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Using Cloud Technology for Better Productivity and Efficiency

Mark Thompson February 4, 2010

Usually I blog about SEO related topics, however I thought I would discuss something that is relevant to  anyone who wants to increase their productivity.  Now days, many people have more than one computer.  Usually you have a computer at work, a computer at home, and maybe even a laptop.  So do you really want to have to worry about which computer you were working on for a particular file? email? stored password? bookmark? note?

Well there is a solution called cloud technology that will allow you to sync all of your computers.  No matter which computer you are working on, you will be able to pick up where you left off on another computer.  Here are a bunch of free services you can use that leverage cloud computing and will help increase your productivity.

Gmail (E-mail)

Gmail is fantastic for aggregating all of your email accounts into one centralized location.  From there you can setup specific “Labels” that will allow you to organize emails from a certain address.  The most important aspect of Gmail is that it is web-based, so there is no need to worry about having Gmail software loaded on your computer.  You can access your mail from anywhere!

If you are not a fan of Gmail and you prefer something like Outlook, there is a neat Google Calendar Sync program that will sync your MS Outlook calendar with your Google Calendar.

Check out a great video from Matt Cutts who talks about all the neat features in Gmail Labs.

Dropbox (File Storage)

Dropbox is essentially a virtual hard drive that can be accessed from any computer with the internet.  Sign up for 2GB of free space or pay for a subscription and receive up to 100GB.  Add any file type or size and sync between Windows, Mac and Linux machines.  Whenever a file is edited on one of the synced computers it will automatically be updated on all other machines.  You can also use Dropbox as a virtual backup for all of your important files.

There are endless applications that you can use Dropbox for.  If you need to share files with someone, you can give them permissions to a specific file or folder.  This can be extremely helpful for collaboration efforts between team members or if you need feedback from a client.

Evernote (Notes)

For people who are always taking notes on sticky notes, note pads, and scrap pieces of paper, try Evernote.  This is your online notepad that will organize all of your thoughts and sync them across computers.  Add text, images, urls, videos, emails, and web pages, to your Evernote account and organize all of your content by searchable tags, keywords and titles.  Sign up for a free account which comes with 40MB of storage or get a premium account with 500MB of storage space.

LastPass (Passwords)

I have tried many password management tools to help me remember my hundreds of passwords, however my favorite has to be Lastpass. Sign up for a free account and install the browser extension which is compatible for firefox, chrome, or internet explorer.  Regardless of what computer you are on or what browser you are working with, you will have all of your up-to-date login and password information. For people that hate filling out long forms, Lastpass also comes with a form filler that allows you to manage multiple profiles depending on what form you are filling out.

Xmarks (Bookmarks)

A lifesaver for bookmark management, Xmarks will sync all of your computers with your latest bookmarks.  Simply sign up for a free account, add the browser extension and Xmarks will upload your bookmarks to your account on their server.  From there you can pull down your bookmarks to your other computers.

12 comments
Cloud Future
Cloud Future

I still worry a little about the security of drop boxes etc but there is no doubt cloud is coming and its going to be massive over the next 10 years! My recent post Some of the big advantages of cloud apps

Danny
Danny

Yeah that ever note is really effective for me. I use to carry index cards around for my ideas but I lose them so easily. I also like the fact I can use it on my android. My recent post Why we never really forget to take action.

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

Just watched the tour video! Very cool, never heard of Syncables. Seems like an extremely easy tool to use and reasonably priced.

Spencer
Spencer

Hey there, I'm Spencer. I work for a company named Syncables, and after reading through this, I think you might want to check us out. We make a localized syncing software that I've found makes a great offline compliment to dropbox. Our client is cross-platform, and it lets you keep your files, contacts and email synced between your computers over your home or office network, which is great for when you can't get an internet connection but still need to transfer things between your machines. Additionally, Syncables includes a media component, which allows you to upload your media to any phone or usb drive. Anyway, come check us out sometime at <a href="http://www.syncables.com!" target="_blank">www.syncables.com!

hc
hc

If you don't like Google Tasks, but still want something that integrates with all your Google stuff you might try <a href="http://www.gqueues.com" target="_blank">www.gqueues.com

Gerald Weber
Gerald Weber

I believe it does integrate with some of their other stuff but tadalists is the only one of them I use at the moment. It's simplicity is what makes it so cool! :-)

Gerald Weber
Gerald Weber

I recently installed last pass on chrome, but wasn't aware of it until recently. I agree it seems really cool!

eristoddle
eristoddle

I like the sharing feature too. Set up about 100 accounts for a client. It was the easiest way to get them their info.

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

No more having to open up an excel doc to hunt down that password :-)

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

Good one! I am not a huge fan of Google Tasks, so this could be a good alternative. I will have to try it out. I assume it integrates with other 37 signal applications?

Gerald Weber
Gerald Weber

I have another cool one to add to the list. http://tadalists.com/ Allows you to create a simple web based to do list. Once you have created your list you can click then off one by one with your mouse as you complete them. Also you can easily shared the list with other if you are working on a project together and you want to share a checklist.

eristoddle
eristoddle

Lastpass rules. Just have to say that. It is amazing how much more productive I have become after using it.

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