Category Archives: Uncategorized

Not a Technology Expert but the Chromebook Eases My Nerves

A few weeks ago I expressed my displeasure and disgust with my Windows machine, particularly its chronic requirement to update at the most inconvenient times.  I’m still using said machine, but for music and photos only.  That may change soon as well.  However for writing I’ve chosen to use a Chromebook.

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Most of what I do is on the web and a lot of it is in the Googlesphere so it made sense for me to go with the Chromebook because I knew everything would work seamlessly, play well with my other devices and it came with ports for me to plug in anything else I may need. The next decisions were size (11″ or 14″) and brand.

The size question was easy.  I wanted something small and light that would fit in just about any bag.  The 11″ filled that requirement.  I was leaning toward the H-P but read (repeatedly) that there had been a problem with the charger and that the HP 11″ had been pulled from retailers.  It has since returned but with my nerves reaching the fraying point and not wanting to wait I went with Samsung.  Their products are familiar and their Chromebook placed better in reviews than the Acer version.

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How I use it
Writing – All blog drafts are written in Evernote most other docs are created on Google Drive (except when working with other Windows/Microsoft users).  Evernote and Drive can be used on all my devices and I was starting a lot of blog posts on my phone anyway so the Chromebook made it more convenient and comfortable.

Photos – I don’t do much with photos on the Chromebook except add them to blog posts. if the photos were taken on a camera I pull and edit (if necessary) on my Windows machine, if there is no editing photos are uploaded from the SD card to Google Drive and pulled into the blog. it’s pretty convenient and simple.

Video – I have watched a few videos on the machine and was underwhelmed.  I don’t know what the resolution is on the Chromebook but the colors are not dynamic.  However for Exercise video I use the Chromebook exclusively.  I workout in the morning and have ZERO time to wait on my Windows machine to do all that syncing and updating.  I open the Chromebook, sign in, click YouTube and start working out.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Drawbacks

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When I first used the keyboard I was a bit annoyed that the delete, end, home and caps lock buttons are non-existent.  That was fixed by Googling the keyboard shortcuts of which my most frequently used is “delete” which is alt+backspace. Additionally using a web machine requires some organization in terms of files and workflow.  I’d been subconsciously prepping for the move to mostly web-based work for a couple of years so it wasn’t a bad transition.  However if you’re heavily dependent on local files you’ll have a bit of work to do.

Recommendations
I highly recommend the Chromebook for writers.  It’s so simple, fast and convenient I really wouldn’t think of writing on anything else especially if the majority of that writing is web-based and you want to spend your time creating instead of waiting.

Do you work mostly on the web or are you a writer?  Do you use a Chromebook to meet those needs or another machine? Let me know in the comments, Twitter or Google+ and let me know your experiences.

Note: I’m not a paid spokesperson for Google or Samsung. Remember, I’m not an expert 🙂

Photos: MsThorns
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Not a Smartphone Expert, Just Heavily Dependent

RIP Samsung Infuse 9/3/2011-3/28/13
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The dates are a bit misleading, I killed one in July of last year, this was actually the insurance replacement.

The Infuse was my first Android phone and my first GIANT phone. I was a serial killer of Blackberries, and had maxed out but did not kill an iPhone 3G before I got the Infuse, which was purchased out of iPhone frustration.  As a heavy Google user, my inability to get full cooperation between the iPhone which was old and slow and Google products sent me running to the AT&T store. The crafty folks there talked me into an Android, the Infuse.  I thought it was da BOMB for all of two days before it started cutting up. Shutting down, dropping calls, battery dying fast.  I cussed out AT&T repeatedly, went to the factory story to get it fixed, tried to update from Froyo (remember that) to Gingerbread and the update failed, experiencing problems upon problems.   In spite of all that and requiring a replacement, I made it work.

My smartphone is my main computer and my part-time camera. I dog it like every phone that’s ever been in my possession.  This one was particularly nice because of the screen size and the resolution, it takes great pictures.  I’ve written blog posts on it, shared documents from it, sent emails and engaged on my social networks from it, then it died, it stopped taking a charge on a Thursday.

Friday morning I called AT&T about my options and went to a store.  I ended up ordering another insurance replacement (not an Infuse, praise Jesus) but had to wait on it to arrive.  I have a work phone but I don’t take personal calls or texts, nor run any apps on it, so I purchased a GO phone. I’ve had withdrawal ever since.

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First of all this thing has physical keys, no touch screen.  Everything is menus and navigation and what you need at any given moment is difficult to find.  You can browse the web, and there are Twitter and Facebook apps, but they are barely usable.  Multimedia messages come through but they come through in parts and you have to “play” them.  The camera is serviceable but is 2 megapixels.  Over the weekend I ended up using my work phone and the mobile versions of Twitter and G+ which were slow but doable because I just couldn’t take it anymore and am too lazy to be fulling with a laptop for everything.

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In the end this post is really a “first world problem” post.  I don’t need a smartphone, I don’t know that it’s a real need for anyone, it is a convenience, one that lets me stay immediately up to date on everything around me.  GO phones or any variation of them is an excellent low-cost, low-maintenance option and trust me I’m thankful they exist and pray they continue to do so. A couple of good things happened while I was without a smartphone: I got more reading done, actually watched some TV over the weekend and most importantly learned that if need be I can do without.

By the way, I’m keeping the GO phone. I won’t be without back-up ever again.
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Not a web/tech expert blames it on Twitter

My anger at the death of Google Reader that is…

I joined Twitter during the fall of 2008 to stay on top of the elections. The political folks that I followed were sharing links to articles relevant to the election. Following those links to the designated blogs, I found that many of those blogs were ones that I’d like to read on an ongoing basis. The difficulty was keeping up with all of them. Bookmarking at the time was all I knew and doing that for every blog, then clicking through these everyday would preclude me from doing my job, the one I got paid for. The election and my involvement in it was as a volunteer but I still need to stay on top of news and polls and things.  Somebody on Twitter, I’m not sure, who pointed me to RSS.  I could subscribe via this RSS thing and get everything in a snippet. I could get snippets from all over the web and look at them in one place (an aggregator) that aggregator was Google Reader.

Now the web is blowing up with the news that Google Reader will be shut down on July 1st.

What the f#-%/+%+#;;&(;-1($/&(&*+$++%!  I’m not happy about this news at all. For the following reasons:

  1. Google Reader is so easy to set up- I didn’t even know what the hell RSS was and still don’t understand the mechanisms as to how blog posts end up in nice neat excerpts or full posts in one place.  All I know is to click subscribe via RSS, choose the reader, in this case Google Reader and all the posts end up in one spot.
  2. Google Reader is easy to maintain – tagging, organizing and labeling are things that DO make sense to me.  They’re just means of organizing work flow.  I could tag, label and organize to my hearts content.  I could change the names, move subscriptions the whole nine with just a couple of clicks.
  3. Google Reader works everywhere – I’ve had both excellent and craptastic pcs, phones, browsers and operating systems during my years of using Google Reader and it was operable on every single one of them.
  4. Google Reader was social – to the extent that you could share to your social spaces with a click.  I have shared stuff on every social media account I’ve ever had.  I’ve shared to my blogs as well with additional commentary.
  5. Google Reader was for everybody – technical expertise of any kind was not required for use. Just click the ability to click.

All of that comes crashing to halt, momentarily anyway for me.  I guess I’ll check out Lifehacker and see what they have to say about alternatives.  I’d like to know what you have to say about the end of Google Reader.  Let me know in the comments.  As for Google, shame on you!

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Not a music journalist but I dug “Ladies of Jazz”

I know a good ticket when I see one and this ticket was a deal. For $40 + all those ridiculous surcharges, on Friday night October 19, the old broad headed to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center for the Ladies of Jazz show featuring Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding.

The Scene
Last time I went to the Center was four years ago. Having been open only a few months at the time, it was a sparkling facility and it’s just as sparkling now as it was then. The ushers were very friendly and helpful, the bathrooms and common areas were spotless. Upon being seated in the auditorium the crowd seemed to be fairly light. Which was unusual because for a Friday evening, there were no traffic snarls on the way to the venue. Little did I know that there would indeed be a full house. People were just late and not even fashionably late but rudely late. Many arriving halfway through the first artist’s set. Atlanta music patrons, please get it together. The artists deserve better than that.

The Artists

Terri Lyne Carrington
Drummer, Terri Lyne Carrington and her band opened the show. Her set was short, too short for me which amount to about seven songs some of which were from her most recent release Mosaic. I’d only recently discovered her music after watching a YouTube video with footage from some of the Mosaic recording sessions and finally purchased Mosaic a few weeks ago. Carrington opened her set with “Triad” (from Mosaic) which is a burner. Her band consisted of guitar, acoustic bass, trumpet and saxophone. Moving quickly through her set, other standouts tunes included the third cut “Hopscotch” followed by a cut entitled “Sweden” which she said was inspired buy a recent tour date there. The finale which I cannot name opened with an outstanding drum solo, which from what I hard and saw, makes me really dig her playing, which is her efficiency. There’s no wasted energy, no theatrics, flying drumsticks, sweaty brow and such. Carrington takes command of her kit like a bawse! I’ve heard many a drum solo in my day and have watched drummers play as if they’re trying to kill their kit no such thing with Carrington. She commands while being understated and it works.

Impressions
The saxophonist, who also played in Spalding’s band is special. Her name is Tia Fuller. She’s released a few albums as a leader and can flat-out blow. I also would have like to hear more from the bassist. The guitarist was efficient and the trumpeter seemed to be having some wardrobe malfunction with her shirt sleeves. I don’t know how she played as I was distracted by her shirt sleeve fidgeting :-/
Upon hearing Carrington live and reading up on her I regret being late to the party. From this show, I’d say she’s a musician first and a performer second. There’s no doubt that more of Terri Lynne Carrington’s music will be added to my library and hopefully additional opportunities to hear her live.

Esperanza Spalding
Turns out that the auditorium was full for the second set when bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding hit the stage. I first heard Spalding via @Fave and his former podcast show Friday Favecast. She was all the hype at the time and won a best new artist Grammy in 2011. Though I’m not a music journalist, I am a bit of a music snob and when I hear hype or what I perceive as hype I steer clear. Fast forward to 2012 and he release of Spalding’s Radio Music Society. I “caved” copped it and loved it. She has a sweet vocal and in my ear I hear shades of two important vocalists, Michael Franks and Minnie Ripperton. Divergent, a bit, but to me she references them both in delivery and tone but let’s be clear it’s not just Spalding’s vocals that garner attention, she gets down on the bass, acoustic and electric.

The Set
This is my recollection of Spalding’s set (with comments), all from Radio Music Society:

  1. City of Roses – Spalding entered the stage on electric bass, the crowd was bananas and there were catcalls from my section (fans please get it together, this isn’t appropriate). She introduced her entire band which included, piano/keyboards, three saxophonists, two trombonists, two trumpeters (the female trumpeter was also a vocalist) a male vocalist, drummer and guitarist.
  2. Hold On Me – Spalding simmered on this. Nice range and beautiful clear tone. She nailed this.
  3. I Can’t Help It – MJ would have been pleased with this rendition.
  4. Smile
  5. Crowned and Kissed
  6. Black Gold – The intro featured the male vocalist who referenced Trayvon Martin. The intro nearly brought me two tears for both the vocal and the content. Algebra Blessett joined Spalding for the remainder of the song.
  7. Land of the Free – Spalding provided narrative on this one. Telling the story of Cornelius Dupree who was imprisoned for 30 years and set free as a result of the efforts of the Innocence Project. Proceeds from merchandise at the show were donated to Innocence Project
  8. Endangered Species – the entire band went hard on this one, male trumpeters solo was excellent.
  9. Radio Song – finale with audience participation and was great fun
  10. Encore – I’m not sure of the name of the tune but Spalding played acoustic bass accompanied by Terri Lyne Carrington on drums. Brief but nice with a stripped down sound and feel.

Impressions
I can honestly say that I’m now a believer. For me the true test is always how a musician comes across live and quite frankly she nailed it. She has the musical and performance chops and is really engaging. Her band was excellent and didn’t miss a beat. Spalding definitely has the chops and will hopefully be around a long time to bless us with her talent. I’d certainly see her again.

If you caught the Atlanta Ladies of Jazz show or have heard these artists live in your town. I’d love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to do so in the comments.

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Not a Photographer but I’m doing the G+ 365 Project Anyway

After joining the Google+ community (and yes it is that, forget what you heard) I found it to be a great place for photo-sharing.  As a person who is not a photographer but takes a lot of pictures and likes to share (some of them), I wanted to participate in/engage with the photography community. During the Christmas holiday last year, a door was opened, called the G+ 365/366 project.

About the G+ 365 project

In a nutshell G+365 is a photo-a-day project.  You take a photo every day, tag it with the +G+ 365 Project tag and share it.  The curators of the project/page may also reshare your “Public” photos.  Day 1 of your project starts whenever you decide to start so if you didn’t start on January 1, it is okay. Overall the guidelines for participating/posting are simple and of course participants have to adhere to Google’s Terms of Service.

Why did I do it?

First there was an expectation that viewing, commenting, re-sharing others photos and sharing my own shots would be inspiring.  Secondly, some skills had to be learned if I wanted to get any better and eventually upgrade to a DSLR. Participating in the project would be an education. Thirdly it was a test to see if for ONCE this old broad could stick to something for an extended period of time, without it being required.


How’s it going?
  • A month and half in, my camera broke (not really just the battery door), other than that snafu it’s been great. Thus far I’ve:
  • viewed a lot of beautiful photos
  • talked to real photographers, who are all very nice
  • learned by imitation and by just trying to stuff to see if works
  • found a couple of photography themes that I really like including +Sacred Sunday and +Powerline Friday 
  • been inspired to look at my surroundings differently
and
  • not quit the project 🙂
There are days when I’m tired after work and don’t feel like shooting.  There are days when I have no ideas, no inspiration and not even the strength to look up a theme to help me, but at the same time, quitting has not been an option. The rewards of participating however, greatly outweigh those bad days, just because of all the cool, quirky and even mundane things that I’ve seen along the way. So if you’re looking for something fun, yet challenging I highly recommend the G+ 365 Project.
In case you’re curious about what a non-photographer shoots you can see my album here.
 
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Not photographer but I may need a tripod

I wrote a post in February about my camera woes.  My Canon SX130is (point and shoot) suffered an injury and requires special care when in use, it is thank goodness, not completely broken. During the camera’s downtime, the backup camera a smaller less powerful was put in use for my daily photo-taking needs.  On a Saturday night whim I went into Target and rolled up on this:

for $89 bucks and the 15X zoom I figured, this was a no brainer.  My dad uses a Nikon DSLR, I liked it I figured I could get a baby one to meet my needs.  For the most part so far, it has. For the most part.
What I dig about it
The weight.  Some folk don’t like heavier point and shoots, I do.  The smaller camera’s like the A2200, though it takes some pretty smashing photos feels a little fragile in my hands.  The L105 is listed at 14.4 oz.
The Zoom
Is a 15X Wide Angle zoom.  Since I’m not a photographer I don’t know what all that means but I do know that I can be a bit further away from the object that I’m shooting and capture a nice image.
 
The Speed
Seems much faster especially when using flash.  The delay is not nearly as long as what I was accustomed to between shots.
It’s Simple
There’s really a ton of scene modes on the L105.  I’ve used them all with the exception of panorama.

What I didn’t care for

The Simplicity
For a person trying to learn photography and absolutely adamant about not purchasing a DSLR until she’s satisfied with her skills, the simplicity of the camera is a drawback.  The scene modes, though plentiful don’t allow you to change much.  I was pretty much accustomed to using AV and making adjustments.  On the L105 you can make a few adjustments in auto mode, but it requires several clicks through the menu to get what you want.
Image Stabilization or the lack thereof
I didn’t know that I had such a shaky hand until I went out to take pictures of the moon.  Image stabilization is not a full time option on the L105.  Only certain scene modes and Auto without full deployment of the lense have image stabilization.  I would think (can could be wrong for doing so), that full-time image stabilization should be standard on a point and shoot.
Macro
Is weird. There is an obvious macro button, but when used, the focus goes completely out of whack.  My shots in macro mode have been hit or miss.
Those three things aside, I’m fairly happy with this camera.  I do think because of Canon’s image stabilization I’ll likely switch back on the next purchase.  In the meantime I will continue learning/using the Nikon day to day and use the Canon, when I want to shoot the moon.
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Not a photographer, but not exactly pleased with Canon

If’ you’re on Google+ you may know about my woes with my Canon SX130 is.  It’s a nice substantial point and shoot that I won back at the end of 2010.  I’ve taken a bazillion pictures with it and was working on the next bazillion when on Valentine’s Day it failed.
It kept cutting off and the lense wouldn’t collapse back into the body.  After being pissed about it for a few days.  I gave the camera a closer inspection and found that the battery door was cracked and wouldn’t close.
This is my fourth Canon point and shoot, the second with a battery door problem. Two Saturdays ago I took a chance at getting the camera fixed and stopped at Wolf Camera.  The salesperson said they don’t do on-site work, the SX130is was still so new that it was even listed in their service book and it would likely cost $200 to send out, which I thought was outrageous. She then suggested that I use duct-tape, proceeded to tape it up for me and also recommended another a repair shop to get the battery door replaced.
On President’s Day I went to Camera Repair Japan (CRJ) and a few days later they told me that Canon is not producing battery covers for this model and that they are only offering replacement cameras.  She like the lady at Wolf Camera recommended duct tape.
Friday I finally called Canon.  They told me that they are offering replacements for out of warranty models for $130.00.  I was like WHAT?  She also told me that there was a Canon loyalty program in which I could purchase another camera at a discounted price which included (all refurbs) the SX 120is, T1i, Rebel XS and T2i, but none of my current model.  Though I’d love an SLR I can’t justify that purchase right now due to my lack of knowledge (remember, not a photographer) and I just don’t have the cash.  I decided to roll with the duct tape or to hold the cover closed while taking pictures.
Then I went to Target.
There to pick up a new gym bag and socks I stopped in electronics and saw that my model was on sale for $99, there was also a Nikon on sale for the same price. The guy tells me the only $99 Nikon available was the display.
I walked out with the Nikon, like it so far and will discuss it in a subsequent post.
 
What rubbed me raw about the battery door situation was that Canon wanted me to buy a refurb for more than what a new one costs. Although the camera is just a point and shoot I do use it daily and want it to perform.  If it  doesn’t for whatever reason I really don’t want to go through a bunch of changes to get it fixed or replaced.
If it’s this difficult now, what will it be like be like when I plunk down DSLR change?
Photographers and hobbyists please weigh in.  What’s been your experience with Canon repair and replacement? Does it get better or worse as the price of your gear goes up?
Note: I am aware that Nikon is changing or attempting to change their policy which would prohibit local repair shops from receiving parts to fix their products.  What is going on with that?
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The Other Digital Divide

One day I was on Facebook checking out my newsfeed and a friend of mine, young, under 30 and a techie posted about some music he was enjoying — which I happen to enjoy as well.  I commented and requested he make me a CD.  One of his friends responded with some comments about file sharing and such and that with technology there's much simpler ways to enjoy music now.  The mama in me wanted to check this young'n but I decided against it. My friend who made the original post was eerily silent.  When I talked to him the next day I said, asked "why do you guys do that?" that, as in why do you young folks (under 30) treat us middle age and old folks like we're dinosaurs?  He wouldn't touch that question but has often commented that I (at the prime age of 44) am more the exception than the norm for folks my age when it comes to being interested in technology.  What I have found (informally) is that my set IS consisted of dinosaurs with some exceptions.
Now I'm not an expert on technology, however I've had a computer in the home or had access to one since 1984 (my friend mentioned above was all of 2 years old).  My family was fortunate, my dad is an audiophile and has subsequently become quite gadgety (he bought the first gen iPad when it was released).  As such I've always had an interest in all things technology, not the means to purchase 😉 but definitely the interest.  
If it weren't for technology, the internet/interwebs and such I would have to do things the old fashioned way like use a map/call for directions, go to the library and spend hours in front a microfilm machine to research an old article, write a check, use a stamp and envelope to mail a bill.  Thank GOD for technology!  However my random sample of peers, older folks and some slightly younger folks (no one under 30) think that technology is:
  • Dangerous
  • Of the devil
  • Scary
  • Too difficult to understand
  • For young folks
Which is unfortunate because it can quite literally open up the entire world to you.  What's interesting is that while I was researching this piece, I researched it from a statistical viewpoint — I am 44 and an accountant by day so hard data/numbers are my thing and my cursory glance at what I found gives me a bit more hope than what my small sample of friends and family bore out.  My peers and upwards aren't necessarily technophobes, we just use it differently and not as much as our younger counter parts.

My first look was at a piece from AARP for the over 50 crowd.  From their phone survey they found that 40% of persons over 50 are comfortable using the internet and of those 57% use the internet from a desktop while only 4% use the internet on a mobile (phone) device. 27% of the 50+ set use social media, with Facebook (23%) being the primary destination.  This AARP study also overlayed a sample of  50+ Hispanics whose numbers are about half of the majority population sampled.  (Those numbers are part of the real digital divide, which is another discussion).  

The second piece that I stumbled upon was a great summary of tons of statistics on technology usage  of all kinds by all different age groups and it again, the stats here show that my peers aren't necessarily averse to technology we just use it differently.  For instance most of my peers and up have cell phones, but we talk on them more than we text on them and we have very low usage of the mobile web.  According to an FCC study 86% of all Americans own cell phones but the biggest users of mobile internet (48%) are between 19 and 29 while only 5% of 65+ folks use the mobile web.  

What does all this mean?
That the middle aged and older aren't as far behind as the young folks think, however we have some catching up to do.  That the generations might spend a little more time teaching, learning and sharing in lieu of criticizing, but how do we get this done?  That will be next post?  How we close the digital age divide?

Note:  the old broad wrote a draft of this post in Evernote using an HP dv6-3120.  The post appears on Typepad and is cross-posted from Friendfeed to Twitter :=)

 

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Not An Expert… But These Cats Are

I had to move to another building in my complex and the thought of assembling a crew and doing it myself was not particularly appealing. I'm not as young as I used to be. I mean what does a middle age broad look like carrying sofas and washing machines? My former and myself were able to handle all the miscellaneous items, you know clothes, dishes (me) books and other heavy boxes (him) but for that sofa situation, a gigantic boxy tv and all the heavy appliances and whatnots I had to bring in the heavy artillery and fast.

I wasn't in a position to break lease, it would have cost me too much, so I requested an upper (and hopefully) safer unit on an upper floor near the front of the complex.  A "hot" unit was available that I assume the management company wanted to lease to someone else but after raising so much sand they let me transfer without additional fees or requiring me to sign a new lease.  The catch was I had to move fast. Thus the process began. After a a dozen or so trips up and down two flights of steps it was a done deal.  I took some quotes and ended up selecting GT Moving Company who had the best price and were able to get it done on SHORT notice.

To my surprise on Saturday morning, the movers showed up early.  They had tried to contact me but couldn't reach me because my iPhone only works when it wants to in my dungeon apartment.  The movers came in, did a quick assessment and got right to work.  Watching them move was really something to behold. The speed, the coordination and the care that they used to handle all my heavy items, including some poorly but heavily packed boxes were remarkable. I've always been too cheap or too broke to hire a mover, especially since I got strong enough guns to handle it on my own with a couple of helpers so I never bothered.  Watching these brothers professionalism let me know…

I have been a FOOL!

If I knew before what I know now I would have let them handle the ENTIRE move and on the next move, you can believe that I will. The old broad is now officially retired from moving her own stuff.
If you're in the Atlanta metro area, I highly recommend GT Moving Company and the two man crew of David and Steve if you're not moving a mansion's worth of stuff. Stop being cheap, stop trying to handle it on your own.  These guys know what they're doing so give them call.
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Almost Through 012

This is NOT a sponsored blogged post, I'm just a satisfied customer.

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Not A Tech Blogger’s Head is in the Cloud

I've been reading about this Cloud computing for a few months. Yes I said months. I'm not a tech person, I'm an accountant who likes to write about stuff. That said I became interested in the mystical cloud because of the ongoing failures of the technology I was using and data loss as  result of technology failure and theft.

Tech Failure – Work
I use two Oracle applications plus MS Office at work.  One of those applications crashes or gets "hung up" in some weird loop where: Java scripts don't run correctly (whatever those are) Java forms don't load correctly (whatever those are), the server connection is "lost".  Of course these failures always happen when I'm on a proverbial roll. Of course these failures only occur with what I'm trying to do and… Of course my tech support, God Bless them have worked my problem every which way to Sunday.  When the failures occur now I rarely report them because it appears (in my logic) it is the way in which I use this particular app.  I don't open and close things, I leave them all open and switch between tasks (and refuse to do it any other way). Opening and closing is slow, cumbersome and ineffective considering my workload. It's faster for me to shut it down, bring it back up and keep it moving until the next crash.  That said there are some things that I do know.  There are some peak times when there are multiple users doing multiple processes that serve to tax the application and the server it runs on.  There are some other logistical, fiscal, procedural and resources issues that preclude my organization from getting full power from these apps. Frustration runs high, at the same time, users (including myself) are demanding more capabilities for which we just don't have the capacity to make happen.

Tech Failure – Home
I have a Toshiba Satellite with Vista. I hate it, it's weird, buggy and always gives me that spinning wheel when it's trying to do something.  I've been using a PC since Windows 2.0 I think. Anyone would say I should know better by now, get a clue and get a Mac.  I just might after this latest debacle. My Vista wouldn't load Tuesday night. I got stuck in the continuous restart mode. I Googled the problem. Tried some of the fixes and they didn't work. I took that puppy to the shop. The latest is that there was some update that resulted in registry errors (what does that mean???)  Fortunately my hard drive is in good shape and there was no raging virus on it.  My geeks at the shop said I could get Windows 7 for $200.00 I said, just reload Vista let me pay you and give it back.  I did a full back up after reading a blog post by @LeReg on Twitter. Glad I did. I didn't do much between Friday and Tuesday but do fear that I have lost some photos and music and my exercise log in Excel.  Frankly I'm tired of losing my data.

The Theft Problem
It's been well noted on my other blogs that I had a major burglary in my life. Years and years of photos, writing, music were gone in one fell swoop.  I would back up to zip drives and CDs every now and then and later to flash drives. But the majority of my data was held on two computers which are now gone gone gone.  I did receive a lovely Western Digital Passport (learned my lesson) as a birthday gift and I do use it but my backups usually occur about every two weeks.  I know it's important but gosh I just don't dig doing it, AT ALL.  The technology failures, user failures (me), theft and data loss have all but forced me to…

The Cloud
What I figured out is that it's not really all that mystical and makes a whole lot of sense. The biggest thing for me is that it takes the burden of hardware and software support off organizations IS groups and shifts it to the cloud host, who has the software, the hardware and the support to handle it all.  They have to have back ups of the backups to stay in business, it is THEIR business. It all takes he burden off the finance/accounting teams who have to find money and beat the clock on expiring licenses, hardware failures. It also takes the burden off of HR professionals who have to look for people to come in house and take care of everything that goes wrong. Is it really this simple? I don't know from a technical perspective but as a user, this is an absolute no-brainer. Yeah I'm sure there are security concerns and proprietary concerns in the sense that organizations may not be comfortable with letting go of their processes but those (in my opinion of course) are not deal breakers. The question really is how best to move your organization forward and improve your processes, I think moving to the Cloud should be a definite consideration, especially if the current means of getting things done is proving ineffective.

On a personal level. As long as I've been using Gmail I've been using the Cloud. All of it is web based. I have a gang of storage that I don't think I'll ever use.  I also use Google Docs and am writing this in Evernote.  My dream is that all of my electronic content be housed in the Cloud and that every application I'd ever want to use is in the Cloud.  I don't want to worry about backups or requiring massive capacity on my machine.  I want to know that what I'm doing right now will STAY regardless of the circumstances of the machine it was created on..  I want to be relieved of the requirement for massive storage on whatever machine I use or having to purchase some peripheral storage device. I don't want to buy or get for free any application that requires loading onto my machine, outside of the Browser and operating system.

Yeah my head is in the Cloud alright, I see the Cloud as a means of living the digital simple life.  Is that too much to ask?

Cloud graphic from lonewolflibrarian.wordpress.com

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