Live blog results: students cannot live entirely in the cloud

Live blog results: students cannot live entirely in the cloud

Summary: I've lived in the cloud for two days solid, and it's not as easy as I thought it would be. I traded in my applications for web alternatives - such as MSN Web Messenger, Google Docs, Acrobat.

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I've lived in the cloud for two days solid, and it's not as easy as I thought it would be. I traded in my applications for web alternatives - such as MSN Web Messenger, Google Docs, Acrobat.com and Windows Live Mail.

Although it's been useful getting to know the online applications, it should never be a substitute for offline applications where possible. Google Docs is good, great in fact, and I've been really pleased with what it can offer me, but Word 2007 just has that much needed leverage you need when dealing with complicated documents.

I enjoyed using Google Docs for reading presentations, but not so great for editing with. I think it's fair to say, the cloud applications are great as a technological middle-man; using it to make quick edits, holding online in storage for local printing and uploading a few notes for later editing.

Both Acrobat.com and Google Docs support all major filetypes - .ppt, .doc., .pdf, .xls and even the newer XML based filetypes. But the standards just aren't up to scratch yet. You can't import or export files exactly as they were, which means you end up spending time editing the documents before you print.

And roll on Windows Live Web Messenger, once it's finally released, because the main alternative to the downloadable Windows Live Messenger is the MSN Web Messenger. It's horrendously outdated, slow, and doesn't perform half as well as the next Live-branded version will be.

Software+Services functionality was essential to my cloud survival; having an offline application which worked in conjunction with the cloud, such as Live Mesh. There were times when I needed Live Mesh to listen to music files and keep my university files available from anywhere. The big advantage was mobile access through my phone, which meant I could download, work on them, then upload again. Strictly speaking, you could call that offline working, but I didn't want to count it, personally.

There's little provision for fun when you're working in the cloud. There's little to do in terms of games and suchlike, except Facebook, which even then after a while, it got a little boring.

There is so much potential for the cloud, but I'm not giving up my offline applications yet.

Topics: Windows, Browser, Cloud, Google, Operating Systems, Software

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4 comments
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  • Agreed

    "Google Docs is good, great in fact, and I?ve been really pleased with what it can offer me, but Word 2007 just has that much needed leverage you need when dealing with complicated documents."

    Agreed. The ability to use it locally and the [b]fully[/b] developed feature set means Google docs simply can't replace it.

    In particular, as a student I do need that equation editor that Word (and OpenOffice.org) has - it's my lifeblood for math homework.

    In addition, when I sit at my computer for long periods of time typing full length reports, I want to fill the window with the document as much as possible. I can do that in Word, even going as far as to hide the Ribbon. You can't do that with browser chrome and all of the extra items that AJAX applications show.

    In addition - never underestimate the value of being able to access stuff offline. We simply do not have internet everywhere, all the time. Networks still go down, we still fly on airplanes, there's still times when it's difficult to find a hotspot, and even the cell phones still do not have 100% coverage.

    . . . and even when online, sometimes the latency and bandwidth are restrictive. I like the snappiness of offline applications.
    CobraA1
  • RE: Live blog results: students cannot live entirely in the cloud

    Most of my work as an educator is done in the cloud.
    Docs has shown great improvements in the past year,
    and apps such as Sliderocket and Aviary Raven are
    really pushing the bar for cloud computing.

    http://googlescloud.blogspot.com
    Shuelin
  • RE: Live blog results: students cannot live entirely in the cloud

    Let's hope things get figured out sooner rather than
    later.
    K_REY_C
  • RE: Live blog results: students cannot live entirely in the cloud

    Not only that when you move completely to cloud you lose control over your data. That is some serious stuff. What happens if the provider decides to shutdown the service? Can you get your data back? and one more thing.. It is my opinion that we are never going to be connected 100% ever. what will you do then.?

    Checkout http://www.tonido.com. Tonido allows you to share and synchronize files, photos, calendars and music securely with friends and family without relying on public online services.
    sphinxguy