Tuesday, April 02, 2013

My Head is in the Clouds

As I troll through various newsletters to satisfy my ever demanding curiosity, I discover fun, informative, or practical pieces of information or tools to add to my arsenal. A few decades ago, I used to play cards with a friend and his family. His mother always had the annoying habit of taking a card while verbally repeating “I’ll take that and play with it for a while to see what it can do for me.” As annoying as that vocal tick was back then, it is the mantra that haunts me when I come across a new tech tool.

Due to this, I have a wide assortment of tools in my toolbox. I use four Google Drive accounts for various aspects of my personal and professional life; associated with those are the same number of Picasa web albums and YouTube memberships (associated e-mail and calendars are not significant to this story); there are two Dropbox accounts, two old and not much used Yahoo accounts, but add to this membership list a SugarSync, Evernote, Microsoft SkyDrive, Vimeo, and Catch affiliation. Though I have to admit, the latter two have barely been touched.

Some may accuse me of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), but I do find this happens to people who felt deprived as children. They need to collect everything they can when they can like misers. That is just an excuse I use for falling back on, but not really true. What comes to mind when finding new toys is “I’ll take that and play with it for a while to see what it can do for me.” Additionally, the practical reason underlying all of this is that I have filled two Google Drives and their associated Google programs with so much data; I had to start paying $5.00 a year for storage. Not so bad, you may say, until you reach the next level where there is a quantum jump in cost.

The next best solution is to try another service and start adding to that one. Generally, once I start I simply cannot let go; it is like picking a playing card, but never getting it out of my hand. I clutch to all of them not knowing how useful that stored information may be someday. Eventually, these will turn into my personal time capsules.

Here it the glitch. When I truly need to retrieve some information, the real disaster comes when I have to remember which service has what piece of information. If I could recall that nugget of information, then I had to figure out which account to tap into to find it. Talk about a time wasting nightmare. Wishes do come true though. While reading one of the tech newsletters, there was an article on storage aggregators. It never occurred to me that such a thing existed or I would have Googled it long ago. After reading through, I found that CloudKafé could handle all of the different accounts I use already, plus others I have never used before.

This is what their site promotes, but note that rather than put (sic) multiple times where errors occur, I copied it as it is on their site. I did not change anything:

“CloudKafé supports the growing daily needs of those of you who have already moved the center of their digital life to the cloud by enabling you to interact with all of your online content in one place. CloudKafé is a new user-friendly service provides you with a great tool to access all your favorite cloud services from anywhere. Access all of your online content and data on the cloud, easily Find stuff and Instantly Share anything with your friends.”

With one free account on CloudKafé, I am able to access all of my accounts at one time. If I needed to do a search for “history of nail clippers”, it will scan all of the accounts I have integrated providing me with a list of all items that include history, nail, or clippers while showing the location. For some of the accounts, I can click on the result and be brought directly to the source.

CloudKafé does not yet work with Pinterest or New Hive, but it does cover Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Smugmug, and other tools I have yet to try. Hmmm…maybe I should take a look at them. What do you think?

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