Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Cloud as Your Mobile Shared Disk

Although I’ve mentioned it in the past, I want to do a quick review of Dropbox, a “cloud network file system” for all your devices.  Although I had Dropbox installed for a while, the power of it really didn’t hit me until I talked about it with my friend Bill and using my new iPad.  I realized how it could solve several problems and truly further my goals for living in the cloud (compute wise that is).  If you need to share files between multiple PCs, phone, tablets (yours or with other people), this is the way to go.  You get all of this, wait for it..., for free.  You can sign-up for Dropbox for free and receive 2GB of space.

After the break, I’ll explian more about what it is, some of the key features, and a few use cases to demonstrate the benefits.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Thoughts about Amazon Web Service Failure

Amazon Web Services (AWS) had a major failure last week and there was a lot of buz about it since it took down several major web sites. AWS is one of the leading cloud infrastructure or platform as a service companies. When they fail, it's big news.

Here’s my take.  No solution will provide 100% up-time There will always be a use-case that was not anticipated, failure mode that was not thought of, or human error that couldn’t be mitigated.  Is this a reason to call cloud computing with AWS a failure?  No.  Although I don’t know what their up-time stats are, I’m willing to bet that even if you don’t use multi-site implementation the benefits of scalability, flexibility and up-time still rival what a lot of companies could do on their own for the cost.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cloud Docs on the iPad

I wanted to be able to continue to use the cloud for editing my documents in Google Docs.  If you need a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation editor that will open your Google documents, or equivalent Microsoft product files, try Docs to Go.

My attempt to use the rich text editing in Google Docs on my iPad 2 was a dismal failure.  Although Google offered “desktop mode” from the iPad Browser, I would designate it as #FAIL for the iPad.  This forced me to look for a real solution for rich text editors for the iPad and I was pleasantly surprised.  As proof of my success, most of this article was written using the iPad with “Docs to Go” and an Apple bluetooth keyboard.  Combined with Google Docs and Dropbox, Using Docs To Go is a very powerful tool for document editing on the go.

After the break, I’ll compare some core capabilities of Office2 HD and Docs To Go.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's New in Google Apps

Originaly published on 2/1/2011
As promised, this is my what’s new article on Google Apps. Google Docs has been around since 2006 and has been going through a continual cycle of enhance and extend (as I discussed in 2008). 2010 marked a time of furious change in Google Docs, now a part of a suite of tools called Google Apps, and I’ll review some of those here. This rapid release of change is partially enabled because of Google's distribution system, the Internet. This is an advantage of cloud computing (for the most part) over the client software in a box method because there is nothing to install and users don't have to "upgrade". Upgrades are released to everyone at once (mostly). If you receive a feature you don't like though, it could turn into a disadvantage.

Before identifying what’s new, a quick description is in order. In general, Google Apps is a suite of online office productivity tools. Individual users can access most of these tools using a Google Gmail account. The basic tool set covers all the classic office productivity tools similar to those found in Microsoft Office Basic. All access to Google Apps is via the WEB and users’ data lives in the “cloud” on Google servers where it is regularly backed up, and accessible from anywhere, and any device. When people think of operating “in the cloud” this is a prime example.
UPDATE: Look at the end of this article for a update regarding mobile