Moving to mobile: how to work from any computer

Posted Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lately, working on multiple computers has started to take its toll on my time and productivity. I regularly use my work computer, my laptop, and my home computer, and occasionally use university computers and conference room computers. That’s five different machines on a fairly frequent basis. It’s hard to keep track of everything - especially if I need a file that’s on machine X, or a password that’s in the Firefox password manager on machine Y. So, to fix that, I’m going full mobile. I’m moving everything that can be securely moved (i.e., nothing proprietary from work) into the cloud. Here’s a few of the things I’m doing to accomplish this:

  • KeePass - I’m moving all my passwords and login names into the freely-available KeePass password manager. It’s portable and very secure, as well as able to generate some really nice passwords for you - and all you need to know is one password to unlock the database. No more having to remember dozens of different passwords and logins.
  • Google Docs - Documents that I don’t use often I’m archiving to DVD. Everything else, which isn’t much, I’m moving into Google Docs - both for ease of access and for the unique collaborative quality of document editing in the cloud.
  • Google Reader - Though I love the Flock browser’s social media functions, I’m moving to just using Google Reader for all my feeds. That way I can keep up without having to worry about logging on the right machine, and feeds that aren’t allowed at work - like the Wizards of the Coast feed - I just keep in a separate, closed folder that doesn’t trip the firewall.
  • Google Notebook - No need to keep track of all my favorites/bookmarks separately. Notebook does this for me. It even integrates with Firefox with a nifty toolbar.
  • Portable Apps - For those times when I really need a specific application, I’ll just load up Portable Apps on my flash drive. GAIM, OpenOffice, 7zip, Notepad++, it’s all there and all portable.

The only applications which I can’t transport easily are Photoshop and Star Wars Galaxies, but seeing as Adobe just released a web-based version of Photoshop that’s freely available, the former’s not going to be a problem. And I really don’t need to be playing Galaxies at work, so that’s not an issue either, heh. I’m taking my first steps toward being fully mobile. If you have any suggestions for additional ways to do this, let us know in the comments!

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