You hear it referred to everywhere, “Cloud Computing” – but what on earth are they talking about?
Basically, it’s internet based computing which means that you have no software to install, infrastructure to maintain and you can have access to your documents, files, emails, etc from wherever you happen to be (provided you have access to the internet, of course).
Chances are you are already working “in the cloud” one way or another (think systems like Hotmail, Flickr and YouTube).
As a busy parent (and solo entrepreneur) I use many cloud computing applications and they make my life (and running my household) so much easier. Here are my top five cloud computing apps for busy parents:
- Google Apps: Particularly Google Calendar, which I synch with my iPhone and use to keep track of our family’s appointments, birthdays, school holidays etc.
- Skype – The cheapest way to make long distance calls. I particularly love the video calling functions which is a great way to give the kids face-time with family and friends that live in other states/countries.
- Remember the Milk – Think of it as an online ‘to do’ list. I use it to remind me when bill payments are due, to renew insurances – even to buy birthday presents! With the ability to use it from your phone and to share your tasks (I often share tasks with hubby) it’s definitely a keeper.
- Evernote – Is like an online scrapbook/notepad/post-it-note – Capture all of your thoughts, ideas, and inspirations, into a single place. These could be text notes, webpage clips, PDFs and more (and it’s free!)
- Dropbox – For storing all your documents and files online. You can add it as a folder inside your ‘My Documents’ and it acts like any other network drive – except all the data is also stored/backed up on line. After suffering a complete system failure on my home PC last year where I lost all of my children’s photos, household documents etc, it’s reassuring to know that all of my precious files are now safely stowed online, but I can also access them directly from my PC’s “My Documents” whenever I need to. Hands down my favourite cloud computing app :-)
What are your favourite cloud computing apps? Do you have one that you absolutely swear by – if so, we’d love to hear about it!