lukegilman.com : High on the Hog Blog
Purveyor of Idle Observation

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Learned to Love Hosting All My Mission-Critical Data with Google

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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So I lost my phone this week. Given the lifeline that my crackberry had become, you might think (or at least I would have thought) that this would be a big deal, of weeping and gnashing proportions. Oddly, not so much.

Verizon gave me a loaner crackberry until their shipment of Storms comes in, a now quaintly antiquated 8703. Once I figured out how to work the jog dial, I was up and running in about 20 minutes. I had restored all 500 or so contacts, my calendar and assorted task lists, etc. Only very recently, this recovery would have been a painful and laborious data restoration project. So why wasn’t it a big deal? One word – Google.

This revelation came to me while reading David Carr’s article The Media Equation, Google Seduces With Utility. I’m so used to having Google in my life that my dependence on it doesn’t even occur to me until someone else mentions it. I’ve come to think of Google as a benevolent borg-like overlord. When a new start up comes out that shows promise, I may start including in my nightly prayers that Google buys them up. This typically means the start up I once loved will become instantly free, gradually more stable and able to be integrated into the wider digital ecosystem. The alternative, being bought by Microsoft or Yahoo, generally means they’re about to screw it up. Google’s concessions to its Blogger fiefdom is to my recollection the anomalous and disappointing exception.

My set-up is pretty lo-fi in most respects, but I’ve run into a number of blackberry users who weren’t even aware of the possibilities, so consider this post a public service announcement:

  • Download and install Google Mobile for Blackberry; then open Google Apps on your phone and
    1. Install Gmail if you use that for personal mail like I do.
    2. Install Google Sync and set it up sync your calendar and contacts
  • Download and install the Google Talk app from Blackberry

The main advantage is that it weens you off clunky intermediaries such as Microsoft Outlook, which I used to use to keep all my contacts and calendar items synced up. Now I can update it from any computer with an internet connection, which gives me a lot of freedom in managing my schedule. I’ve experimented with other methods/technologies in the past, which have always fallen prey to ease of use (specifically lack thereof) and relying on myself to sync my data when I get busy and the fur starts to fly.

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Category: life hacking, technology, uncategorizable

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