Cloud Based Computing: Confessions of an Early Adopter
A few years ago (mainly because I was broke and could no longer afford high-priced PC centric programs like Word, Excel, etc) I decided to start moving my PC-centric “stuff” off of my computer and into the cloud (I happened to choose Google, but, the choice is yours where you end up. Click here to see some options from CNET).
Note: I was not new to cloud-based computing first hearing about it in the late 1990’s at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, then, by 2004, developing the concept for, then helping to put into production, one of the first (if not THE first) IP-based cloud-based videoconferencing capabilities in production with over 1500 users worldwide (remember this was 2004……).
I slowly started doing my spreadsheets and documents for AltamontCowork (which I sold at the end of 2014) using Google Sheets & Docs.
At the time, Google was a bit rough, but, I stuck it out and, little-by-little, I got used to doing everything spreadsheet and document related via the cloud.
Then I started using Draw (now Drawings) for schematics, signs, etc for AltamontCowork and this blog (or rather it’s predecessor….TelBitConsulting). Again, over time, the Drawings program got better and better, and I used it more and more.
Then online Forms. I needed to make it so people could fill out a form (without paying for that service…remember I am broke), hit the submit button and I would have their information. BUT…..I REALLY needed the form app to send me an email when a form was submitted, but, that did not exist, in the beginning. Now it is a few years later and it does! It also has the ability to put the form information in a text format that is emailed to me! Progress….and one more step for my becoming a cloud junkie.
Note: This year, 2016, the college scholarship applications for ForCarol.com are cloud based on Forms as are the judges rubrics. VERY cool!
For my classes on Web Site design and Social Media for small businesses, I use Google Slides. It works great and looks great too. I can change them to a PDF and share the results with the class with a printout, or online.
Then came Photoshop CC on the cloud. After leaving AltamontCowork, I spent more time on our nonprofit, ForCarol.com, and had more of a need to do Photoshop work. Unfortunately, I could not find Photoshop for sale anymore, soooooooo, off to the cloud. Now, a year later, I cringe at the $9.99 a month cost (broke and on a fixed income), but, I use Photoshop nearly everyday, so it is worth it (yes, it is a nonprofit expense…one of the very few expenses we have).
Enter Windows 10.
Unlike many of my friends and colleagues, I had ZERO issues with the change over. All my cloud based apps work fine under Windows 10. I did not miss a beat.
And…since I am on the cloud….my smartphone apps can see everything I have on the cloud. And backing up my PC is, almost, a thing of the past (I still do it…just because).
Photos? Since I now use my phone to take photos (or the HTC RE, which connects to my phone), Google Photos is now my choice for cloud based photo storage. I can share photo folders with family or friends.
And the list is expanding! What started as an experiment several years ago is now my main mode of operation.
Security might be an issue down the road….but, my passwords are strong, so have fun trying to get information that is so dull and uninteresting, you will have kicked yourself for trying so hard to get it.
Cloud based computing is nearing a point where anyone, anywhere, anytime can have access to their generated information.