Life In The Cloud: A Journey Into the Ethereal

My Personal Tipping PointLife In the Cloud Is Good

Over the last several years, I’ve been transitioning both my personal and professional life into the online world. I guess I wouldn’t say it happened all of a sudden. I’ve been aware of it in the back of my mind for some time. But I’ve certainly passed the tipping point.

That came when Delphic Sage transitioned our infrastructure onto Google. We did it for several reasons – we’re a mixed Mac/PC shop, wanted a better spam filter for email, establish a common platform for calendaring, greater collaboration through Wiki, etc. – but the bottom line is we’re an Interactive Agency. It seemed silly that we didn’t push the envelope of cloud living. For me personally though, trading Microsoft Outlook for a series of online tools pushed me over the edge.  

My Online Life

So what tools do I use regularly? The following represents the core of my online life.

  • Basecamp – our client Extranet
  • Evernote – notes, personal and professional
  • Facebook – personal networking
  • Gmail via Google Apps for business
  • Gmail (personal)
  • Google Docs
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Reader
  • Google Sites – the Delphic Sage Wiki
  • Google Talk – Instant Messenger
  • LinkedIn – professional networking
  • Mozy – home backup
  • Napster – music as a subscription via web
  • Remember the Milk – ToDos
  • – CRM app

The Software Hold Outs

So, what’s left from my old software-centric life? Not much really.

  • Word docs – at least complicated ones. Proposals from work especially, but they are on my list to convert to Google Docs. This blog post was drafted in Google Docs for example. 
  • One really complicated Excel spreadsheet that acts as an executive dashboard – there’s no way Google Docs will handle this anytime soon. Though I expect to port aspects of it into custom web application that shares more of it with Delphic Sage team.
  • Windows Photo Gallery – I use this simple free app (with Vista) to organize photos at home. I’m frankly a bit afraid to use anything that will not be around a LONG time as getting it set up is tedious. Sure, I have a flickr account, but I just can’t quite make the leap online. And the file volume is huge (about 10K pictures).

Observations from the Cloud

  • I’m a little uncomfortable that I rely on Google so much. Not just for privacy issues, but at some level I feel like I have traded one monopoly (Microsoft) for another. But what can I say – they build good stuff.
  • I’ve grown increasingly indignant about software that needs to be installed. 
  • Once an ardent Microsoft Windows supporter, I find myself increasingly caring less and less about what operating system I use. It simply doesn’t matter much anymore.
  • I love being able to get to virtually anything from anywhere on any device. This is especially true for mobile access via my phone (AT&T 8525).
  • Speaking of mobile – this is still a bit of a challenge. But I’m thinking of moving to an iPhone, which should solve most of my issues.
  • Though I thought I would – I really don’t miss Microsoft Outlook. Years of files made it soooooo slow. And it crashed — often.  
  • I also don’t really care about browsers. I use Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer interchangeably, though the plug-ins for Firefox are hard to beat (if v3 would stop crashing on me so much). 

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