Working Online

Recently my laptop's hard drives failed. They had been set up as mirrored (both having the same data in case one fails) and I was able to limp along for a week while new hard drives were on their way. Thankfully I had been moving more and more stuff onto the web. When the laptop finally croaked, I did lose all the data on the hard drives, but it wasn't much of a loss.

Update: I have since moved to another laptop, and having so much already up on the web helped that transition tremendously. However, the new laptop also eventually had issues and I needed to reformat it. Now I'm working on going even farther towards web based tools and data.

So others can benefit from my example, I'm putting together this page that explains how I'm "Living on the web".

Equipment

Laptop: I am running Linux, specifically Ubuntu 11.10 on a Sony Vaio with 4GB Ram and a 64-bit Intel® Core™2 Duo CPU @ 2.26GHz.

As well as this website and others, I'm now using DropBox to store data. It works pretty well, automatically syncing between the web storage and the laptop. Files are on the hard drive, so I can edit them as I would any normal file but changes are uploaded when saved.

I have lots of typical open source software installed, trying to use only those in the standard repositories.

Phone: I have a really stupid old phone right now, that does only talk and text. When possible I use Google Talk/Voice or Skype.

Software

My main browser is now Chromium, with very few add-ons.

Google Bookmarks Browser has a nice feature where I can open multiple websites with just a few clicks.

Google Reader Notifier lets me know when I have RSS Feed items to read.

I also use Firebug, which seems to come with Chromium, or maybe with Firebug Lite.

I keep all kinds of passwords to various websites in an excrypted file that I back up. KeePass is the name of the application. This allows me to have stronger passwords, and it has simple "click to open website" functionality that makes it easier to manage lots of sites. I also like its password generation capability.

Websites

I store all my important data online, either on my personal website or at one of these fine free sites:

  • Mail: Google Mail
  • Documents: Google Docs
  • Storage: DropBox allows about 2GB for free, but you can pay for more. So far I'm under the 2GB free limit.

What I'll lose

If there should be another disk crash or I lose the laptop, I probably won't lose much. With just a couple passwords I can recreate my work environment on any modern computer. I will lose a bunch of media, like music files, but they're easily rebuilt using bittorrent.

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