Web 2.0

Syncing and the modern computer

From Dropbox to iCloud to the new Simperium offering from the folks at Simplenote, the race is on to find the best option for synching data between the desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet and phone that you use every day. I know that without the ability to sync up data between my computer and my iPad, I’d be lost much of the time. Some of this is done through the application itself, such as my Remember The Milk application which syncs up beautifully between my browser, my iPad and my phone (as long as I pay that “premium” fee, otherwise it only syncs up weekly, I believe). Other syncing is done via one of the technologies listed above – Dropbox, iCloud or the new Simperium. To introduce the newcomer, we turn to the analysis at Read/Write/Web:

“You can think of Simperium as a post-PC circulatory system for data,” co-founder Mike Johnson says. It’s built to speak to all kinds of devices and services and be easy to implement. “The result is that developers can use Simperium like a Lego brick,” snapping together different applications and devices with data that fits, allowing “pretty much any feature where data needs to move quickly and reliably from one place to another.” (

A “Post-PC circulatory system for data”. That’s a lovely way to phrase it, in my opinion. It’s also quite true. The ability to have a “home” in the clouds where your stuff is kept is becoming vital these days. Many of us (and I’m certainly guilty here) have many. I use Dropbox, Evernote, Google Play and Drive, Amazon Cloud and iCloud for the big stuff and I use a bunch of smaller cloud syncing options (such as the aforementioned Remember The Milk syncing features) alongside those. I’m using mostly the free versions for all of these (Evernote and RTM being exceptions) so I have limited space. This means that I have stuff scattered all over the place.

This can be both a good point and a bad point. On one hand, if one service gets hacked, they aren’t getting my entire life – just portions of it. Google Play holds my music, but none of my documents. Dropbox is the opposite – many of my documents (but not all, because some are backed up from my iPad using iCloud and others are stored in Google Drive) are stored there, but none of my music. In this way I’ve sort of insulated myself from a complete loss of my digital treasures. On the other hand, that’s a lot of user/pass combinations to remember, not to mention remembering where certain documents can be found  – though there are services that help here – see Cue, which searches across most of those services; Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, etc. You could also take a pointer from a presentation I heard at the LibTech Conference in Minneapolis this year – use the standard “reminder/task” function that comes with your tablet or phone to sort out where you put what. The presenter used it to remember which note-taking program held which note, but you could also use it to remember which storage service holds which file…

However you choose to do it, getting by without some sort of cloud support is becoming more and more difficult in this post-PC era – I can’t even imagine trying to keep my Android phone, iPad tablet and Windows PCs all useful and up-to-date without my personal little cloud.

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