Thursday, December 10, 2009

Living in the Clouds Part 1

For most of my computer use this month I will be using a computer where the only thing I have paid for is the computer itself. I am using a browser to access all my applications, keep my notes, write this blog, store files and photos and much much more. All of the work that traditionally took place in office suite type applications, was stored on hard drives, moved around on floppy disks, then portable media drives, and then USB drives eventually printed on paper are now being done, stored, shared and submitted online. This is known as cloud computing.
If my "experiment" works, it could have multiple implications on the use of technology at my school. There could be economic, procedural and pedagogical repercussions with this type of change. In this first part, I am going to list out what web 2.o applications I am using and for what purpose. While this list is not finite, it will illustrate the backbone of what is being used.

First and formost I needed to choose a browser, and for this experiment as I am calling it, I have chosen to use Google Chrome. This is a very scaled down, low frills and fast moving browser. My usual browser of choice is firefox, but I thought this would be a great chance to run Chrome through its paces. Added onto chrome I have used add-ons for google wave, Picnik, Google Voice, Diigo, Blogger and evernote. The home page I use is an iGoogle home page with links to my most used applications and webpages.

The applications I have chosen are those that will help me with productivity, and other work and home related tasks. What I am not using this for is leisure or gaming.

Basic Tasks: Google Docs, word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, forms.
Email: Gmail, integrated with other google apps and easy to use from multiple computers.
Photos: Picasa & Picnik, depending on how involved I want to be.
Notes and Organization: Evernote, good filing system and web based.
Calendar: Google Calendar, easy to use, ical friendly, easy to organize multiple calendars.
Bookmarking: Diigo, interactive social bookmarking with good tagging tools.
Online Storage: Dropbox, 2 gigs of free storage.
RSS Feeds: Google Reader, integrated system with other google apps, easy to use.
Twitter: Tweetdeck, while this does take a good amount of memory, it is still better to organize your tweets.
Blogging: Blogger, again an easy to use app that integrates with other google features.
Screen Capture: Jing, easy to install and use. While not feature rich, until fireshot or something like it is available for Chrome, this will do.

I am sure that this list will grow, but my goal is not to spend a cent on any applications. If something changes and there is a charge for on of the above programs, I will abandon it and look for a similar application elsewhere. I will post reviews as I learn and grow with this and will blog about that too.

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