I’m spending time these days “nesting” on my new computer: installing programs, getting the files I need, setting up preferences, logging into websites. The process is more pleasant this time around than the last time I bought a computer four years ago. Why? Because now I make more extensive use of net-based applications and resources.
The best example of this is Gmail. I don’t have to move any files at all. Once I log in, I’m done. I don’t have to commit to putting an email client on my machine or my wife’s machine. I can check my mail with equal ease from either computer (or from work, for that matter). Net-based email isn’t new, but my recent headaches with home networking (I still can’t get my two PCs to talk to each other) have driven home the point that moving my gear into the internet cloud has some powerful advantages. I’m willing to take a significant hit in functionality in order to stop being my own network administrator. My current solution for printing from my wife’s computer is to Gmail the file as an attachment to my computer and then print it. Roy uses Gmail as a mountable drive in order to share pictures with his brother.
Once a file is safely out there in the cloud somewhere, it’s somebody else’s job to keep it backed up, indexed, and accessible. Privacy, security, reliability, these are risks I’m willing to take. Does that make me foolhardy or ahead of the curve?