In the movie, "The Matrix", the hero spends all his time trying to escape from living in a computer generated world. It's funny to think that there are those of us who would prefer the opposite, and want to storm the matrix to get inside, living completely in a digital world. We are coming very close to that with web apps that are improving each day to the point that it is very tempting.
Is it possible that one can do everything one needs to do to accomplish required tasks and achieve goals by using online tools only? That question popped in my mind years ago when I read a quote from Bill Gates who said that the future would be oriented to an online world and that Microsoft would lead the way. Since then, with the proliferation of WiFi hot spots, home wireless networks and wireless cards for laptops, as well as the new Google Gears that allow web applications to work offline, that future is close to being here. However, Microsoft is not leading the way. Instead, one of Microsoft's top officers stated that they are now years behind other companies in preparing viable web applications that Bill Gates promised. Other companies, however, have blazed the way with webapps that promise everything that installed software promises -- but are available anywhere, anytime, on any computer.
Over the next few months, I've decided to see if I can completely live and work online, using only online tools. From doing my banking (I'm a former Quicken guy), word processing and spreadsheets (I live in Microsoft Office), to communication, project management, data management and presentations, I'm going to give all the various webapps a good workout. Some of the first up will be:
- Google Documents
- Google Calendar
- Various online email providers
- Zoho Writer, Spreadsheets, Project, Mail, etc.
- Online fax services
- Digital phone via computer
As I put these online bad-asses through their digital paces, I'll give you an assessment on their viability for professionals who work in a professional world. If they come up short and amateurish, you'll know. If they turn out to be superstars, you hear it here. I'm not going to post on these daily, I'm just going to use them as if they were installed software that I use during the course of my management responsibilities and my business. When I'm comfortable with their capabilities, I'll do a review.
The goal is to use online resources only. However, during the course of my work, if any of these online tools fails muster, I may have to resort back to Word, Excel, Outlook, and Powerpoint. Let's hope not.