Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cloud Addict

ToDo for iPad
Internet technology changes so fast.  Just two years ago, I led a succession of workshops on Challenge Based Learning.  I remember in one of the introductory sessions I explained the concept of "cloud" computing.  That already seems quaint, considering almost all of those same persons are now using Google Apps or accessing files through their Dropbox accounts.

Nearly all of my computing takes place in the cloud where I have located some pretty sizable storage in Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and Amazon Cloud Drive.  So I have decided to let this blog post serve as a milestone for taking stock of my workhorse cloud apps.  As I mentioned in My iPad Workflow, I will expound a bit on the first two.
The ToDo apps for OS and iOs have become even more essential for organizing my work and personal time than my calendars. Here, I can store all manner of lists and short notes. The "tasks" can be set up for sublists as projects or checklists. For instance, I am working on a project slowly cataloging some of my music. I can set up a music catalog project and nest all the little tasks and self-imposed deadlines inside. Of course I can do the same thing with a major work project, like building an electrical substation.  

Checklists are handy for the grocery store since all of these lists synch across all five of my Apple devices, thanks to iCloud. I usually use my iPhone for these. However, the iPad interface with ToDo is splendid.
I have made a major commitment to Evernote as a place to keep all of my files. A year ago, I inherited two file cabinets full of folders related to my job. Since assuming my position managing school "operations", I have only contributed to one drawer. The majority of the the quotes, contracts, and diagrams that I receive, come to me in digital form. And at first I simply printed them out and filed them because I was afraid of losing track of them. In the mean time, I tried two different solutions for project management, before landing on Evernote.

I now store all such files in Evernote for four very good reasons
1) I can access them anywhere. Evernote interfaces well across platforms and can be accessed through apps or online.
2) It is simple to get files to Evernote. Much of the time I simply forward email notes and snapshots directly to my inbox.
3) Notes can be collected in notebooks and notebooks can be collected in stacks. These notes can be cross-tabluated with tags
4) The deal-breaker is the fabulous search capability of Evernote. It can even search text within pdfs and images.  
All of my work files are stored in Dropbox so that I can access them anywhere. This has become an essential workflow app with the iPad for everyone at Mercy.

I have just started using Chrome as my default browser. Besides being fast, I have had much better luck with extensions than with Firefox and Safari. It synchs across my computers better than the other browsers as well.

As a school we've gone to the cloud for our email solution. Count me as one user who has no regrets.
Google Drive
Because they work so well with Moodle I have been along time fan of Google Docs for sharing documents. I continue to use them more than any other word processing software.
iCal/Google Calendar
Where would I be without cloud calendars? Surely at the wrong place at the wrong time

Address Book
It probably goes without saying that many of us now expect our contacts to be at our finger tips wherever we go. Already MobileMe is a long ago painful memory. iCloud has assisted me greatly in terms of synching calendars and contacts.odo app.

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