Thing 12: Data Clouds

Huge files are a pain to work on. I’ve got a manuscript I’m editing right now, and it’s over 200 pages – how am I supposed to finish this, let alone at one computer?

Enter the cloud. Shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand to your computer, handheld device, whatever you need it on. What does this mean? It means the cloud loves you. The cloud *is* love. The cloud wants you to be able to work on your project from any computer, without having to email new versions to yourself over and over. The cloud wants you to have that Lady Gaga mp3 anywhere you go. The cloud wants you to be happy. (And to dance to Lady Gaga.)

It’s not just a glorified flash drive, either – some endless capacity. You can use the cloud to only have secret files that only you can access, or you can change the privacy settings of a file (or several files) so that they can be read or also worked on by the people you choose. That means that this isn’t just convenient for you, it’s convenient for any group you collaborate with for school, for work, whatever. Google Docs is a great place to start if you’re still not sure what it’s all about. If you don’t like the layout, or you want to try something else, don’t worry – there are lots of other cloud sites that do just as much if not more for you, but it’s hard to find a better price than free, especially when your starting storage is so generous. And when I’m done with Google Docs, I can go right up to the bar at the top and click over to my email. And right back. Perfect.

(The cloud does love me.)

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Thing 11: RSS

(Thanks, ByteLove)

When I first started Livejournal, people explained the site as a blog website with “friends page” that was like an RSS feed for your buddies. I had no idea what that meant, but I knew that it was an online thing I could use to keep in touch with friends that had already (gasp) graduated high school. So why not use it?

Turns out RSS feeds are actually pretty useful, even though I’ve only just begun using them (and, actually, incorporated them into my livejournal friends list.) I hadn’t even been paying attention, but it’s what added writer/creator Warren Ellis to my list, as well as the comparatively mild Questionable Content for all my hipster comic needs. It’s also useful for friends who have moved to other blogging sites (like the DreamWidth beta, for one) that I want to keep up with. In that way Livejournal allows me to post my own content and have a one-stop-page to check my other LJ friends, non-LJ friends, and non-friends. (I would call Warren Ellis my friend except I have never met him and he scares me.)

But what about an actual legitimate RSS reader? I just went to Google’s, suspecting that I wouldn’t even have to register, and I was right. Since I already have a Gmaila account, I just entered in my username and password for that, and bam! I had my own Reader. Not only that, it was suggesting five people that I might want to ‘follow’. How did it know? Because those five people are on my Gchat in Gmail. Interconnected much?

But actually, what do I need to put in this thing? I’ve got Livejournal for friends’ blogs, and I’ve got Facebook for friends’… faceposts. And each of those is already a little interwoven with the blogosphere, pulling in a few internet celebrities and webcomics here and there. Maybe Google Reader would be a more comprehensive hub for non-friend stuff. Maybe it would be redundant. Upon checking, I could use it to check in on my livejournal communities. Okay, that’s definitely recursive. Hmm. Well, at least I can plug in a few news sites that I’ve been meaning to keep up with but always forget about. That could be a…

…wait, Helen Thomas retired indefinitely?

Okay, I found a use for this.

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