End of the year ‘spring’ cleaning

This post is republished from an entry on the editorial page of www.osakajalt.org

One of my favorite Japanese New Year’s traditions is the end of the year cleaning. It’s a great way to review the year and get organized for the next one. My cleaning extends beyond just my house and office, but also to my computers. I make sure to back-up all of my files and reorganize and clean out all of the worksheets, handouts, homework, assignment, etc. that I created throughout the year. It is amazing to me just how much data I create in a year.

One of the big problems that I have with data is that I use more than one computer. I have a computer on my desk at work, one at home, a laptop and of course the computers in the various classrooms and computer labs that I teach in. The problem is keeping the data on all of these computers in sync. I’ve used all sorts of methods, emailing documents to myself, carrying around USB flash drives, but these solutions are not perfect. For example, if I make changes to a document at home then I have to email it back to work and keep track of which version is the latest. The big problem with USB flash drives is forgetting them. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into class only to realize that I left the drive on my desk, or worse, at home.

This year I started using a cloud computing solution. Basically this means that any documents that I am using on more than one computer are stored both locally and ‘in the cloud’ on the internet. I am able to access these documents from any internet connected computer. I can then make changes and when I hit ‘save’ the document is updated on all of my computers. It has proven to be an excellent solution.
My first attempt at cloud computing was with an Apple Mobile Me account. There were some nice features, but I found the service to be quite slow. It took a long time to upload and update documents to the cloud. Currently, I am using the excellent Drop Box service. It is secure, easy to use, fast and the first 2 GBs of storage are free. I highly recommend it.

If you would like to try Drop Box, and see how much cloud computing can improve your work efficiency, you can get an extra 250 MBs of storage by signing up via a referral. Remember that accounts are free up to 2 GB and by using a referral you can increase your space. Click this link to create a Drop Box account today and get an extra 250 MBs of storage in the cloud.

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