Device Independence for Your Data

Maximise Your Cloud Coverage

We used to think that device convergence meant that a single device would replace all of our other current digital media devices. With the concept of ‘The Cloud‘ this idea has been turned on it’s head.

I use multiple devices every day to access my email, browse the Internet, manage my schedule and read my blog feeds etc. Keeping each of them synchronised used to be tricky. But with the notion of keeping your data in ‘the cloud’, there’s no need to keep your data sync’d up. It’s all online and can be accessed by any connected device.

Multiple Devices, One Cloud

Recently, the cloud has become the latest in a line of buzz words on the Internet. It’s cropped up it’s head a few times in the past but it’s back in vogue again because there’s been an adoption of various standards that allow different systems to talk to each other more easily. iCal is one, RSS is another. Providing an open API as part of an application release also helps developers to build new ways to interact with it.

Here’s what I use to maximise the benefits the data cloud:

Email

I use Google Apps plus Gmail (I use my own domain too) and take advantage of IMAP support so I can keep using my favourite mail client whilst leaving my email somewhere accessible when I’m out and about.

Calendar

My phone has a calendar, so does my laptop. I also want to be able to access it online when I’m away. The solution for this is a combination of gCal, Lightning and my Nokia N95. Using a service GooSync I can keep my Google Calendar and my N95 sync’d up, and using a great Thunderbird plugin called Provider for Google Calendar I can keep Lightning up to date with everything as well.

Task Lists

I’ve struggled to find the perfect to-do list software. I need to be able to keep the list updated from any device and it needs to be really quick to use. If I can scribble it on a notebook faster then I can enter it, then nine times out of ten that’s what I’ll do.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far: Start off with an account on Remember the Milk. Then add their Firefox plugin that adds the task column to the Gmail interface. Then add the iCal stream to Lightening. This is an almost perfect solution but at the moment, the iCal stream is read-only. For ultimate happiness it’s got to be a two way connection. Hopefully this will happen soon.

What’s Next?

Online file storage still hasn’t taken off for the masses. Amazon’s S3 service has helped a lot of developers to outsource their storage needs, but it’s not a realistic option for general consumers. Services like Box.net offer online storage but, it’s still a little pricey. Where’s the Google Gdrive that we’ve heard so many rumours about?

I’ve got this almost all figured out. But if anyone’s got a better combination of blurring the divide between online services and offline apps, then lets hear them.

Summary

Point 1: The Cloud is becoming a reality

Point 2: It’s not there yet.

Point 3: It’s happening because of adopted standards

Point 4: I use online services with my desktop software using iCal, RSS, Firefox plugins and open API’s.

Point 5: Online Storage still needs to be solved. Gdrive perhaps?

Comments

3 Comments added. Add comment?

  1. JOHN ONEILL says:

    There was a time when it was commonly believed that email could never be provided freely but free email is now everywhere. I agree there are considerable challenges with the notion of free online storage and that the early and seeming most compeditive entrants will not be the critical app masters of the future. If google are sitting on their hands (publicly, no douth they have a plan) then this gives a fair picture of how fraught the notion of free file storage is. There are currently circa 100 major players in the free and nealy free online storage market. Most use free as an invitaion in a system which offers crap backup for free and quality at a price. Google wont do that. If you absolutely have to go free, wait with google. If you cant wait, go with a quality commercial option from the outset and forget free.

    John
    http://www.backupanytime.com/whitepaper.htm

    May 7, 2008

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