about everything, as long as you have a computer and a phone.

So how does this help the up and coming freelancer? It’s simple – for example, you sign up for a Microsoft email service (if you don’t have one already) and then download the new Windows Live Essentials (Live Sync) to the computers that you want to sync. Then try it – work on an assignment and make it able to sync up with both computers. Then go to a coffee shop and bring it up on your laptop.

It’s a pretty nice little thing if you’re on the road a lot and have files everywhere, in every folder.

Our next post is…I dunno. So I’ll take it to the masses tomorrow! What do you think? Questions? Concerns? Comments? Cupcakes? Cookies? Cash?