As I progress through life, it seems there are more and more computing instances I need to interact with (much to my wife’s annoyance I’m sure). With this expanse of computing power, it becomes more and more of a requirement to install and sync information across all these devices.
For me personally, I hardly ever sit in front of just one computer. As I type this on my iMac, I have a PC, a PC laptop and a Mac laptop on various surfaces around me, all showing different facets of essentially the same information. In other vSpecialist posts, we talk about virtualisation and the portability of workloads and diverse storage architecture in a virtual environment. For an ‘end user’ (or any user who sits at a computer for that matter), the principles are the same for our personal data – the 2 concepts dovetail quite nicely. Virtual and cloud concepts exist to support data and information portability.
How we gather information also impacts this requirement. Those with portable aspects to their everyday lives need to take their information with them – supported either by a smartphone, netbook, tablet or full laptop device. These, and others with more static requirement often have to interface with other static computing instances – this is all born out by me sitting amongst 4 other devides (including my iPhone). Aside from the physical requirements, preference and opportunity also play a role in how we gather inforation. I gather a lot of information whilst at work, and need to save it later for reading either offline or at home. My email needs to go with me everywhere, as do social media tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn, not forgetting my To Do lists for home and work.
This portability and diversity has led to a new tranche of applications and services that come together to allow data and information to reside across many devices.
So, what am I aiming for with all this rhetoric? I have been meaning to post for a while about the applications I use to manage my everyday life, and how these have changed over the years, and how it’s become more of a core requirements for applications to support data across multiple devices and platforms.
A couple of notes:
- We are a Mac house, my wife and I both use MacBooks and our main home machine is an iMac. PCs in our house are mainly for work.
- We don’t work for any of these companies, and make no claims as to the absolute or future functionality. These are just our preferences and what works for us.
Here are my thoughts:
Email. With everything, I have several accounts, and need to access them from everywhere. At the core is MobileMe from Apple, which is either accessible mostly from my Mail application on my main portable and iPhone, but also by any web client – so no surprise there. (I couldn’t deal with the old ways of email anymore – POP to 1 client just wouldn’t cut it anymore).
Productivity. For my main ‘To Do’ lists, I use Things for Mac by CuturedCode. This syncs with our iMac, MacBooks, iPhone and iPad so we always know what’s next to do on the list.
Web Cuttings. For information snippets from the web, I use Delicious.com. Adding snippets is easy, can be tagged as categories into lists, and saved for reading another time.
Information Portability. Only one stop here - Evernote. Evernote is a an application available for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android devices, all of which sync data between them using a free-to-register account. This is what enables information sharing between all my devices and allows me to move data around so easily!
File Portability. Again, only one stop here - Dropbox. Available for Mac, Windows, Linux and portable devices, this allows sync’ing of files across all instances of your devices irrespective of format or platform source. Freely downloadable and registered by a free account, moving files about without firewall restrictions or attachment size limits was never easier!
Social Media. There are many options for Twitter applications, but the 2 best ones I’ve found are TweetDeck (available as a browser extension or application download), or Twitterific for Mac. Both are excellent and well featured.
So – these are the applications I install when using a new device. But, got any more I should be looking at? Drop me a comment and add to the list!