Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Eating your own dogfood

There's a term in software or IT and it's called Eating your own dog food, or to put it another way - be your own customer. If you produce a product, be it software or hardware, then you should use it yourself. 

I've been a proponent of cloud applications for business for a long time. The reduced costs in terms of licenses, (almost) zero IT costs for support all make the cloud pitch such a big win. You would think that I use it every day. Well I haven't. Yes I use applications on the web every day but most of my life is spent on a laptop along with the necessary local applications such as MS Office and other "traditional" apps. Add in my big hard drive with it's mountain of documents and other files and I'm nowhere near as cloud based as I should.

So it's the start of a new year and I am trying an experiment. I'm going cloud. Not only am I using my wonderful apps from Apptimi to manage my day to day business, but I'm also moving everything from my desktop (laptop) out into the bold bad world that is the cloud. 

Here's what I've got so far.

- Google Drive for document/file storage. I use this a lot simply because it's where and it integrates with everything so well. I've moved everything from "my documents" on my laptop to a Google drive folder. Thank you Google for 25GB of drive space.

- Dropbox. Just because it's there and I have 50GB (thanks Samsung). it's also great for sharing docs.

- Google Apps. My replacement for MS Office. Not as full featured as their MS office counterparts but then again do we really need all those options and settings that are in MS Office? How many times do we actually use them? I like Google apps such as the doc or spreadsheet apps for their simplicity. They are fast, quick to open and uncluttered and it doesn't take long to get up to speed with them. Think of a business with temporary or contract staff and no in-house training. Google apps would not be a barrier.

- Apptimi. The new apps we have in Apptimi such as Contact manager and the customer service app will allow me to manage all customer issues & contacts. Yes we need to be able to sync the contact list with a mobile device but that will come. For now it's a great way to keep on top of customer issues and above all, to share the issues and contact activity across multiple users. That's what cloud is all about.

- Photos & Video. All on Google+ with more on Dropbox. 

As you can see I use a lot of Google stuff. That's more by accident than design. Maybe it's because I'm a long time Android user or maybe it's because most of Google's stuff was free when I started. Maybe that was Googles plan all along - suck me in with Android and other goodies and I'll then move my business also. I'm not stuck on Google stuff but for right now it fits my needs.

How's it going so far? Not bad. One thing about going "all cloud" is you need a good internet connection. if it goes down then you're down and most apps don't have a good offline or disconnected side. it's the downside of putting everything out there.

The "My Documents" folder on my trusty windows machine is now empty. Zero!. Hasn't been that way for a long time. 

Questions?


  • What do I do when I'm on a plane? Yes wifi is there or is coming but at what cost. What do I do for 8 or 10 hours when I don't have a connection and EVERYTHING is up in the cloud? Time to change how I work, and rest?
  • Video editing is a pain in the cloud. No I don't do a lot of it but just tried it at the weekend and it's full of pain. Cloud and large file sizes don't go well together. Need to think about this more.
  • How do I scan a document if I don't have a PC? Where does the scan go?


This is only week two but so far it's going well. I can now pick up any device anywhere and get access to all my docs or apps without installing anything. 

I'll come back to this again over the coming weeks and months and update on how I'm doing.  If all goes according to plan my next desktop (laptop) may not even be a laptop at all - Maybe substitute a Chromebook or Tablet or both and go all the way. 

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