Topic Tuesday #35 2013/03/19 - "To the Cloud! Part 1-Bookmarks"
OK, many of you out there are not IT professionals well versed in all the rhetoric and jargon in use in the biz. I try very hard to keep this in mind when framing these topics. That said, if I get too far in the weeds and I lose you, let me know.
Today I was busy working and like many IT geeks I said to myself, "There has to be an easier way..."
I was dealing with data synchronicity. I work with multiple machines doing a variety of tasks and sometimes need information available on all of them. The data could be spreadsheets, documents, multimedia, presentations, reference material, notes, book marks, even applications that don't have to be installed. It ends up being a bear of a problem, especially when dealing with multiple operating systems such as Mac, PC, and Linux. Or, what about just being away from your own devices and still need to access something? Many wrinkles to the problem, and no one fits all solution in sight.
A staggering number of cloud based solution providers have put an even more staggering range of products (many free-to a point) to market. This creates an à la carte smorgasbord of options to mix and match from. Personally I have not found single solution I like more than any other. They all have a unique feel and unique benefits and weaknesses. This has led me to a series of talks about cloud based utilities.
Today: Bookmarks/Favorites and Browser Sync
What/How many browsers do you have? How many machines?
For me, I was using Chrome very heavily for bookmark syncing. It's one of its strongest allures really. You sign in with your Google account (gmail or apps domains) and your add-ons and bookmarks/favorites just pull down from the cloud. factor in the mobile apps for android and iOS having access to the tabs and book marks from your desktop install, and life is a happy pretty place.
What about the others?
Safari will sync with iCloud.***
Firefox has Sync system that is intended to be used with their mobile app. It can also be used to sync betwen existing installs, however my experience with it has been atrocious.***
IE has nothing - Unless you count some of their Skydrive options... It works after a fashion... It would be a long tutorial, involving a text message from Microsoft giving you a security code so you could browse your machine from skydrive.live.com. Not kidding... It's cool, but not user friendly.
So what is user friendly?
The simplest solution to the problem of interoperability is thankfully free. xmarks.com Just install the plug in from their page for the browsers you use. It works with the 4 I have listed. Once you get it setup, you will have your bookmarks in all of them, and changes will sync to each and every one you have. It's glorious. You can even login to their webpage and manage your bookmarks from there (or access them from another machine). They were acquired by another company I recommend, LastPass.com, and they specialize in single sign on password management. I will leave them for a future topic.
***Individual mileage may vary.