Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cloud Options For Economic Woes

The economic turbulence we're experiencing has gotten me thinking about what parts of my life I can sacrifice until things are more stable and calm.  For some of my fellow mobile warriors who are small business owners, you're likely feeling the pinch somewhat.  Maybe you've started thinking about cuts here and there but also realize this is a delicate balancing act.  Cut too little, it won't be effective.  Cut too much, it may hurt your services and productivity.

Cutting services you pay for.  If you can get it for free on the Internet, then stop paying for it.  A lot of times, we pay for it because it's user friendly and it just lets us get things done.  For instance.  Don't get mad at me, Mac users.  But MobileMe is certainly something that can be cut if you're a Mac user. It doesn't come out to much but at $129 and along with other cuts, it quickly adds up.  This is just one example.  Another example is Webex - $35 a month last I checked.  A lot of folks now have laptops that have webcams integrated.  Why pay for Webex when you can just talk to whoever you need directly via Skype, iChat, Yahoo, or MSN?

Bottomline is cloud computing has advanced immensely in the last year and will get better over time.  Here are some alternatives that I've used and others that come highly recommended.  Mostly free and works well.

E-mail/IM: Google , MSN/Live , Yahoo , AIM

Online Storage:, Mesh , Yahoo Briefcase

Blogging:  Blogger , Twitter , Friendfeed

Socialvertisement:  Facebook

Online Office Suite:  Google Docs, Thinkfree , Zoho

Photo Storage:  Shutterfly , Picasa , Flickr, Live

I do recommend that should you take up cloud computing whole-heartedly, pick just one platform that is best for you.  Mixing is fine but make sure it works the way you want it to.

Sun Will Rise Tomorrow Still.  Keep your chin up.  Tomorrow will be another day.  These economic problems we're going won't last forever.  I, like you guys, are adaptable and we'll weather this.  But we have to be mindful that we don't sacrifice so much that when we finally turn the corner, we are not able to take advantage of the opportunities that are sure to be available.

We're in this together.  Any tip that is working for you would be greatly appreciated.  We'll pass it along to everyone.  Thanks ahead of time.

Note:  I have MobileMe myself. And while I like the integration with OS X and the iPhone, I will wait until the terms of my contract is close to ending before I decide if I want to renew it.  It has not exactly worked out the way I had hoped.  Apple asked for patience and until the end of 2008 to fix things.  So, I'll be patient.

Another Note:  While not directly related to mobile computing, I have cut a lot of things in my household (well, it's just me).  Sat TV (half the channels only want to sell me stuff) and Netflix are just to start.

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