Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Upgrades and Downtime

The main problem of living on the cloud hit me last night when I got home to find my phone line was dead. The UK is experiencing a lot of flooding at the moment, and although the area I live in is unaffected, I'm guessing the rain has waterlogged a box somewhere and killed the line.

As always, BT claim that testing the line reports that all is okay. When pressed, they offer to send an engineer (but it will be chargeable if it's not BTs fault). After agreeing to this (I've done it enough times to know it's a delaying tactic), they immediately noticed that the problem was not just my line, but affected a significant number of lines in my area...(!).

So the "take home" from this is that life on the cloud is only as good as the connection to the cloud. Obvious stuff, but it's amazing how reliant one becomes on a permanent net connection.

Got to work this morning to read that Google Docs and Spreadsheets have been upgraded. The new interface is better and supports folders. It's still missing a way to bulk download documents for backup purposes. Will need to investigate this a bit more, but it's a good upgrade.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

More cloud talk

I've been using Google Docs and Spreadsheets more and more. It's actually more than suitable for knocking out simple documents, and the ability to use it as a collaboration tool is very smart.

My experience with Google Reader has also been very positive. Finally a way to keep my RSS feed reading synchronised between work, home and away! And today I've managed to go another step towards living on the cloud: Yahoo! Bookmarks.

The old Yahoo! Bookmarks was a bit rubbish - too difficult to manage. So what does the new one have that improves on locally managed Bookmarks (beyond the obvious), and why not use Google Bookmarks? The killer feature of Yahoo! Bookmarks for me is the ability to save a copy of the page and view bookmarks using thumbnail images. All wrapped up in a nice AJAX interface.

So the cloud experience is going well. There are still concerns about backing up - perhaps something the Google and Yahoo APIs will address, and the concerns about privacy won't go away (but then I'm not storing personal sensitive details in the cloud).

Of interest is the ability to access data from anywhere. Google have created a Java application for my k800i phone that provides a really decent interface to Gmail. Yahoo have similar offerings, so I'll be doing some further investigation into that soon...