Thursday, April 7, 2011

Living in the Cloud

I had not really planned to move to the cloud, but I find myself there.

While I am still tethered to Microsoft technology for some important Windows application development activities, mobile devices and universal user interfaces are pulling me away.

One major step in my new life in the cloud was "exchanging" Microsoft Exchange/Outlook. Instead of having a personal notebook computer bogged down with gigs of Windows software and years of e-mail attachments, everything is now available from the cloud using Google Mail.

My Google Mail, Calendar, and Documents are available from any of my mobile devices or from any computer with a web browser.

In addition to Google Docs, I have started using a free Dropbox account, which allows me to store any type of document, access them from any desktop browser or mobile device, and share them with associates by disclosing a simple URL. While I like Google Docs, Dropbox's easy integration with the Windows desktop gives it an advantage.

Many of my favorite software applications have moved to universal user interfaces.

Amazon was one of the first company I noticed advertising the value of this. Their commercials show people reading electronic books on any number of mobile devices: the Amazon Kindle, the Apple iPad, iPhone, Android phone, etc. The announcer says that it does not matter if you change phone providers; you can still get to the books you bought on Amazon.

Another great universal application is TripIt. I can easily create travel plans just by forwarding my e-mail reservation confirmations from hotels, car rentals, and airlines to TripIt. I can then view and manage my itineraries from my mobile phone, iPad, or desktop.

Likewise, software vendor Appigo has created a great ToDo application (based on David Allen's GTD-Get Things Done time management methodology) with a universal front-end. While I used to manually sync up my Microsoft Exchange with the iPhone and iPad ToDo packages, I now pay just $20 a year to keep my to-do lists in the cloud. From this central location, all of my access devices are automatically synced. Like TripIt and the Amazon Kindle, I can e-mail things to a personal ToDo account.

I spend quite a bit of time with LinkedIn, which has a very good web browser user interface. On the mobile devices, LinkedIn does an okay job with their iPhone version but they have not yet invested in an iPad application.

Even my music listening is moving to the cloud. Thanks to my oldest son who gave me a web-enabled Blu-ray device,  I can listen to Pandora music streamed through my television. If I were in my den or in my car, I would use Sirius/XMRadio, but more and more I rely on web providers such as AccuRadio or Pandora. Even when mowing the yard, I stream music through my iPhone (sorry, AT&T--but thanks for giving us early adopters those unlimited data plans).

(Note: I will put in a special word of thanks to Sirius/XMRadio for recently rewriting their mobile music application.)

Within the immediate family, we have Windows desktops, notebooks, and netbooks; Apple iPads, iPhones, and MacBooks; Amazon Kindle e-book readers; Nintendo DSi handhelds; Android phones; and web-enabled televisions.

Now that's universal access to the cloud!

1 comment:

cloud bi said...

Its all gonna be living in the cloud as you said in the meantime. amazed to see your experiences and comments on it here.

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I am a project-based consultant, helping data-intensive firms use agile methods and automation tools to replace legacy reporting and bring in modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics. For several world-class vendors, I led services teams specializing in providing software implementation and custom application development. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven methodologies and automated software tools.

During twenty years of technical consulting, I have been blessed to work with smart people from some of the world's most respected organizations, including: FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, graduating summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders, the vendor of WebFOCUS BI and iWay enterprise integration products, and for over a dozen years served in branch leadership roles. For several years, I also led technical teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting.