20 February 2009

Personal Technology: An Evernote Cloud

A cloud in computing is a good thing (we're pretty sure) as whole software applications run on the Internet and we are less bound to a single machine where we used to install programs. Of course, we still do install a lot of programs on our physical machines. But there's a trend....

Cloud computing can be big when a whole company or whole campus relies of software off-site. Or it can be very small, like the note-writing application called evernote. With a small file on my desktop (free via the web site evernote.com) and on my iPhone (free via the App Store), I can write notes and read notes from either machine and the text (or photos or hand-writing) reside in the small evernote cloud in cyberspace.

If you've used Google Docs or Google Spreadsheets, you've used the Google Apps cloud. If you're like me on a new HP laptop this year, you may have done this: signed up for the "mesh," another cloud, and never checked in. (I promise myself I will. Soon.)

What's good about cloud computing? You can access it from anywhere (Google's cloud runs strictly on a browser, any browser, so you don't have to have your own computer or phone to log in.) It provides backed-up data because the company running the show has a lot more back-up capacity and discipline than you do. And in many applications, you can share a document or send a link to another person who can log in from anywhere to see what you're talking about.

What's bad about cloud computing? That whole security thing. And the privacy thing. And the risk of servers going down (as if 99.9999% time is not good enough for us). And the risk of losing data (so you must keep your own archive if losing the data would ruin your life or your business). And the inconvenience of Internet outages at your house (which means you have to plan on going to Starbucks at least a couple of times a year). And speed. Yes, in complex applications at least, you may see a lag. So, as much as I like the Google Spreadsheet concept, I prefer Excel on the hard drive. That will get better.

Back to evernote: it's small but I like it. For now, I'm accessing my free account from laptop and iPhone. I am already curious about the next test: can I embed the app on Tom Bold's iPhone so that he can log in and find notes from me? I'll have to make the process for him as easy as using SMS text messages because he has mastered that.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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