My New Setup

cloud, productivity applications, mobile

I've finally completed my long standing desire to be done with desktop software and desktop files. The final piece of the puzzle came yesterday when I unplugged my windows desktop as part of our office move. I'm so excited about my new setup and thought I'd blog about it. I realize that many of you made this move years ago. I'm not suggesting I am ahead of the curve here. I'm just happy to finally be where I've wanted to be for a number of years.

The main goal I've had is to have the applications and files I need available on any device I might want to use. I moved my email to gmail a while ago. I was using gmail while the rest of our firm was still on outlook and exchange. Over the past year, our firm moved to google apps. We now run our mail, calendaring, and contacts on the google apps platform. Earlier this month, I made the move from gmail to the USV google apps service. At the same time, I moved my calendar and contacts which were still on exchange to the USV google apps service.

I now use google docs for most of my word processing and spreadsheet work. And we use dropbox to share files with each other and between the various devices we use. I've got dropbox on my android which is really helpful for accessing files when I'm on the road.

As for devices, I've got a macbook pro in my office at home which I take on the road with me. I'm moving that device to a macbook air as soon as they update that line. I've heard that's coming in a few months. Our family shares a macbook in the kitchen and I do a ton of work on that machine. I'm using it now. In our new office, I am getting an iMac. And we will have mac minis in our conference rooms which I can use when I'm working out of one of those rooms.

And maybe most importantly, I'm using a Nexus S android phone that has all the google apps and dropbox on it. I tend to use my phone more than any other device. On the flight west to SF this past week, I did the entire 6 hour flight on my Nexus S with gogo inflight mobile. I was streaming music using rdio, blogging on typepad, doing mail and calendaring on google apps, and reading blogs on the android browser. It worked great.

I realize that it will be a while before I'm completely ridden of word, excel, powerpoint, keynote, and a few other desktop software packages. I still get plenty of files sent to me that are best viewed in these applications. So I have them on pretty much every machine I use regularly. And I use the preview function on android to read them when I'm on my phone. I'm hoping we can move away from these applications quickly, but I'm realistic about the intertia that exists in things like this.

The sense of freedom that exists when you know your applications and files are available from any device with an internet connection and a browser is amazing. I feel lighter already.

In thinking back to the way I've worked over the past twenty years, I am not going to miss taking my laptop back and forth to work. I'm not going to miss trying to sync files across multiple devices. I'm not going to miss upgrading software all the time. I'm not going to miss being anal retentive about backing up all my files. I'm not going to miss windows and windows networking. I'm not going to miss outlook, exchange, and blackberry exchange server. All of that was overhead that got in the way of being productive, mobile, and free and I'm so happy to be done with it.