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    Life in the Cloud


      If my computer dies or is lost my only concern would be the $1K-$2K I’d have to shell out for a new one. All of my data – documents, images, music, video – is either synced or resides exclusively online.
      Here’s how I manage my life in the cloud so I can access my files anywhere at anytime and never worry again about losing data:
      Images and offers 5GB free. Keep an eye open for promotions that will give you up to 50GB free. With my free 50GB, I dump all of my pictures and videos here. It’ll take a lifetime to fill up the free space. I also throw PowerPoint and Keynote presentations in here as they can get pretty bulky.
      Synced and Shared Documents – I put documents like Word docs and PDFs in a Dropbox folder on my computer. It automatically syncs to my online account. I can then share a folder and collaborate on files within that folder. The free service starts at 2G of storage up to 18GB based on the number of referrals.
      Online Documents – I’ve used Google Apps for Business for more than five years – Google Docs for creating and collaborating on Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations, Google’s version of PowerPoint. Google has enhanced these products so that they’re now a great alternative to the Microsoft product. Google now charges $50/user per year for this service, but if you already have an account, you’re grandfathered in for free, like I was.
      Email and Calendaring – When examining email options a few years ago, I gave up my local Outlook and went with Google Mail for Business configured to my domain. I couldn’t be happier with the choice. You can sync the calendar with your iPhone’s native app, and of course, it integrates seamlessly with Android devices.
      Music – I love my Mac and Apple products, but anytime I can get away from using iTunes, I run. Physical tethering and messy reverse sync makes iTunes a loser. So I set my iTunes library free and put all of my music – all 5000+ iTunes tracks – in the cloud using Google Play. Most of us are starting to use Spotify and Pandora so compiling large databases of music will soon be a thing of the past. In the meantime, Google Play safeguards my owned music.
      Notes – After using Evernote for a few years, I can’t imagine organizing my life without it. The app is open on my computer all day and I use it to create and store business processes, blog post ideas, meeting notes, voice memos, and a host of other items. It syncs with my smartphone so I can create and access on the go.
      Although these cloud storage services come with paid options, I use the free versions – even after 3-5 years of use. Not only do I have access to just about all of my files from any computer or smartphone, I have the peace of mind of never having to worry about lost data if my computer dies. Give these services a test drive. You’ll be hooked.
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