This ‘Cloud’ really does have a silver lining – a thought on avoiding lost work hell

All the cliches are true – your blood does run cold, and your heart does seem to stop, when you realise that you’ve just deleted 17 pages of the chapter you’ve been slaving over.  I still don’t know how I did it, but although I do have a backup drive, I don’t altogether trust it and anyway it only backs up once a day.  Which lead me to ‘The Cloud’.  Not an ethereal other world, but a more mundane cyberspace version of a storage unit, only harder to get old IKEA sofas in.  I ended up opting for www.sugarsync.com which magically synchronises my data as I write with a version in cybersapce, so that the heart stopping loss of pages is a thing of the past, at least until I start worrying about the reliability and short lifespan of web businesses.

So now if I’m using my home PC I can switch to the laptop (can’t resist the good weather) and pick up where I left off, or log in to Sugarsync from the Hive and do the same.  Optimistically I’m also looking forward to using the feature that allows me to share large documents (my thesis) with my supervisors by emailing a link which they can use for downloading a read-only or an editable version, rather than clogging up their inboxes with my endless chapters (very optimistic).  Best of all this stuff is free and there’s at least 3Gb of space, which I’ve scarcely touched with two years worth of research documents.  A quick straw poll of fellow DPhils last week suggested that I’m not alone in being a late adopter when it comes to technology, so if you’ve not come across this stuff have a look.  And if this is old news, what else is out there that I and your fellow researchers should be trying?

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