Switching from the computer to the network

One of the directions I’ve steadily been moving over the last 6 months is away from my desktop. By this I mean my dependence on any single computer. Instead I’ve embraced web applications and the network for as much of my daily routine as is practical.

I wasn’t very mobile when I was staying home watching Trixie or working at home on Trixie Tracker. I didn’t have a need for mobility. Everything changed once I started working as a contractor again. Suddenly I was trying to manage and synchronize data across multiple machines and not having a lot of fun with it.

Here’s a couple of highlights from my switch from the computer to network:

Email: I’ve managed my own email domains since 1999. And I’ve had the same email address — benmac@artshare.com — for about eight years now. So it was with great deliberation that I decided to switch over to Google’s Gmail. There were two main reasons for the move:

1) I needed to consolidate my email and get access to all of it in one place no matter where I happened to be. I started by first forwarding all my accounts to Gmail. But after a few months I realized that Gmail was good enough to replace my personal accounts. So I started using it as my primary email account. Contact me at ben.macneill@gmail.com .

2) I was tired of losing the spam war. I was sick of trying to manage email spam from the server side. It was a waste of my time, and I took absolutely no pleasure in trying to beat spammers. I gave up. On the other hand, Google is absolutely amazing at killing spam. No one on the whole planet does it better. See, Google is so awesome, I have no qualms about publishing my email address above. Side note: Is Google evil? Maybe… But they also rock. And I’m more than happy to take that chance.

Bookmarks: del.icio.us is such an amazing tool, I can’t begin to describe it. In its most limited scope, it’s an app that allows you to move your bookmarks to a web page instead of limited to a specific browser on a specific computer. However, if you embrace all its features it becomes a collaboration tool that allows you to share and exchange ideas and and information with a network of friends or complete strangers in real time. I highly recommend it. If you are interested, here’s what I’m looking at: http://del.icio.us/chillnc

Baby tracking: I was using 2 or 3 different baby tracking desktop clients between home and work as well as little scraps of paper scrawled with nap notes wadded up in my pockets. It was impossible to synchronize everything. I also couldn’t believe how bad diaper spam had gotten. But then I discovered this amazing little web application

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One Response to Switching from the computer to the network

  1. Eric says:

    You may want to consider using Google Apps for Domains with your artshare.com domain. I’ve been using it with one of my domains for a couple of months now, and it has been really nice. All the benefits of Gmail, but you get to use your own domain.

    Take care.