Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
May 22, 2010 2:44 PM

Moving Closer To The Cloud

Why do we have to deal with computer crashes anymore? Why do we still have to deal with data being lost or corrupted?

In getting uncomfortable, I'm beginning to realize that as great as technology is, we not only need and want it to do more, but we expect it. It's both sad that we're like this and a tremendous opportunity for the next generation of entrepreneurs and marketers. This week, I switched over to a MacBook Pro (but, I do still love my Microsoft apps, so I am running vmware fusion) and watched one of our senior IT people grapple with the conversion of my documents and settings over to the new platform.

It's never as simple and easy as people say and think it is.

In trying to figure out the best way to transfer all of the data and create a seamless transition where no emails, addresses, meetings, notes, personal photos got lost (yes, we're moving to an Exchange type of server system soon, but we're not there yet), we got to the point where I said, "can't we just put everything online and have me work from the cloud?" You're probably reading this and thinking, "yes, you can!" but the real answer is, "you sort of can, but it's not the same and it's not as easy as you may think." One of the major reasons to make this type of transfer is so that we never have to deal with it again when I get a new computer, but the one major reason that is holding us back is my travel schedule. So, if I can't access my email, calendar, notes, etc... while flying at 35,000 feet, it's not all that useful to have my stuff in the cloud. At the same time, platforms like Google do have their Google Gears applications that enable you to work offline, but I've been getting mixed messages about the stability and real functionality of the tool.

I'd pay to get a real solution.

This is the gold for Marketers: I'm not looking to use Gmail because it's free. I'm looking for a simple, solid and easy solution. The companies that provide this are the ones who have the big wins. They're the ones who make the money, and they're the ones who never complain about having to give up so much of their products and services for free. The person who can take everything we're doing in platforms like Outlook and make it simple to export and transfer to a cloud-based service that also has similar/better tools will win (which is why so many companies like the Microsoft Exchange platform). Keep in mind, the Digital Nomad continues to rise and many of the newer companies simply don't have the financial resources to go the Exchange route, so there must be a very large market of small to medium-sized business owners that would love to have the ability to really move towards the cloud.

Or am I missing something? 

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Kevin Baggs
    Mitch Joel

    Google Gears is going away. They are not doing development on it anymore. I think , in the short term, a synching solution is what you need. One that stores the documents in the cloud, but syncs when you connect. That way changes are updated, emails sent and retrieved, etc. I have been playing around with some. If you are still using MS Office, then the changes they are making this summer will be of interest. They are launching a new Hotmail and integrating their online office with Skydrive for one central repository that will sync when you connect.

    Reply
  • Posted by John McLachlan
    Mitch Joel

    Even for me, a one-person operation, I would like this all to work better and easier and there to be a solution. It feels a bit like we're in a transition phase right now between the old world of everything on one machine to everything "out there."

    If you find a simple, solid solution, I can't wait to hear about.

    Reply
  • Posted by Tim Sanchez
    Mitch Joel

    I'm also using a MB Pro with vmware fusion (running WinXP) and I put all of my files in the cloud by using Dropbox. I have a paid account (50 GB) and can't imagine using anything else now.

    My email and contacts are stored in Exchange (hosted by Rackspace). The cost of hosted Exchange seems to drop more each year; I don't see it being cost-prohibitive for a small business any more.

    I don't have a good answer for the 35K ft problem, but I've been using GoodReader on my iPad to access files I've downloaded (from Dropbox). Seems like WiFi is becoming more common on flights, so maybe that problem will solve itself over time.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ron De Giusti
    Mitch Joel

    I too am a HUGE proponent of the fact that I need access to my data at 35K ft in a plane with no internet connection.

    I have found a solution for myself.

    I now use Microsoft's hosted Exchange (microsoftonline.com). That solved my email issue. Their Outlook in a browser is now just as good as the fat client that sits on your laptop.

    And for my data, I now synchronize my laptop's data with my home PC using Microsoft Live Mesh. So, my data is always on my laptop and my home PC at the same time. I do know that Microsoft Live Sync (scaled down version of Live Mesh) works on a Mac if that is what you are using.

    Voila. Time for upgrade? Blow away everything on laptop and throw in trash. Get new laptop and re-synch with data on home PC. Done!

    (it did take me forever to get to this point, but the feeling of being computer agnostic is the most liberating feeling ever!)

    Reply
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