Life in the Clouds

clouds When you lose a hard drive on your computer, it stinks. When you lose two in a few month’s time, it really stinks. When your computer makes a weird “grrrrrrrr” sound and goes black, and won’t boot up even the little tiny apple, well, that’s deadly. That’s how things started out for me in the morning.

By 10, I’d called my boss and asked for a new laptop. By 3PM, I had it in hand. Tonight, when I had a moment, I pulled out my external storage drive, plugged it into the shiny new Mac, and turned it on.

It took an hour to restore everything to the last good save (a week old, but not horrible).

Because of the way these last several weeks have gone, I’ve learned a few things that I want to share. This might prove useful to you in a few ways: one, if your computer dies. Two, because this is the way I think things will move in the future.

Life in the Clouds

SEVERAL of my most used applications exist as web applications that I can reach via a browser:

It turns out that most of the apps I use in a given day exist on the web. But here are some exceptions that I would need if I had to rebuild another computer from scratch. (Note: this is a Mac list).

  • TextWrangler – for complex text editing and text scripts
  • Cyberduck – for FTP
  • Adium – for IM client
  • Skitch – for screenshots
  • Keynote – for presentations
  • Firefox – web browser
  • Evernote – the desktop app side

The rest are all good to have, but I could live with just those and the built-in apps that come with a Mac.


What I’ve learned over the past month is that I can do lots of stuff on the web from any browser (have to remember that firefox bookmark sync addon – what’s it called?). I’ve learned that backups are important, and not to go more than a few days between them. I’ve learned that Time Machine for the Mac is a really powerful backup tool.

Further, I’ve learned that I need to get a file storage space on the web, too. The few things I lost access to involved files in progress in my documents area. I have most of them, but lost a few between backups. I’m going to check out a service like Mozy for storing some of that for me. That will complete that part.

How about you? What’s your experience been in this regard? Are you doing any of this differently?

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