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!

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

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