I got a new computer a few months ago. Yet another device adding to the already long list of gadgets: I have 2 laptops, an iPad, a Windows Phone, an Apple TV, Xbox One, smart TVs etc....
As I was moving all my files, reconfiguring everything I got really frustrated. It's 2014 for God's sake. And I was doing it the way I did it when I was on Windows XP. I thought by now everything should be in the cloud and I should be able to access all my content from all these devices. And like a good product guy I started with ....
My pictures should be available to me all the time, no matter the device I am on. They should be backed up automatically and I should be able to show pictures on any screen I use.
All my files should be available to me all the time. On all devices. I want to be able to start working on a file and then continue the work on some other device.
Music should follow me as well. I am a big Spotify user but my 50Gb iTunes collection has a lot of songs that are not on iTunes or Spotify. I want to drag a new MP3 into iTunes on one computer and to be able to play it on my big speakers from my tablet.
I take a lot of notes. Those should be available to me whenever I want.
I want my data to be safe.
So after a lot of back and forth here is what I ended up with:
There are a lot of rumours G+ is dead. They were still going strong when I made the decision. I still think they are quite good. Moving my pictures out of iPhoto was the real challenge. Introducing the Picasa app, a very old Google desktop app that still has a small following. The process took days but now all my pictures are nicely stored in the cloud. Then I set up an automatic upload procedure. With my iPad that was a piece of cake. On Windows Phone it was less obvious but still simple. Windows saves all the camera roll pictures on one One Drive folder. With G+ Auto Upload you can have Google watch that One Drive folder and upload any picture in G+.
I hated Evernote with passion and now I am keeping all my notes in it. Mainly because it truly cross-platform. And it is way more reliable than it used to be. I didn't lose any notes in the last few months, like I used to back in the day.
I really want to be able to quit iTunes. But it is super hard if you are playing in the Apple echo-system. And if you like DJ-ing from time to time iTunes is your really option. The good news is there is a service called iTunes Match who promises to upload all your songs into the Apple Cloud and keep all your device synced. The bad news is that it NOT really working. Syncing fails all the time. And Apple is not responding to the issues. There are tons of problems reported on the forums. There are a few hacks to get it to work but out of all services I use this one is by far the most un-reliable. Maybe Dr Dre can fix that.
I wouldn't recommend moving everything to the cloud if you have 2 passwords for everything. I was like that until few months ago. I've done 2 things to fix the problem:
- Started using a password manager. I went with 1Password but there are other great ones out there. I changed all my passwords so that all of the services have unique crazy-complicated passwords. It took me a while to do that.
- I moved to 2-factor authentication.
Logging in is now a bit more complicated, especially on mobile devices. But I feel so much safer.
I admit it: Setting up everything takes a while. But the benefits do pay off. Here are a few things that I can do as a result of this:
I am more mobile
Media is with me all the time.
Adding a new device is a breeze
Funny enough ... I feel more confident my data is safe.