A VIDEOGRAPHER‘S VIEW DOWN THE TABLE
THE CLOUD – A product review
I’m not sure who in the Brown & Jones offices is the biggest techno-geek, but any list of the top five has to include me, so I feel justified in writing this little story. It’s a quick glimpse of my turn down the path to the “dark-side” ie., APPLE computers and iThings and my search for “the CLOUD.”
Learning to use the MAC introduced me to “Mobile ME”; Apple’s fee-for-service internet cloud service. For those of you towards the bottom of the afforementioned list, “the cloud” or cloud computing is described by Wikipedia ( for the lack of anything else or better close to hand ) this way, “Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a metered service over a network (typically the Internet)”. You take files on your computer, be they documents, photos, videos, tuna sandwiches, whatever, and send them out to the ether where they can be accessed by yourself on devices or computers not your own or by others on their hardware. In one form or another this sort of thing is all the internet has ever really been all about. Oh, and advertising. And selling things. And naked people.
A year ago Mrs. Santa gave me the iPad I demanded for Christmas. I had an altruistic plan to eliminate paper waste from my business. I knew that I could create the three simple forms required of me when videotaping a deposition electronically on my iPad. You see, there’s an app for that…. I knew that those forms could be emailed to the office, and THEY could print them if they needed to. I could store what I needed electronically, and move them about as I wished. The real savings I was looking for came in dealing with the “paperwork” sent to me by the office for every video job they gave me. If you’re reading this you already know what I’m talking about.
This is where it gets all, “John and stuff” so tighten your seat restraints and hold on. “What’s the big deal John? Open the files in your computer and get to work”! Here’s the big deal: I don’t use just one computer. I have three running in the office right now, with three different operating systems. I also have multiple iThings that have uses across the broad spectrum of things I do because, well, you know, there’s an app for that. Furthermore, portable things have limited storage capacity. I want to be able to access all of my revenue generating paperwork and files across multiple platforms.
Fly into the CLOUD! Essentially, “the cloud” is some big computer hidden in a secret bunker at a secret location serviced by oompa-loompas…. Ok. No oompa loompas. The cloud is an extension of your own personal computing universe. Apple’s Mobile ME was all of that, for hundred bucks a year. Whatever. Then Apple introduced an operating system upgrade; LION. Like every version of Windows after, well, Windows, it was supposed to make life more wonderful than it already was. Remember how wonderful your computer worked when you started with this: c:\Lion introduced iCLOUD and ditched Mobile Me. iCloud would sync all of your email, contacts, calendars, photos, video, iTunes, anything you bought from the Apple store, everything except all of the documents and forms I created and needed to move from computer to computer and computer to iThing and from MAC OS to Windows and on and on and on…. And it was now free. Free but it didn’t do anything useful except for the frighteningly shallow and vapid.
Dear Friends, Please. Allow me to introduce you to “Dropbox”. There are few things more satisfying in the world of things you plug in than a product that does exactly what you want it to do without upgrading it or buying it a plugin. Dropbox is a “cloud” service. Download the program – that’s what we called them before they became “apps” – set up your account, name email, phone number, whatever, and download stuff into your new “dropbox”. All of my little MAC programs have a new option for saving things: Dropbox. Want to separate your tuna sandwiches in Dropbox? Just create a new folder as you would in any OS and, viola! Want to make a “public” folder so that you can share with friends without allowing them access to your tuna sandwiches? Go for it!
Now, download the app for your iThings or Droids or whatever and sign in. Watch how quickly your documents and photos move from one device to another!! Like my favorite little commercial pig, “Weeeee! wee Wee WEEEEEEEE!!!” The app I use to create my forms on the iPad allows me to send my completed work as a pdf file via email. And that’s what I would do lest something happen to my iPad; email it to myself, open it in the studio and save and process from there.
I could even cc the office if I needed to. With the addition of Dropbox to my iThings and computers, my forms app added a new option, one that allows me to save the forms direct to Dropbox whence they are swept away on electronic wings to all of the places I need them. Also, since it is an internet based service, you may log-in from any connected device and access your files. You know that audio file you didn’t want but now you do but it’s too big for email, and I live in Me-no-money-Falls and you don’t? I can move that audio file to Dropbox and you can get it and get back to work. And there are features I haven’t even started playing with yet, because I actually have what I want already.
Dropbox.com. The download requires less time than it takes to make a tuna sandwich. The app and up to 2GB of storage is free! And it doesn’t touch my email, contacts or photos. And it doesn’t tell Apple or Microsoft anything about what I’m doing. It doesn’t tell Google or Yahoo. At least I don’t think it does.
This blog submitted by Videographer John Spohnholtz.
No related posts.