All I Know

Wake Up and Get Your Head in the Cloud

About a decade and a half ago, I was helping a non-profit with their website. We were discussing the budget, and how there was an expense for converting their regular newsletter for posting on their web site. “Why is it so expensive?” the new board member said.

“Because it’s fairly labor intensive to convert the text into HTML.”

“Why don’t you just save it as a pdf and post that?” she persisted.

Silence. Cue the crickets.

Uhhh, the reason is that we hadn’t thought about it. Back when we started the process, there was no such thing as a pdf. We converted the word processing document to HTML manually, and while we were of course vaguely aware of the new save-to-pdf capabilities (save-to-HTML didn’t work, then as now) we had failed to put the technology to work.

* * *

I use a couple of different computers; bet you do, too, to say nothing of the various handheld devices. I’ve successfully gotten most of my routine information needs saved onto server-based (web, if you like) storage, so I’ve gone a long way on solving the problem of not being able to reach a file that I was using on a different computer.

Issues persist, however. Apart from routine office files, I have a task management utility that I really rely on. It saves data to the local drive [1]. Just months ago, I wrote software that would routinely wake up and send the task management files to my personal server out there in Internet land, so I could download the files to whatever other computer I was working on if needed. I did not injure my shoulder trying to pat myself on the back, but it could have gone either way.

Just lately, I replaced one of the computers [2], and the replacement computer has a different file structure, and that cool software I wrote is going to have to be tweaked, in addition to being re-installed and configgered. Ugh. It got me to thinking that there must be a better way.

Like: Don’t Amazon and Google give you some cloud storage?; and I bet if I looked I could find a utility that would automatically balance a local folder with a cloud folder. Then I could save attach task manager software to files stored on my local/cloud folder, then I could use my task manager on any of my laptops, and it would always be up to date! Wouldn’t that be cool?

Well, duh. Those cloud utilities are available and are trivial to install. I don’t know how long they’ve been around, but I bet it’s been more than two years, I just failed to put the technology to work.

Duuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh!!! This widget is going to solve a lot of problems. Those several files that I touch often — you know the ones, the daily task document, the weekly goal spreadsheet, the org drawing — those ones that I do find myself touching both at work and at home: all I have to do is keep them in my cloud folder, and I’ll never have worry about whether I sent the latest update to my ftp site or not. Don’t need to!

And pictures! No more saving the files from the phone to the computer attached to the good printer, and then also to the other computer that has all my Picasa work saved, and then also to the computer that links to our durable storage solution. Nope. I will stick the ones I like in the cloud folder and do all that manipulation until I am ready to put them in cold storage. Boy, the time I am going to save….

I don’t have any intention of storing all of my stuff this way; for now I will continue to do that on my hosted server. But anything that I am actively working with that might be used on multiple devices will sure be in the cloud.

[1] a utility likely to be the subject of a future post.
[2] another thing you are likely to hear more about.

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