11 June 2010

Personal Technology: SkyDrive

I have a new web app: Microsoft's Office online. A web app (application) runs entirely in a browser. So, you do need Internet access. But you do NOT need Microsoft Office on your computer.

These free Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) are lite—they don't have every feature that the hard-drive version of Office provides. But they are free (and the hard-drive version definitey isn't).

Web apps put us up in a cloud. Cloud computing has been promised for a while but it has come with some clunky apps (at least the free ones). Microsoft's version is not clunky. It is very smooth.

The Microsoft cloud also offers a free SkyDrive. That's 25GB of space for storage. (That's a lot of documents. It's even a lot of Powerpoint slideshows.) The downside is that what you create online must be saved to the SkyDrive and not directly to your hard drive. (Uploads and downloads are handled as separate steps.) For a lot of people, that's not really a disadvantage. They want to keep everything floating high above their hardware.

Right now, you can co-author (and co-edit) works in the online Excel and OneNote. Presumably, the rest of the suite will be share-able soon. That's when the online Office will offer all that Google's web app offers.

As a Gmail user, I like Google Docs because it resides nearby. I just click a link in my Gmail account. To use Microsoft's web apps, I must go to a new web site (office.live.com) and enter a new username and password (my Windows Live ID).

I grumbled when I started. Another user name. Potentially another password to match yet another set of rules for security. When I proposed my user name (an email address), the system replied that it was already in existence. Oh, my. Could it be me? I typed in one of my standard passwords. Yes, it linked. I already had a Windows Live ID. With absolutely no memory of it.

Disclosure statement: I have not received any compensation or free product for mentioning this service. (This blog's only monetary reward comes through google.adsense links, which are selected by Google, not by me.)

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://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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