Way back when Windows XP was released, I had this optimism that computers were going to be so much better. They were actually going to do what I wanted them to do, instead of me having to deal with their limitations. I was wrong but progress had been made. I had this nagging frustration with computers. There were all these missing features that should have been there all along. Why can’t I have all of my contacts saved in one, central location that is accessible to any program that needs it? Why are there so many different versions of Office? Why isn’t a good word processor just standard? If my computer doesn’t automatically come with the software to make it useful, why did it cost so much money? Why do software updates render my computer useless? I had tricks and workarounds to nearly every frustration my computer caused, but I wanted it to just simply work the way it should.
Technology was heading in the right direction. It just wasn’t where I wanted it to be. As I switched from Windows to Mac, I found out that Mac OSX was much more in line with what I wanted out of a computing experience. No amount of upgrades or Windows-based software had ever given me the results I desired. Some of the built in software and features I always wanted actually existed! I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought a simpler user experience made sense. With my Mac, I became jaded by the dazzle of high-end hardware and expensive software. My budget doesn’t allow for too much of that. Because I couldn’t afford things like Photoshop, I tried using cheaper alternatives until I broke down and bought the real thing. It’s great. I love it but now the computing world is moving in the direction I really want. Cloud computing.
As soon as I heard the term, cloud computing, I jumped on the bandwagon. I know there are so many security issues with the cloud, but I don’t care. I don’t need to buy a new Mac when my current model becomes outdated. I have my eye on something else. The Chromebook. Google’s services have got me hooked on the cloud. I use Google Drive to fill out and record inspection reports. Google calendar runs my weekly schedule. With my Google account and a Chrome extension, my computer lets me know when I have an incoming call and I get my text messages without touching my phone. I still love my purchased apps like Pages and Lightroom, but web-based alternatives are getting really good. Ever hear of Canva? Google it. Join it. Use it. I love creating with it and it works on my tablet too. You don’t need to spend big bucks on Photoshop if you don’t absolutely need every feature it offers.
Most people use their computers just for the internet. I began using computers for graphic design, mechanical design, and programming. I learned computers inside and out and had super specific reasons for using them. Now, people use them for casual things instead of professional. Do you really need a $1,500 laptop to check Facebook? No. Get a Chromebook. Put Linux on an old laptop. I did. I use it just as much as my Mac. Check out the free, web-based tools out there and compute smarter. I use the pro stuff and I absolutely love these new web-based alternatives.