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Monday, March 3, 2014

On Being Dragged Forward by Cloud Technology, Kicking and Screaming

I consider myself fairly tech-savvy. When I worked in an office, I was the unofficial go-to gal for folks when the IT department was too busy (or too full of jargon) to help. I know a lot about MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and various industry specialized software. I can usually help someone figure out what is going on with their file and get it fixed (with the exception of some really complicated formulae in Excel.)

I have apps enough that I can run my trucking company without ever having to print documents while I’m on the road. There’s “Sign my Pad”, a fax to email service, Polaris Office, to name a few. Receipts go into Quickbooks, Payroll is done on Medlin software....

I have self-published 4 titles, including one of Poetry, complete with pictures. I successfully uploaded them to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomanceeBooks. I’m in the process of formatting for Smashwords.

I say all this to show that I’m kind of a computer power-user. I don’t know much code—just a few html tags to make things bold or italic. But when it comes to using stuff, I’m not afraid to jump in there and try it out. Help desks love me because I already know where a lot of their tools are located.

The exception has been ‘Cloud’ technology. I have been reluctant to use “the Cloud” for fear of exposing my data to unscrupulous hackers and data thieves. But I recently took the plunge and downloaded the DropBox app to my phone. I was looking for an easy way to transfer a picture I had taken with my phone so I could tweet it. I know, I could simply use the Twitter app, but I have resisted adding it to my phone because I don’t want the temptation/distraction available on my phone. (I have Twitter on my laptop and tablet; I don’t need it on my phone, too.)

I figured it couldn’t hurt to put a photo of my roommate’s cat out in ‘the Cloud.’ After all, I was about to Tweet it to my followers, right? So I downloaded the app to my phone, then to my laptop and my tablet. Bam. I was able to tweet the photo without having to add Twitter to my phone, which has the best quality camera. (See the tweet at https://twitter.com/KacyAuthor/status... )

Since then, I have learned I can use DropBox to transfer books I have downloaded on my laptop to my tablet without having to hook the tablet up by cable, simply by exporting the file from DropBox to my Kindle app. I am officially a fan. I have been struggling to find an easy way to do this since I started selling my books on my website!

There are lots of Cloud-type apps out there, now. I just happened to land on DropBox and have been pleasantly surprised at how simple it is to use.

As with most things I have to get dragged kicking and screaming into, I am a (conditional) convert. I still will not store any sensitive data ‘out there’. I don’t believe there is any place off-site that is secure against those who want to access it without my knowledge or permission. But I am thinking of many other ways I can utilize this app.

What’s next for me? Should I try to learn code? Create an app of my own that facebook will buy for billions of dollars? Sure. Why not? ;-)

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