Switching to Cloud Computing

There has been a lot of talk recently about the cloud computing phenomenon and I’ve been pondering moving to a more cloud based working environment for a while but as I largely work on one machine for work stuff I didn’t really have the urge to move as much as other more roaming buddies such as Martin Weller who switched to using Google quite a while ago. I’d also like to retain the feel of my current set-up as I’ve got lots of stored stuff in my Archive folders on Outlook (which I use Google Desktop to index and serch through).

To cut a long story short it has been a quiet week for me (relatively speaking) and so I’ve been exploring Microsoft’s cloud computing services (live@edu in particular) and Google cloud computing apps. I’ve begun using Googledocs in earnest to manage collaborative publishing on a number of documents and I have now organised getting my Google calendar syncing with Outlook/Exchange. Originally I tried Googles own Calendar sync program which is quite flakey and then I switched to “SyncMyCal” which I found to be a bit more robust and functionally rich but of course you pay for it if you want the full bundle.

Once I’d sorted out calendaring I moved to email and got Outlook to display my googlemail account using the imap folders view. I set the google account to be the default and I checked what happened with meeting scheduling messages when opened in my google imap account in Outlook and they do go into my work calendar which is cool. I don’t like the way Outlook fixes the folder view since the google account is bottom of the list but I can live with that I guess. I ensured that the reply address for messages from my google account go to my OU account and then I changed the MX records so that the primary inbound mailbox will be directed to my google mail account.

 I’ve also in parallel created a live@edu mail domain and created a user account for myself on that and I’m going to try it next once I’ve given the Google toolkit a good testing. I’m looking forward to seeing how integrated I can make everything, especially as I’m syncing to mobile devices too (N95 and iTouch).

So now the test begins!


About willwoods
I'm Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University.

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