Wednesday, January 2, 2013
I was out the other day with a few friends, and got a call from work. My boss wanted to see the notes I had made about a job we had done for a client a few weeks back. I told him, "no problem," and without thinking about it, ended the call, opened Google Drive, searched through the documents by last name, and shared the link to my boss' e-mail. My friends, not the most tech-savvy bunch, were suitably impressed. Although they arguably had better smart-phones, two with iPhone5s (or is it iPhones5?), one with a Samsung Galaxy IIIs, they hadn't really explored what they could do with the technology. Holding up my budget Android, I announced, "I'm a Digital Nomad."
Because of where I work, I've had to make a few adjustments to how I store and access information. One thing would naturally leads to another, as once I learn something that works, I tend to use it wherever I go. My boss tries to ignore it, as such practices, not documented as "good" practices by the Home Office, might be breaking the rules. But here's the break-down.
At Home: I got the best software and operating system that money can't buy - Linux.
Okay, I have a machine dual-booting with Windows Ocho, but I have to use something to learn the new OS, right? Currently, I have Crunchbang Linux running on a netbook (which could beat any iPad or Windows8 tablet into the ground), a 32-bit laptop, and the other half of the dual-booting 64-bit laptop. These systems are running the software that Apple and Windows only wish they could touch. Additionally, there are external hard-drives for storage, and an internet connection provided by Clear.
At Work: the Home Office, in their wisdom, have partnered with Oracle and IBM to provide the most retarded, crippled, and inefficient network money could possibly buy. While you think I stretch the truth a bit thin, if you were to carefully look at our computers, you'd see they're running Internet Explorer 6 - and the store is less than a month old. [Irony - the link I sent my boss? He couldn't read it. IE6 is incompatible with Google Docs. Ha!]
To get around this, I have a flash-drive. It has Abiword, a word processor, from Portable Apps. I can plug it into any Windows machine, click on the executable, and use the program without having to install. It gives me a way of making, saving, and printing notes that I wouldn't have unless I used one of the two computers rigged with Microsoft Word, and demand for these machines is always high. When I get home, I'll copy and paste the data from the file into Google Drive, and save it with a chronological tag. [20130102, for today, is January 2nd, 2013] The flash-drive is bootable into a Linux environment, KNOPPIX, which gives me access to an otherwise "broken" machine for file transfers and possible recovery - not in the least bit sanctioned my the Home Office.
Past that, I have my Android phone.
On-the-go: I've had my current phone for a little over a year. It's a Samsung Galaxy Exhibit II, through T-Mobile. I can't say enough good things about this phone. It's been a phenomenal experience as a cell phone. I use it for Netflix. I use it for Pandora. It's set to alert me when the Washington Post has important news. It downloads the podcasts I listen to, the books and magazines I read, e-mail, text-messaging, Google Docs, and everything the internet was made to deliver. This could almost be my only machine, save for the keyboard factor, and the need for a real machine to do heavy lifting on occasion.
Am I looking to replace it? Of course. There are real benefits to a faster processor, better camera, larger screen [the Nexus 4 or Samsung Note II, perhaps]. I could also wait a year and have the specs double past what I could get now. It's the integration that matters.
If you haven't looked at, or haven't been forced into, solutions like mine - it's time to start exploring. Short of getting hit with an EMP, they're here to stay. Oh, shortly after the Visigoths were invading the Roman Empire, pundits called it "Cloud Computing." You're not longer chained to a desk and a tower-computer, monitor, etc... you can go wherever and take it all with you. You're free to be a Nomad.
Later entry; for the stuff I think everyone should know, there's this: a blog. Complete control, no crazy Facebook Privacy reset every six months, and anyone can stop by to visit.