I have been planning for quite some time now to bring back TechParent Tuesday, but I wanted to do something a little more focused than the radom reviews that I had been doing previously. Â Now, unless you have been living under a rock for the past year or so, I am sure you are aware or have at least heard of using “the cloud” for your computing, the theory that the OS is becoming irrelevant and that everything you do is or will be available on the web. Â
This concept in not new. Â In days past, when companies like Sun Micrososystems were touting, “The network is the computer” and Netscape that was talking about a BrowserOS, the idea was half baked. Â We didn’t have the tools or the abilities yet actually have a full rewarding experience without the underlying OS doing the heavy lifting. Â If you wanted to do “web e-mail” sure many of the same players, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc were around, but you got 2MB of storage, and a slow interface that had to refresh with every click. Â Tolerable, but certainly not what you would want to live your life in. Â There were also many pieces of the puzzle still missing, so while you could do some things online, you could not do everything.
When the first netbooks started appearing last year, the message that these computer makers were trying to send is that, at least for casual everyday use, that now the web is ready. Â Most people are still skeptical, as is shown by how the netbook market has already changed. Â The first machines offered you about 2GB of storage, the theory being that you would only install what you needed to get to where you wanted to go and possibly some other small add-ons like an IM client. Â Now most machines come with at least 100 GB of storage (because even if you want to live in the cloud, there are just some times unless you have the money to have an aircard from a wireless carrier installed, you will need SOME stuff to work when you are not connected). Â
I am going to take my Asus eeePC, and for my personal life and work test out this theory and see if and how well I can live life in the cloud. Â At least initially, my only offline access will be provided through Google Gears. Â So I will use GMail for mail (which I had been mostly doing anyway) and importing the mail from my other accounts rather than turning to Microsoft Outlook. Â I will start out with Google Docs (since it can use Gears as well) for all my documents, spreadsheets, etc. Â Though I will test out some of the other online document creation tools as well. Â Meebo will serve as my IM client. Â Photoshop Express or Aviary will become my image editors, and well… I think you get the idea. Â No local applications installed. Â If I really start missing interacting with a desktop, I will give DesktopTwo a whirl again (but I wasn’t that thrilled with it the first time around).
So wish me luck, this is as close to “roughing it” as I care to get these days. Â I will report back on how these and any other living in the cloud apps work.Â If you have suggestions of products or sites you think I should try out, then by all means let me know.