Home Computing in "The Cloud"

The trends lead me to believe the computing we do at home will soon predominately reside “in The Cloud.” This means the applications we use and rely on everyday are not on our computer at home but in an application out on the Internet and accessed by your browser.

Move Yourself To “The Cloud”

Many folks have already made the move. Here are some of the typical things others have done and what you can do to make the switch yourself:

  1. Use Google Docs as your basic productivity tools. Not only are they very effective and free tools, but they are on-line and available wherever you go (docs.google.com). You don’t need to buy Microsoft Office or even download the free Open Office at OpenOffice.org. I find that on my six year old PC, Google Docs will launch an application (e.g., Documents, Spreadsheet, GMail, etc.) in The Cloud faster than I can launch a Microsoft Office product (e.g., Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) on my PC. Also, there is freedom in not being tied to that one PC sitting someplace where you can’t always get to it. A notebook works pretty well in this regard, but what happens when that notebook breaks or it goes missing? It kind of feels the same as when you lose your wallet or your keys. It does not feel good at all. With home computing in The Cloud, it is a problem to lose your equipment, but little of what you had been working on is lost.
  2. Use Mint.com, Quickenonline.com or other online financial tracking programs. First, they are currently free. That is one big advantage. They are not as good, in my opinion, as an installed program such as Quicken, at least not yet. However, if you are doing nothing other than wanting to track your current balances to ensure your cash flow is positive (i.e., not overspending), then these look like great tools.
  3. Use Facebook, LinkedIn or other social networking sites. These sites provide a powerful place to manage your social and professional life. This includes keeping in touch with family and friends and showing your photos, to staying networked with business associates and looking for that next big opportunity.
  4. Get your news from CNN.com, USAToday.com or get more focused news of interest from more specialized sites. For example, I pour through consumerist.com and pcmag.com for practical information I can use every day.

Access “The Cloud” From Anywhere

Because I’ve moved much of my mainstream computing to The Cloud, I find I can access it from just about any PC and from my mobile phone. Having my Cloud in my phone, which can browse the Internet, is a phenomenal tool. If the Palm Pre or the iPhone were to work with my wireless service provider, I would upgrade and give up my trusty Motorola A1200.

Use “The Cloud” But Backup Your Critical Data

Do keep backups of your data, especially data you need to access your sites on the web.

For passwords I use Password Safe which is free from sourceforge.net. This way I have all my passwords in one place. Consequently, I also have all those key sites I access in this same place. (This, I discovered, was very handy when I changed my e-mail account recently.) I backup the password file everyday to The Cloud using IDrive.com. I also do a monthly backup of the password file to a USB drive which I keep stored in a fire safe.

Be Secure In “The Cloud”

The scariest part of moving to the Cloud deals with the protection of your privacy and with security of your information. I admit this still worries me a bit. Can I really trust Google? Or how about trusting QuickenOnline.com with my financial data? We hear about data breaches every day. Some hacker broke in and stole personal information from thousands of customers. I have been notified more than once that this has happened at a company with which I do business. I have free credit monitoring right now due to a recent incident at an investment company.

I have also been called by my bank asking about charges made to my credit card. They turned out to be fraudulent and the bank removed the charges from my account. What was interesting is that I had just downloaded my most recent bank transactions into Quicken. I did not see these fraudulent charges. I immediately did another download of my bank transactions. There they were, along with transactions reversing the charges. My bank had detected and responded very quickly to these illegitimate activities.

My confidence in reasonable security in The Cloud is based upon my doing business over the Internet since the early 1990s when the Internet opened to commercial sites. The examples with my bank and with my investment company have helped reassure me that they are proactively trying to minimize the risk of loss. There is no guarantee of security. However, it is not obvious that your risk of loss is any greater in The Cloud than it is anywhere else.

“The Cloud” Is Here And Advertising Will Pay For It

I do believe that what we know as personal computing is moving into The Cloud. In the near future we will have much less reliance on a single piece of equipment loaded down with lots of pricey software, much of which we will never use.

Of course, like the broadcast media for decades, this Cloud is driven by advertising. So just as we once watched TV for free, before cable, and still listen to radio for free, it looks like we are going to a personal computing Cloud paid for by advertising. The personal computer will be needed to access The Cloud, but your software applications and information will be in The Cloud and not on your personal computer.

Sinclair Lewis – "The Innocents" Book Review

The Innocents by Sinclair Lewis was one of two novels published in 1917. The full title of this work is The Innocents: A Story for Lovers and was originally a collection of serialized stories for a women’s magazine. It was Sinclair Lewis’s last distinctive pulp novel.

The Innocents, Plot Summary:

The first characters introduced are a couple, born a decade before the American civil war, who now lived in New York City and have married for 40 years. They are Mr. Seth Appleby and Mrs. Sarah Jane Appleby, often called simply ‘Father’ and ‘Mother.’

They have a married daughter, Lulu, who lives with husband and young son in a New York town. Mother and Father are “the innocents” of Sinclair Lewis’s 1917 serialized short novel.

After some decades in Pilkings & Son’s Shoe Parlor, Seth Appleby has worked his way up to become to Mr. Pilkings a roughly modern equivalent of what Dagwood Bumstead is to Julius Dithers, albeit even more under-appreciated and under-challenged than Dagwood. This is a theme that also appeared in “Our Mr. Wrenn.”

During their annual two week vacation on Cape Cod, Father and Mother treat the owners of their vacation home to a snack at Ye Tea Shoppe. Expecting a bill for their light snack to be around ninety cents, Father is astonished to be charged $3.60. He calculates that sum to represent a 500% markup on the food served.

Suddenly, in a moment given as a huge eye opening revelatory moment, the idea of running a tea shop seems an attractive alternative to fitting big city swells with footwear.

They sell all they own and open their own Tea Shop on Cape Cod. It fails. Seth cannot get his old job back. They end up having to wander from New York to West Virginia where they transform manners and morals of a hobo jungle. The hoboes scatter and begin the legend of two rich old eccentrics wandering the world doing good. Ultimately, the Applebys find happiness back in the shoe business in small town Indiana.

If this sounds a little like fluff, Lewis probably wouldn’t argue. He had an amazing ability to make a living as a writer because he knew how to quickly provide “fluff” stories that the common public would consume.

Sinclair Lewis often had difficulty describing married couples who were each other’s equals or at least contributed something nearly equal as partners in their “divisions of labor.” The Innocents is a very notable exception to this, as for any flaws in plot, this novel is one of his best examples of a couple as each other’s equals.

Whether you call it travel, flight, wanderlust, dreaming…call it “greener grass syndrome,” but one of the most persistent themes in both Sinclair Lewis’s personal life and in his work is that sheer movement, sheer trying out something completely new and different, simply hitting the long trail — all or some of these — will almost surely bring good results, something better.

Now a rare collectible book, a good copy without a dust jacket can easily sell for around $800.

"The Day That Turns Your Life Around" by Jim Rohn – A Program Review

The Day That Turns Your Life Around. “Remarkable Success Ideas that Can Change Your Life in an Instant.”

In this six CD, 12 lesson program, motivational master Jim Rohn shares the story of his life changing day with you, and shows you how to consciously create the conditions that make dramatic lasting personal transformation not only possible, but inevitable. Jim’s life changing day involved an incident with a Girl Scout. That incident led him on a journey to heights of fame and fortune that few of us will ever achieve. Have you had that life changing day yet, or are you still waiting?

Some people waste years, and even their entire lives waiting for that magic moment that will change their lives for the better. But those people whose lives really do change in dramatic ways, can almost always trace the change back to something much simpler than magic. One moment, one realization, one action, one step that put them on a completely different path – and ultimately led them to their dreams.

The good news is that once you understand the four emotional states that can change your life, you can generate them within yourself at will, rather than waiting for external circumstances to activate them.

Let’s look at the 6 CD’s of this great program. Each CD is divided into two sessions, making 12 sessions in all. Here are some tidbits from the sessions:

Session One – “Today is a New Day” – Jim shares with you the day that turned his life around, and talks about life’s adventures – the little devil on one shoulder and the little angel on the other – both giving advice. What voice do you listen to? He ends the session with a story about “making something out of nothing.”

Session Two – “The Major Ingredients of Life Change” – Jim talks about emotions that can change your life, and shares some philosophies to live by including; “Profits are better than wages – Wages make you a living, profits can make you a fortune”, and one of my favorites “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.”

Session Three and Session Four – “How to Make a Life, Not Just a Living” – Jim’s short list on the good life, and words of wisdom including “Beware of what and who you become, in pursuit of what you want.”

Session Five – “The Pro vs. The Amateur; Keys to Thriving in Tough Times” – Jim shares his greatest setbacks and what he did to bounce back – and, by showing the difference between the professional and the amateur response to problems – shows how you can do it too.

Session Six – “Financial Strategies for a New Age” – Jim’s philosophical foundation for financial independence, and his suggestions for achieving wealth along with giving and sharing. Stuff they don’t teach in school, and good advice parents should pass along to their kids.

Session Seven – “How to Protect Your Time” – Time management essentials to help you reach your goals. How to avoid “Being online but off-track”.

Session Eight – “Where the True Wealth Lies” – Identifying your core values, nurturing your “inner circle” and the challenge of balancing work and family life and becoming a World-class” parent and grandparent.

Session Nine – “The Goal Setting Workshop” – Great session. Jim actually takes you through a personal goal setting workshop from one of his weekend seminars.

Session Ten – “Success Can Be Simple” – Jim’s simple approach to life learned from “Things my mama taught me” and how he uses hard and fast decisions to simplify his life.

Session Eleven – “The Magic of a Mentor” – Although I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Jim personally, through his books and programs he has been one of my mentors for many years, and I can attest to the “Magic of a Mentor” he discusses in this session. He goes on to show how you too can be a mentor, and make a difference in the lives of others.

Session Twelve – “Leadership Skills for the 21st Century” – The skills of leadership wisdom presented with witty sayings like “Don’t expect a pear tree to bear apples” and ending with the story of the frog and the scorpion (“that’s what scorpions do”).

In summary, if you are you are dissatisfied or unhappy with your life, and would like to change it, “The Day That Turns Your Life Around” will give you the tools to make any change you want to. And, as Jim says, you will be astonished by how quickly and easily it happens. I highly recommend this program. It can turn your life around!

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