VOL. 130 | NO. 248 | Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Simplify Your Holidays With the Cloud
By Patrick Tamburrino
With the holiday season in full swing, most of us could use all the help we can get to stay organized, from keeping track of gift wish lists to monitoring spending habits. Fortunately, cloud computing – the current Internet technology that lets you access all your files and important data from any remote location – is here to help.
Cloud-based systems let you to keep your programs and documents on a remote server rather than being confined to a computer’s hard drive. You can access your data from any device as long as you have an Internet connection. Many cloud services allow you to share and collaborate on files, and it’s also a straightforward way to transfer large files, like a video of a loved one opening up a gift.
There are several popular and secure cloud services to choose from, including Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox. You’ll first need to scan the files or images to your computer and drag and drop files to your cloud service of choice. You can also access files remotely from each service’s mobile app. That way, any edits to a document are synced across all of your devices.
If you’re not yet convinced, a few of the ways the cloud can help keep you on track this holiday season include:
Go paperless with your holiday cheer. Consider keeping a contact list with updated addresses via Google Drive, and sending electronic greetings or party invitations through Paperless Post. With iCloud, you can retrieve photos from your home computer even while on the road, and send out-of-town loved ones or clients an e-card with a personalized message.
Manage your gift spending and travel budget. Keep track of what everyone on your list wants and plan a budget with one of the many templates for money management available in Google Drive. Once you access the “Drive Template Gallery” app from the “Create” menu, you can search money management templates such as Invoice Tracking, Checkbook Register, Vacation Budget and Trip Planner, and more.
Stay on top of end-of-the-year doctor’s appointments. DropBox can help you scan and store immunization and medical records, insurance information, consent-to-treat forms, as well as keep a running tab of current medications and allergies. Some documents will need to stay offline though. Birth certificates, Social Security cards and a copy of your will should remain in a locked safe and not filed electronically.
Make and track your New Year’s resolutions. Try shareware like Basecamp and online calendars to document your goals, set quarterly reminders and track your progress. Go an extra step in holding yourself accountable by sharing your resolutions with friends and family.
Patrick Tamburrino, president of tamburrino inc., can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.