In my early years as a young, budding journalist, there was no key combo as important as Apple-S. Apple-S. You wrote a beat, then Apple-S. Oh, Apple-S. Did I remember to Apple-S? Let’s Apple-S just in case we didn’t Apple-S. Every article was a long string of words invisibly punctuated with Apple-S. (For you PC-types, that’d be CTRL-S)
The computers we used back then were amazingly sleek replacements for our typewriters and onion skin papers, but they couldn’t quite be trusted. Oh no. Those little fuckers would lock up or forget we’d written something or just sort of vomit whenever it seemed to suit them. The closer to the deadline, the more likely this was to happen. So, everything we wrote back in the 90s was punctuated with Apple-S because we were engaged in a never-ending battle with a technology that was created to make our lives easier and actually ended up creating a new subconscious keystroke for an entire generation of writers.
Eventually technology caught up to our actual needs and this amazing fucking thing was invented. They call it The Cloud. It’s not white and puffy, it’s not a sign of stormy weather, it’s a thing out there where you can store data and shit. It’s fucking unicorn magic and puppies and fairy dust and donuts with sprinkles all wrapped up in a big soft down comforter and compressed into ones and zeroes for your fucking consumption. So let’s talk about that.
Get On The Cloud Today, Freelance Writer!
So, The Cloud. You can’t really understand The Cloud without experiencing it, but I’m going to do my best to explain it to you so we can both feel like we did our jobs here. Now fucking sit and listen, because I’m sure as shit not going to repeat myself.
Do you remember when we had to use floppy disks or Zip drives or other portable media for files because we shared computers and did other unsanitary things in the newsroom? You’re too young for that? Hmm.
Well, there was a time when we had to carry our data with us because there was no where else safe to put it save inside the belly of a single computer, where it was difficult to share with anyone who might need it. Instead of emailing files, we carried them to one another on coasters containing encoded magnetic circles that magically recreated our ideas — mostly. I mean, if they got too close to a magnet or you dropped them or used them for an actual coaster, well, you were probably fucked. And that’s why The Cloud is really important.
Know your computing history. Here are four reasons why using The Cloud is superior to all that data lugging bullshit:
Two words: Auto. Save. If you’re not part of the Apple-S Generation, you don’t know the struggle of constantly having to save your data for fear that you’ll lose it all if your computer were to suddenly crash or the power were to go out in a freak wind storm or something else horrific were to happen. If you’ve never lost an entire article to one tiny computer hiccup, you don’t know the struggle. But for those of us who lived through those dark times, The Cloud offers an anxiety-free alternative: Auto Save. For example, Google Drive literally saves every character as you type. It doesn’t get much more up to the second than that. You can also configure your computer, smartphone or tablet to back everything up to your Cloud drive… so there’s literally nothing you can’t protect.
Improved Data Integrity. Remember those disks I was talking about like 10 seconds ago? Well, like cassette tapes, they didn’t have especially great data integrity. Meaning that sometimes, even if you “Apple-S”ed as hard as you could go, you’d still lose your data because your disk was garbage. Or if you did get your disk too close to a magnet or something that contained a magnet, it might wipe the disk entirely — making you double fucked. Hard drives were also easily corruptible in the old days, basically nothing could be trusted. So you had to print a copy and carry around a digital copy if you had any hopes of keeping your data intact. The tech that backs The Cloud is so secure and has such excellent integrity that credit card companies and banks are moving their entire operations there instead of trying to upgrade their internal systems to match the level of tech.
Many Services Offer Built-In Software. Your old, slow word processor that’s no longer compatible with anything or anyone needs to be chucked, along with the platform shoes in your closet and those fucking parachute pants. NO ONE LOOKS GOOD IN PARACHUTE PANTS! There are a number of Cloud services that offer built-in software suites for people just like us. Access to word processors, spreadsheets and even presentation software is as easy as spending your $5 or $10 a month for your storage and access. Your software’s always up to date and you’ll never have to have that embarrassing conversation with a client when they ask why they can’t open your file.
Group Think. Even if the other stuff isn’t appealing to you, there’s one thing you can do on The Cloud that you’d never be able to do on your Earth-based PC. You can’t share a document and literally work on it at the same time as someone else. For any sort of group think project, from editorial calendars to branding projects and even blogging brainstorming sessions, having more than one brain in your working document can improve it exponentially. Or it can fucker it up — I mean, I don’t know what sort of shitwads you work with.
Like it or not, unicorn butt sniffer, times change and we get better tools. It’s to our advantage to use them instead of clinging to the same old technology we’ve been using since the Dark Ages. Break your dependency on routine, check out some Cloud tools and see what you’ve been missing. In part two of this two part series I’ll be discussing and reviewing some of the major Cloud subscriptions so you can make a more informed decision.