Early this year I experimented with having all my essential work related data online. I wanted things I needed for my section, my copy desk job and columns centralized on free online accounts and accessible anywhere.
I wanted to be able to work on things anywhere – office, home or an Internet cafe – if I wanted or needed to. I used several free services in my attempt to make the Internet my computer. I am listing the services below in the hope that if you know of a better one, you’d leave a note so that I can transfer to it.
For file storage I use Streamload. The site’s free account offers 10GB of storage with a monthly download bandwidth of 100 MB. The free account is more than enough for my needs since I store only photos for my coming columns, Office documents and PageMaker files of the special section I handle.
I previously used Yahoo Briefcase but it only offers a paltry 30MB free account. I’ve long been wishing that Google enters the free online storage service. I once tried a script that would turn your GMail account into an online drive but I somehow botched things when I tested it earlier this year. Maybe I should revisit the script.
I’ve tried a lot of wikis, particularly TiddlyWiki adaptations. You can read my quest for the perfect Tiddly Wiki in the links on the right, under the Highlights heading. At this stage, I’m alternating the use of my ZiddlyWiki and free serversidewiki.com account. If you don’t keep a lot of notes and you can group these into 10 subjects, then the free account at serversidewiki.com is enough for you.
I keep my serversidewiki.com account open whenever I am online so that I can just write down notes while surfing web pages. I use ZiddlyWiki for more extensive note takings like planning for an article or a project.
Both ZiddlyWiki and serversidewiki.com allow you to hide notes from the public by tagging these as private.
To do lists
Backpackit.com and tadalists.com are great for to-do lists. Since I use TiddlyWiki adaptations, however, I no longer needed many of its features. Rememberthemilk.com is a simpler to-do lists service and fits my need real well.
I centralize my news monitoring and other online reading needs through an RSS reader. Before Google Reader was launched, I used Bloglines. When Google Reader started to become dependable after a few days of frequent downtimes shortly after its launch, I now use it extensively for my RSS feeds.
The first thing I open when I go online is my personal start page listing all the web sites that I’m supposed to check as part of my work and effort to learn things. I would have wanted that I no longer have use of this start page but not all the sites have RSS feeds. After the start page, I then open my serversidewiki.com account and then my GMail account. After checking my mails, I then open Google Reader to go through new articles and postings in the sites I monitor. I only go to a site if I find anything of interest through its RSS feeds.
Several years after the founders of Sun said “the network is the computer,” we are at the fringes of that becoming a possibility. The closest service to having an online desktop is Microsft’s recent product, Windows Live. It is unfortunate, however, that it still only works with the company’s Internet Explorer.
But with the launch of Windows Live, would Google be far behind in offering a virtual desktop for users? And with more of our data being stored online, we are increasingly exposed to security risks of data theft.