A new laptop plus the cloud equals bliss

I recently started using a new Dell Latitude e6510 for all my computing needs. It’s a significant upgrade from my old Dell Latitude 520 laptop, which was showing its age. The new e6510 has an Intel Core-i7 processor, a backlit keyboard, 128 GB solid state hard drive, 4GB of RAM, a beautiful 15.6” wide screen display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, Windows 7 Professional and so on. It’s also the size of a small sports car, which has me second guessing my choice of machine. I broke my own rule for selecting a laptop, i.e. keep it portable. I actually prefer laptops with 12″ – 14″ displays. I don’t know what I was thinking. Kind of like a moth drawn to light – “Look! It’s so bright and shiny”.

Anyway, it’s always a headache setting up a new laptop as most people like me have to transfer gigabytes worth of data from the old machine to the new one. Not this time.

As one who preaches the benefits of cloud computing I’ve been trying to live in “the cloud” as much as possible. So when I received the new e6510 there really wasn’t any data migration to speak of. I use Google Chrome as my browser of choice, Microsoft Office synced with Live Sync, SkyDrive and Office Live for much of my personal document creation, Dropbox and SugarSync as my primary data storage and back-up solutions, and Evernote as my solution for just about everything else. I suppose I could have gotten along without Microsoft Office, but I wouldn’t want to try. All my documents at work are created in Office and just about everything I receive from colleagues is in Microsoft Office format, so it’s just easier to use it. I really like the Microsoft Office suite, and in addition the newer versions of Office offer a significantly improved experience on the tablet PC when compared to other office suites.

I installed Google Chrome, logged into my account and synced my bookmarks; absolutely seamless. Then I installed Dropbox and SugarSync, logged into my accounts and synced my documents; simple. Finally I opened IE, logged into my Windows Live account, downloaded a couple of small apps and within a few minutes was off and running; awesome. Nothing could have been simpler. The entire process took less than an hour and that was while working on other things in between. It took longer for all my documents to sync over the internet, but that didn’t cause any problems.

Overall the process was simple, smooth and painless. The experience has further cemented by impression of “the cloud” as the only way to go. It has also given me a deeper appreciation for products like Dropbox, Evernote and SugarSync. These applications were already at the top of my must-have list, but they have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack. While Windows Live offers great potential for Microsoft Office users, it has a long way to go before it can be thrown in with the likes of the applications previously mentioned. Microsoft should just acquire Dropbox and get it over with already. I’m just sayin’.

2 thoughts on “A new laptop plus the cloud equals bliss”

  1. Why do you need both DropBox and SugarSync? Aren’t they doing essentially the same job? Are you happy to use these services for storing either commercially or personally sensitive documents?

  2. @Shaun – DropBox and SugarSync are very similar indeed, but do offer slightly different functionality. I use DropBox for a majority of my storage and use SugarSync as my back-up solution. It works for me anyway. I don’t usually store sensitive documentation online, but I would be comfortable using either. Heck, their encryption and security is better than anything I have on my personal machines.

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