No time for vacation? A guide to keeping the wife happy while you work in the cloud

It is possible to get your work done and keep your family intact, too. A bit of Memorial Day fun.

It's Memorial Day weekend. Cookouts, family, baseball, apple pie, beer, you name it. American stuff. I'll be working this weekend since my boss is flying in from India for a week of intensive meetings, brainstorming, and planning. They don't celebrate Memorial Day in India. I'm actually not complaining. His willingness to come over here means that I don't need to leave the fam behind for a week while I head over to India, so I'm more than happy to just do a quick cookout Monday night and call it good. This got me thinking, though. I'm not the only one in the States working for a multinational corporation with more work to do than three of me could reasonably complete. So you know what? It's time for a practical guide to leveraging the cloud so you can keep one of those still-scarce jobs and keep your wife happy at the same time. Feel free to change the word wife to husband, life partner, significant other, demanding girlfriend, clingy boyfriend, etc. Your mileage with the suggestions here may vary. This guide, by the way, assumes that you and/or your company have embraced the cloud. You can work anytime, anywhere. Skype and Google Apps (or at least SharePoint if you want to kick it old school) are your friends, your phone is at least as smart as you are, and you may even require a special bag to ensure that the gear that keeps you connected is always by your side. If these assumptions are not the case, then it may be time for a bit of retooling. Your marital bliss is on the line here, after all. "But wait!" you exclaim. "I can't embrace the cloud! What if something goes wrong? My wife won't be happy if I get fired, either!" Never fear. ZDNet is here. Check out my appearance with David Gewirtz this afternoon (1:00pm EDT), discussing how to survive a cloud disaster.

  1. Play it cool with the devices
    They can come out in your partner's sight. We all text and check email once in a while. Hanging from a tree limb in the park looking for 4G on your tablet? Not playing it cool. It is perfectly acceptable to pull out the phone and take a Skype call in the bathroom at the family reunion. Just keep your volume down and blame your Aunt Sophie's potato salad. We all have at least one relative who leaves mayonnaise-covered foods in the sun as a matter of course.
  2. Lakes are great places to take the family
    Lakes tend to have very strong signals because they reflect cellular wavelengths (this is actually true - even in remote areas, you can often get a bar or two on a lake). Plan your holiday accordingly.
  3. A Scott eVest looks like a fishing vest
    Have you seen these? I have one, and with the sleeves zipped off, I have a vest that looks like I should be fishing, hiking, or otherwise enjoying the great outdoors with my family. And yet it has pockets big enough to hold a tablet, smartphone, pen, pad of paper, SatNet receiver, you name it. Well, OK, not the SatNet receiver, but it holds a lot and is designed to keep everything smoothly fitting against you. No one will ever know that you didn't just eat a few too many donuts around the coffee machine when you weren't telecommuting.
  4. You're in tech - talk like it
    You work in tech, right? Presumably so do your friends. Deep tech talk, interspersed with a few laughs, will sound like 2 geeks having a friendly talk while you're kicking back on vacation. Make sure to have a beer in your hand.
  5. Bluetooth headsets hide under chef's hats
    You can grill and collaborate to your heart's content. Because of course that new marinade recipe is what you have up on your iPad, right?
Have a great weekend, folks!

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