Life in the Cloud

POSTED ON Dec 20, 2011

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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Due to a chain of circumstances that I won’t bore you with, I realized last week that I needed a new computer.

This seems only slightly insane, since I have two computers sitting on my desk. And three unplugged under the desk.

It was somewhere around the time my iMac crashed for the 73rd time, this time right in the middle of an interview I was recording. It will be repaired, but in my present business I can’t really afford to try to use an iPad for 5 days and computer repairs are an inevitable part of being in business.

Here’s where it got interesting.

Migrate? With What?

I started thinking about migrating data and programs from one machine to another, but for some reason I kept drawing a blank.

Then I realized why: so much of what I do I’ve already moved to the cloud or to other people’s servers.

I’ve got a backup disk with lots of gigabytes of stuff, but most of my critical files are backed up with various services like Dropbox. I’ve got files on my web host servers, files on and

Most of the files on our backup discs are about the past, and we’ll probably never look at them again.

It’s like the paper files stashed in filing cabinets everywhere. Some estimates say that 90% of them will never see the light of day again. But for some reason, we need to keep them.

Looking at the new iMac, I decided to see if I could operate it more like a hybrid of a terminal. Although it has software on it, most of it is for connecting to cloud services.

I sat down and after going through the obligatory Apple setup, I immediately downloaded Google’s Chrome browser.

I set up and logged into my main social media and membership accounts:

  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Goodreads
  • Third Tribe
  • Flickr

I felt quite at home, but I had no files. In quick order, I installed:

  • Dropbox
  • Evernote
  • Skype
  • EZs3

In a couple of cases, like the handy Call Recorder utility for Skype, I had to send an installer file over from my larger machine. But it all took less than 40 minutes.

With WordPress for blogging, and the handy iA Writer App for dealing with text files, I felt ready to go. This blog post is the result.

Can You Live in the Clouds?

Looking at this modern little computer gave me a good feeling. When you spend time writing, rather than designing books and covers, the big monitors that are so handy for graphics work become a liability.

Over a year of writing on my iPad has taught me this: distraction-free writing environments help focus, and you can be much more productive.

So it’s going to be an experiment. All the graphics can stay on the big screen, and the rest of our work can easily move to smaller screens and more intimate devices.

In that scenario, the cloud is pretty much all you need. And while I’m trying to figure out the new Magic Mouse—a little slippery bar of soap that’s been gifted with the touch interface—I’m starting to wonder what’s going to fill up that 1T drive this thing came with?

Have you found yourself migrating to the cloud and similar services? Has it affected your workflow? I think it’s the shape of the future, starting now.

Photo by Fractal Artist

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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