Moving from the desktop to the web

igoogle1.pngSix months ago, I was “desktop man”. I preferred my software locally installed. I wanted complete control of my machine, my desktop applications, my files. It’s fair to say that I didn’t really understand the advantages of online services.

All that has changed and the keyword here is “synchronisation”. Or rather, no need for synchronisation. Like many people I use a work computer and a machine at home. I’d come across an interesting blog at work, subscribe to its RSS feed, then use something like rsync to copy my work reader OPML file to home. If I remembered. Or I’d bookmark an interesting site at home, only to look for it at work and realise that it wasn’t there. I’d investigate complicated Firefox addons for synchronising bookmarks using insecure FTP.

Those difficulties sum up the best reason for switching to online services. If like me you’re a bit slow and don’t get it yet, here’s the soundbite: everything is in the one place. The web isn’t a single physical location but it can feel like one. You can access your stuff from anywhere with a web browser – home, work, the library, it’s always up to date and there’s no need to copy it from place to place every time you make a change. What’s more, sharing it with other people is as simple as directing them to a URL.
Read the rest. . .