Better Roads

September 2013

Better Roads Digital Magazine

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MOBILEOFFICE By Larry Walton LOOKING SKYWARD Selecting and getting the most from Cloud Computing Services I f you are cloudy on the subject of the Cloud, you are not alone. Cloud computing refers to services and applications remotely available through the internet, some of which are very useful to contractors and landscapers. CLOUD WORKS Initial business offerings of the cloud concept were to provide computing power without incurring the capital investment of large and powerful computers. In addition to this processing power, massive data storage plus This iPhone screen shot of shows the Dropbox list of plans used by our crew in the field. the ability to access the data soon became available to anyone with access to the internet. Cloud services have continued to grow. These services come in five basic forms. First are hardware-based services that give scientists and mathematicians more computing power through access to powerful processors or clusters of computers for complex calculations, encryptions and algorithms. Second are software-based services that provide access to expensive software programs that do not reside on your local computer. These services can be very attractive to small businesses that have occasional need for powerful photo processing, slide presentation or web design software but no budget for the purchase of the software. Google Docs, a free online service, is a good way to get a feel for using this type of software service. You can use Google Docs to compose word documents, build spreadsheets and compile slide presentations. More robust solutions for business include cloud-based hosting for Microsoft Dynamics ERP that "can serve your organization in a wide spectrum of roles. You can task them with providing hardware and software that is accessed and controlled by your in-house IT department. Or you can engage a partner as an outsourced IT department that runs, maintains, and develops your systems for you," according to SPEEDY SERVICE When you have a big load of large files and folders to send to a client or co-worker, the third cloud service type can be quite useful. File transfer services like Yousendit and Filemail provide temporary ftp storage and easy interface for sending these large electronic packages that cannot be sent through normal email channels. Our company uses Yousendit almost every day. The service includes an efficient program on your desktop or laptop. Right clicking on a file or folder brings up a dropdown menu option for sending via Yousendit. Simply begin typing in a client's email address, which auto fills if you've sent a file to them previously, and click send. Your customer gets an email from you with a download button. Simple and efficient. FILES AT YOUR FINGERTIPS The fourth cloud service is file sharing, which provides permanent storage space and useful interface for storing and retrieving information by multiple users from anywhere they can get online. Multiple providers are available such as Media Fire, Mega and Google Drive. Many of these companies offer free file sharing up to a few gigabytes of information, which is a good way to test out their services. File sharing has been an important cloud service for our company. We have found that pdf files in Dropbox works particularly well on the iPhones our guys have in the field. The Dropbox app is easy to use and reliable. The guys can pull up any plan instantly and they can zoom in on details and easily move the image around on the 14 PROPICKUP August 2013 PP0813_Mobile Office.indd 14 7/11/13 11:13 AM

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