Shifting laptops when your data is in the cloud

Last week I shifted to a new laptop (a thinkpad X Series) with Windows Vista. I was dreading shifting computers in general and shifting to Vista in particular. But it turned out to be my easiest move ever.

I used MozBackup to shift my web browser. Given how much time I spend on a web browser, this being seamless was a big deal.

Next, I transferred all the files from my current laptop onto a Maxtor backup drive. From the Maxtor drive I copied all files to the new laptop. This too about two hours.

We use Google Apps at SlideShare, so all my email and documents are in the cloud anyway. I still download all my email into Thunderbird so that I have an offline backup (just in case). Tomorrow I will use MozBackup to shift my Thunderbird profiles to the new laptop and start downloading email again.

Every one or two hours, I come across a software I need (e.g., Microsoft Office, Photoshop, ScreenPrint). One by one I am downloading / installing that on to my laptop.

First experiences with Vista – its quite nice. The visual look and feel is nicer than for my old XP. I am still not quite used to the way that navigation works in Vista (especially finding and adjusting look and feel of the computer). I like the windows sidebar and the RSS reader and photo slideshows going through my photographs.

Looking back, a lot of the pain in shifting computers used to be shifting files and settings. Now that so much of my data is in the cloud, that paid is dramatically reduced.

Using Google Apps for your startup

We recently started using Google Apps at SlideShare. Reasons were many. I wanted the convenience of Gmail for our mail. Google Docs makes a lot of sense for informal spreadsheets and documents to keep track of things we are working on.

How the switch went
I registered for Google docs one weekend. It took me some time to configure email so that I could start downloading it into Thunderbird. I had to search around on the web to get the settings exactly right. Next I setup accounts for my cofounders. It was pretty easy to setup administrator accounts and to create email nicknames so that we could receive email to other addresses into our email boxes.

Over the years I have acquired many email addresses, and I set up all my work related ones to come into the one Google apps account. That required me to verify my other email addresses through Google Apps (once again, it was a pretty smooth process).

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