K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

May 27 2010

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Moving your business to the Cloud: Part 2

Effective online collaboration allows you, your employees, customers and partners to share critical business information with each other from anywhere in the world. It means shifting computing tasks and storage from local desktop PCs and company servers to remote systems across the Internet.

Two applications that I will review first claim to give you easy access and searchability from anywhere.

Evernote
Evernote can be used to jot notes, create to-do lists, clip entire web pages, manage passwords and record audio. Free users have access to all the tools, recognition and synchronization, but are limited to a 40MB monthly upload allowance. Phone apps make your files more mobile. I tried the Blackberry app and I wasn’t very impressed. I recently got a new Palm Pre and love the application on it. I think the iPhone app would be very similar.

iphone evernote
While the voice notes feature may be fine for some, I personally don’t have a need for it. Evernote does have text recognition capabilities. If you have a business card scanner, Evernote will make the text in your image searchable. This might be the best way to keep all those business cards you collect organized. If tracking expenses is important to you, you can scan or snap a picture of receipts and file them under specific headings in a receipt notebook.

After playing with it, I think it might be great for gathering personal clippings but not the best option for group collaboration. A library of “inspiration” pictures with tag words would keep your photos in one place and serve as a little extra insurance should your computer crash and you accidentally lose data. Another great option for bloggers would be the ability to collect material for posts on the fly.

Evernote also has Geo-tagging capabilities, which would be great on a trip where you might be taking a lot of pictures and they all start to run together in your head and you can’t tell perhaps one cathedral from another.

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Currently, my favorite way to use it is for organizing recipes. This realization happened when my mother told me she wanted to get all her recipes in one place. I instantly thought Evernote would be a great solution. The ability to add tags to notes makes the dishes searchable by ingredients or other terms such as “easy” or “party food.” I add pictures to my recipe notes—since I eat with eyes—and that helps me when I might be planning a menu but am not sure what I feel like having.

ZumoDrive
ZumoDrive works a little differently from Evernote because it actually creates a virtual drive for up to 2GB of your data (free version) for sharing. The software lets you link documents, music and pictures from your Windows, Macintosh or Linux computer.

The limited size of the free version means your whole music library won’t be accessible nor will all of your photos. Frequently used files can be stored locally on your smart phone or netbook for offline access.

zumodrive1
ZumoDrive encrypts the data on their own server. While this is good, I have read reviews that claim this is by no means very secure for sensitive data.

Accidentally deleted files can be recovered from the virtual recycle bin. Files that are modified are automatically backed up, and support for tracking previous versions is offered.

ZumoDrive is mostly used as a way to get 2GB of music storage virtually on your phone or netbook. The music can be streamed to your phone’s player without using up any memory. I had some problems getting the music to sync properly. I will keep playing with this because it seems like a much easier way to get songs on your phone without having to physically sync it each time.

I am disappointed in the lack of help that can be found on the ZumoDrive site. They also don’t keep their blog updated with tips and tricks for using their software. I think it’s worth a look but if you get frustrated you might like one of the next two cloud computing options I review.—Ann Porter

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Business, Products. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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