October 21, 2014 | By:

Living Life in the Cloud

I spent most of this past weekend downloading and updating software on our Mac computers around the office. I upgraded them to OS X Yosemite (v10.10) and then ran the required updates for Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s kind of funny when you think about it as I’m the only one in the office who uses a cloud computer. The most time I’ve spent updating my computer was just a quick restart. My primary machine is a Chromebook Pixel, a high-end touchscreen laptop running Chrome OS, designed by Google. Chrome OS is an operating system in which most applications and user data live in the cloud.

I thought to myself: “why download and install software locally on your computer when most of your time is now spent in the cloud?” I’m often asked: “what can you do with a cloud computer…what if you don’t have an Internet connection?” I then ask them: “what do you really do these days that doesn’t require an internet connection?”

Most people today use computers just to check their email and stalk their friends on Facebook, etc. But what happens if you want to do more than that? What if you need to design something or edit some code on a website? Well you can do all of that these days in the cloud! I’ve been using web apps for a couple of years now. Here are a few of my favorite apps that I use on a daily basis:

Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/
Many people think you need to have Microsoft Office; Word, Excel and PowerPoint to be productive but you can use Google Docs, Sheets and Slides to do exactly the same thing, all for free! We keep most, if not all, of our files in Google Drive. We can easily access them from our desktops, laptops and mobile devices. We can collaborate on the documents and see who made what edits, when.

Pixlr Editor: https://pixlr.com/
I use Pixlr, by Autodesk, as an alternative to Photoshop. It may not be a good solution if you’re working all day with high resolution files but if you’re just needing to whip up something real quick, it can be a real life saver, especially when you don’t have access to Photoshop.

ShiftEdit: https://shiftedit.net
ShiftEdit, by ShiftCreate, has become my main go-to app for easily accessing files in the back end of websites via FTP/SFTP. I especially like it because I can open the files and start editing right there in the web browser, without having to open them up in a separate editor.

WeVideo: https://www.wevideo.com/
While I’ll admit WeVideo isn’t a perfect solution for a full-time video editor, it’s definitely the beginning of something great for the future of editing videos on the web.

We even handle all of our email, scheduling, time tracking, project management, and payroll in the cloud as well. It might take you a while to get used to it at first but after some time it’ll start to feel natural. The next time you spend hours downloading and updating software locally, you may feel like making the switch as well.

Chromebooks start at $199: http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromebooks.html
Shoot us an email if you would like help moving parts of your business to the cloud: creative [at] ilfusion.com

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