Working In The Cloud
The latest trend in computing is what they call 'cloud computing.' This basically means that you are doing everything online. You don't have to have lots of software programs or applications installed on your computer or have large memory capacity, it's all available online.
If you use Gmail or Yahoo mail for example for your emails you are already working in the cloud. You don't have to worry about having enough storage space on your hard drive - you store all your correspondence online on a remote server somewhere in cyberspace.
File Sync And File Sharing Sites
Dropbox and similar sites allow you to file share, file sync and do online backup across all of your mobile devices. You can have all your information accessible from any computer, mobile phone, Blackberry or iPhone and it will update, synchronize and backup all your files across all your devices next time you log on. You can also share files with others as you wish without having to send lots emails with file attachments. This is a great way to collaborate with others working on the same project in different locations.
As all your data is backed up online you don't need to worry about something happening to your computer and losing all your data as a result. It works in a similar way to web based email, with the basic package available for free and premium services available for a monthly fee.
Small Business Sites
If you are running a small business, especially in sales and marketing, instead of having lots of different software packages for each aspect of your business you can use applications like salesforce. This type of application runs completely in the cloud and allows you to be and appear more professional. With the integrated sales and record keeping offered you can run your whole business from the one application. By keeping all your account information in the one place you can manage, track and bill your customers, send emails, run your diary, run online video conferencing, and grow your business at your own pace. Again you pay a monthly fee instead of buying software up front which you may find later doesn't meet your needs. This helps to keep your costs down while you build your business. Your customers won't ever know that you are running your million dollar company out of your spare room!
Personal Assistant Sites
As well as having a Palm Pilot or similar device you can also find virtual personal assistant sites online. From one site you can easily make travel arrangements, check weather information, run your calendar, or even give yourself timely reminders as if you had your own personal secretary. All of which help make you more efficient. And they will work from your 3G phone, iPhone or Blackberry too!
Social And Professional Networking Sites
Facebook and similar social networking sites are another example of how the cloud works. Everything you put up on these sites, whether it's a comment, photograph or personal information is stored in virtual data storage banks. Using social networking sites and professional networks like LinkedIn are a great way to connect with clients and do business. By developing a professional network you will be able to make connections with people you wouldn't otherwise come across in person, if only because they live in a different state or country from you.