Time to head to the clouds in 2012

A woman working on an iPad under a projected clouded sky at the CeBIT Fair in Hanover, Germany. The year 2012 might just be the year where cloud computing becomes truly mainstream. Picture: EPA

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

AS WE enter the new year, expect the coming new tech to be more advanced than it already is, that it would be a shame to get left behind. This is especially true with cloud computing. It's been talked about for many years, yet there are many who are still left in the dark about this concept.

Though there are already solutions available online for all your devices, many still rely on thumb drives to move documents from one PC to another and do not take advantage of this technology that's just a click away. I mean, what's the point of spending your hard earned money on the latest gadgets when you're missing out on the benefits of "working in the cloud"?

The year 2012 might just be the year where cloud computing becomes truly mainstream. With our mobile devices we carry today consisting of the smartphone, a laptop computer and a tablet, its never been a better time to work in the cloud than now.

If you haven't had a taste of the cloud yet, here are some of the simple tools that you could use to give yourself a head start for this new year. Ditch those thumb drives and make the year 2012 your year in the cloud.

Dropbox

If you don't have this installed in your computer by now, then you obviously have no idea what all the buzz is all about on cloud computing. Dropbox has recently been rated among the top must-have apps for your PC and smartphone, an essential cloud-based productivity app that can dramatically simplify your lives, making your gadgets well worth the investment.

Dropbox is, basically, a folder. But it's not just like any folder in your hard drive. This one works, yes you guessed it, in the cloud. Anything stored in this folder, whether its your documents, PDF files, pictures, music or movies, will be accessible in any computer or mobile devices that has Dropbox installed (under your account).

Unless you want to consolidate everything you have in your computer in the cloud, you only need to save documents that you need to access on multiple devices. Today, I save all my stuff that I would normally save in my 'documents' folder on my computer, exclusively to my Dropbox folder. I can make subfolders in there too for my various types of files. When I'm out, I can see all my documents through my smartphone, and when I'm at work, I can access my important documents at anytime, without ever screaming, "It's in my home computer!!! *facepalm* "

Googledocs

It doesn't matter if you have the latest 2011 version, Microsoft Office should go the way of the dodo by now. Google Docs is a viable alternative to Microsoft Office as it is free, doesn't take up too much resources on your system, and consolidates all your word, spreadsheet or presentation slides into the Google cloud.

So even if your computer breaks down or has caught a bug, or you just don't feel like bringing your laptop to work and would rather use the computer on your work desk, Google Docs makes it all possible for you to access your documents from any computer connected to the internet, via a web browser.

As an added cool factor, use your smartphone or tablet such as an iPad as a mobile presentation device to show your documents to your boss, friends or clients when you're on the go, without the need to print. One word; paperless.

Simplenote

It's funny how there are still folks who still fire up Microsoft Word just to take simple notes on their computer. If you're like me, then you must really hate Microsoft Office for being a resource hog. I also dislike the fact that Office becomes a must-have software for every computer, even though I hardly ever used it at all.

Often most of the notes or text documents I write don't require styling, or bolding, or cliparts, and that's why I use a simple notepad app for the PC or textedit on the Mac, that is until I was introduced to Simplenote.

Simplenote is exactly as it sounds; a simple app to take notes, and as a bonus, saves your notes online and accessible on any devices with the same app installed. It's like a notepad app for the cloud.

Being simple doesn't mean that Simplenote isn't flexible, however. You can write a long essay or even just a reminder or telephone number, and it will automatically save changes on your note in every minute, eliminating the need to 'save as' and locate the folder you want to save it into. Yes, folders are a thing of the past, because tagging is the way forward.

As a journalist, this is one of my most indispensable tools which I have installed on my work computer here on my desk, my laptop computer and my smartphone. With simplenote installed on all my devices, I can write my drafts at home on my laptop, edit them on my smartphone if I need to when I'm out, and finish my article at work. The Brunei Times


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