Moving the desktop to the web

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I’ve been thinking for a while now about moving everything I can off my desktop and onto web applications.

My recent computer crash made me glad I had most of my stuff backed up on remote computers already, but what if I could have had EVERYTHING backed up somewhere? How little would my crash have mattered?

There are 2 reasons why I want to move things off the desktop, and onto the web.

1. Because the web is accessible from anywhere. I can then stop worrying whether my desktop and laptop are correctly synched or if I am going to have to wade through a ton of email when I go on the road even though I’ve already waded through it once at home.

2. Because computers fail. Servers fail too, but most internet companies make regular backups of their data.

So, why am I seriously considering doing this now?

  • Gmail almost replaces Evolution (or Thunderbird, or Outlook). It’s pretty darn good.
  • Googles Feedreader allows me to have all my feeds online.
  • There are plenty of places you can store your contact list online (and I believe google will come up with one soon that will integrate with gmail)
  • Here’s a big one: osx.portraitofakite.com. It’s an online version of the Mac Os. Obviously it has serious limitations, but with time it will certainly evolve. This may allow a bunch of these other tools to be consolidated into one location.
  • Allows you to do all kinds of organizational stuff online
  • There are plenty of online project management pieces of software
  • All my instant messenger information is already stored online
  • del.icio.us stores my bookmarks.

Now, some of the things that are still problematic with moving stuff online:

  • Excel: I haven’t seen an online spreadsheet program that even comes remotely close to excel’s capabilities. However, I have seen the ability to put an excel file onto a server and then to edit it through a browser. It’s not too far away.
  • Word processing. Same story as excel.
  • Synching a pda/phone with an online application

I don’t do that much more, but I’d like to hear other peoples ideas on moving their desktop apps online. What problems do you run into. What other websites do you use?

A few words about privacy. I don’t care. Maybe I should. Maybe I’m ignorant.

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