Chapter 8. Get Your Data to Go

To get things done today, you need the right information at your fingertips — no matter where you are. You will travel, relocate, switch jobs, use more computers, and generate larger quantities of data in your lifetime than any previous generation has. The capability (or inability) to access that information on the go can make the difference between success and failure in work and life.

Every day you create a digital trail that details your life. Your Sent mail folder describes your professional and personal relationships. Your digital photo and video archive documents family vacations, graduations, births, and the car accident you got into last year. You've got your college papers, your résumé, and professional documents created at your last three jobs stowed away on your hard drive.

Ten years ago, you may have been able to store all the data you needed on a 1.44MB floppy disk. Now, in the age of MP3 players, ubiquitous broadband, personal camcorders, and digital cameras, you create and collect dozens of gigabytes of data per year. There are three main ways to get to this data when you're not sitting at the computer it lives on:

  • Storing it "in the cloud" using web applications (webapps). Hack 69, "Manage Your Documents in a Web-Based Office Suite" and Hack 80, "Use Gmail as an Internet Hard Drive," cover ways to use web applications to store your data online, and even revise and collaborate on documents using only a browser.

  • Taking your software and files ...

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