Get Your Head in the Cloud...

...or at least get your bookmarks, documents, photos, videos, and so on... in the Cloud. It was the BEST thing I did starting back in 2005 when I signed up for a Delicious account. (I won't be telling my fellow tech gurus anything new in this post, but I hope to share some useful information here with those who are just starting to explore the potential that the web holds.)

What is "the Cloud", you ask? The phrase refers to resources and applications that are Internet-based and are accessible from basically any device that can go online. So, putting your bookmarks, documents, videos and such in the Cloud means that you have stored them in a place that allows you to gain access to them from any computer or other device that has Internet access.

Saving things online is simple, gives you flexibility, helps with organization, and can even provide opportunities for collaboration.

SIMPLE - Getting started is as simple as finding a site that meets your needs and signing up for an account. Many sites offer free accounts which sometimes offer limited options. Once you have an account, you can begin uploading items to it. This is also usually a very simple process. If you know how to download pictures from your digital camera or how to add an attachment to an email, you should be able to figure out how to upload items to the Cloud.

FLEXIBLE - Having your items in the Cloud offers you the flexibility of going almost anywhere and still having access to them. When you get to work and realize that you've left your removable drive at home, you don't have to worry if you have everything saved online too.

ORGANIZED - Many of the storage sites also let you tag your resources. Tagging provides a way of organizing similar to a database. When you are searching for a particular topic, you can search through your resources by the tags you've created. For example, I have tagged all of my online bookmarks by grade level and by subject among other things. If I am looking for a third grade math site, I just have to select those tags.

COLLABORATION - Once you have your resources in the Cloud, you are sometimes able to grant others access to them so that you can collaborate. Several people can be working simultaneously on a document, slide show, or spreadsheet and don't even have to be in the same room, same city, or even the same continent for that matter! Check out this Google Doc for an example. Add a "Hello" while you're there, so you can see how easy it is to collaborate.

Check some of these sites out:

Some online bookmarking/collection sites are Delicious, Diigo, Reddit, Clipmarks, Digg, Livebinders.

Store your videos online at Vimeo, YouTube, Viddler, Dailymotion.

Places to keep your documents online include GoogleDocs, Dropbox, Box.Net, FilesAnywhere, 4Shared.

Some online photo albums are Photobucket, Shutterfly, Snapfish, Flickr, Picasa.


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