Tag Archives: cloud storage

Uninterrupted Work Flow in 3 Virtual Offices over 3 Different Continents

Working Around the WorldImagine working on your laptop in a coffee shop where the barista only speaks Mandarin.

Living in Shanghai, China is unlike any other experience. But working in a foreign country doesn’t necessarily have to be so different.

At least, if you can set up a virtual work station, you won’t ever have to worry about adapting to new office dynamics. Work whenever you want, however you want.

The must-haves are a comfortable work space, a reliable internet connection, and your data backed up to the cloud.

China. Argentina. Morocco.

At times, the air and noise pollution in Shanghai got to me. As did the communication barriers.

But whenever I needed to get some important work done, I just had to pay for a nice cup of coffee before I could begin pounding away at my keyboard, tuning out the foreign world around me while increasing my productivity.

When I lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, there was WiFi everywhere, and in some cases, it was free. WiFi was available in bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and even public parks and plazas.

Then, after a day’s worth of hard work, I’d gorge on empanadas baked in the shop around the corner, or several slices of “fugazetta” pizza from local gem, El Cuartito.

Around Morocco, you can find a strong connection at McDonald’s. But when the popular fast food chain is out of sight, the big telecom providers offer contract-free Internet connections. Meditel offers a portable USB key that lets you connect your computer to its 3G network all around the country. Best of all, it’s cheap and it’s prepaid.

Keeping Security in Mind

Whenever I was on the road, whether I was traveling between Shanghai and Beijing or crossing the border from Argentina to Uruguay, I always made sure my laptop was wiped clean of any sensitive data and that those critical files were only available in the cloud.

Bag, laptop, passport, and wallet stolen. 

I have been fortunate enough that I have never been robbed or pick-pocketed while traveling. Knock on wood. But a friend I was traveling with once had her bag stolen out from under her seat at a Starbucks in Buenos Aires. The worst part was that she had kept her laptop, passport, and wallet in that very bag.

Throughout my travels, for personal and professional purposes, I’ve made it a point to keep important documents and possessions in secure places (i.e. passport and credit cards in the hotel safe, or sensitive work documents in a reliable cloud server). So, if I was robbed or mugged, it wouldn’t be a total inconvenience. Or if my computing and mobile devices got damaged, at least my work would be safe.

 

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Cleaning up your life with digital feng shui

Feng Shui RocksIt’s hard to let go, believe me.

I’ve clung onto files I’ll never use with the firm belief that they’ll be useful one day.

I’m totally gonna need that A+ essay I wrote in 10th grade on “Six Characters in Search of an Author” as a professional writing sample! 

Really?!

I can’t even remember what folder I’ve stuffed it in on my laptop from high school. Needless to say, it’s somewhere in PC purgatory.

Now if that laptop stops working, that essay I was so proud of will be lost forever. When my laptop finally does stop functioning, it will likely be because it has decided to retire itself after the four years of abuse I put it through during high school and the additional five years it has survived my father’s torture.

The truth is, my writing has (hopefully) improved beyond a 10th-grade writing level, so there’s no need for me to reference any essay that’s more than a few years old. But what about my more recent written pieces, or those incredibly important files that I absolutely must cling onto for the rest of my life?

I can’t just cross my fingers hoping that if I treat my current laptop well, it — along with all my precious files — will stay with me for a lifetime.

While it hasn’t failed me yet, I used to hate my computer.

Folders filled with documents I don’t use. Works I can’t remember authoring. Drafts that should never see the light of day.

It’s a mess.

I realized all the unorganized files I kept scattered around my desktop interrupted my workflow and put me in a bad mood every time I just looked at them.

To create peace of mind, I uploaded everything I owned to a cloud server and deleted anything that wasn’t created recently or part of an on-going project to maintain a clean, uncluttered desktop.

I no longer have thousands of files glaring at me on my PC. I can flexibly manage all of my files in the cloud and never have to worry about clogging up my hard drive. My computer also runs smoother now that there’s less ‘junk’ it has to put up with.

Let’s get cleaning!

If any of this resonates with you, here’s how you can start cleaning up your digital life:

First, locate all the files you have on your computer that you wouldn’t mind relocating. Second, get rid of anything you no longer need — stop being so clingy! Finally, take whatever is left, and move it to your new cloud server.

For a small monthly fee, you save yourself a ton of headaches and stress never having to look at a cluttered desktop again. There is also an added benefit of having easy access to your files on any electronic device with a solid internet connection.

Digital feng shui is good.

For some, it’s a ritual to open your own computer and know exactly where your files are kept and stored. For me, it was a nightmare to turn on my laptop and look at the mess I had accumulated.

But now I can hop on any computer, access my files anywhere and everywhere, and since I’ve organized all of my files after uploading them to the cloud, I can pull up any document I need within seconds and am ready to rock-n-roll.

 

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All in the Family – Who Stores What?

Ah, the holidays. That special time of year when we return home to our ancestral stomping grounds and spend a few special days in the company of those closest to us, and all of their devices. From cell phones to game consoles and everything in between, these tiny gadgets have cemented their place in our daily lives. You can’t attend a family party without someone taking pictures on their cell phone or playing some Bing Crosby on their iPod. There will be quite a few kids (and adults, too) falling asleep with visions of tablets and PlayStation 3s dancing in their heads.

More and more of our lives are taking place in the cloud, so the need for devices to access that information has increased as well. This year, as you gather with your family, take some time to be grateful for all that they do for you, and the devices that let them do it.

 

 

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Do We Need A Desktop OS Anymore?

Mozy cloud storageMicrosoft fought a long battle to achieve a near monopoly of the desktop Operating System market that may stand forever. But does it even matter? Do we even need a desktop OS anymore?

As we see what is happening with Windows 8 and Metro, I am coming to the conclusion that the answer to this question is “no.” We may be reaching the point where the desktop OS is no longer important, eclipsed by the developments of the browser and ironically a victim of better integration of the Web by Microsoft and others.

My prediction is that Windows 8 will become the OS/2 of the modern era: an OS that is elegant but instantly made obsolete by events, designed for the wrong chip (in the case of Windows 8, the mobile ARM CPUs) and based on a cellphone design ethos that no one could care less about. Yeah, but it has a great new set of APIs!

It wasn’t all that long ago that Internet Explorer became almost indistinguishable from Windows Explorer. And with the rise of Chromebooks and how much of our time is spent online, the days of the particular desktop OS is almost irrelevant now. Who really cares what OS we run?

Remember when the desktop OS did things like keep track of directories, protect us from viruses (and Windows still doesn’t really do that all that well), make copies of files to removable media, and handle printing? Yes, I know I still can’t print my Web pages out with any kind of fidelity, and if I have an iPad, printing is almost an afterthought. But is that the browser’s fault or my OS?

Now that you can get gigabytes of free file storage in the cloud (thanks Mozy!), do you really care what is on your hard drive? Well, some of us dinosaurs (and I count myself among them) still cling to our hard drives but soon they will be totems from another era, much the way many of you look upon 5 inch floppy disks, or even 8 inch ones if you can recall back that far. Wow, we could carry an entire 360 kB of something around with us! (Of course, we didn’t have mp3s or videos either, but still.) And all this cloud storage is happening as hard drives are getting so cheap that they will be giving them away in cereal boxes soon: a 2 TB drive can be had for less than $50.

Meanwhile, Adobe has big plans for Flash, where it will take over the kinds of OS-like services that I mentioned above (ditto on the protect us from malware issue too, at least so far). And Google is trying mightily to rejigger HTML with its Dart Web programming language. And VMware has a new version of its View too, which is probably the OS that I really will end up spending most of my time with going forward. Whatever comes of these efforts, it almost doesn’t matter whether we are running Windows or Mac or Linux. Because we don’t need them anymore for our online lives.

Now stop and reconsider that last paragraph. Whom have we trusted for the next OS? It isn’t Microsoft, and it isn’t Apple. It is a bunch of folks from the valley that have never built an OS before (well, give Google half credit). Think about that for a moment.

Back at the dawn of the computing era in the 1980s we all wrote dBase apps (and saved them on those darn floppies too). Then we moved up to use Lotus Notes, before the Web took root. Then we branched out in a dozen different directions, using all sorts of programming languages that used HTTP protocols. That was the beginning of the end for the desktop OS.

Now we’ll still have desktops of one sort or another. And yes, Windows isn’t going away, much as Microsoft is determined to pry every last copy of XP from our cold, shaking hands. But when Adobe, Google and VMware all get done with their stuff, it won’t matter what will be running on our desktops. If we even have them around much longer.