Working in the "cloud": My three favorite gadgets
Summer is a great time for exploration, including finding new ways to get my job done. This is part of my way of finding joy at work. Gradually, I am moving more and more of my work to the “cloud,” by doing things on the Internet while treating my computers simply as terminals.
Here are three “gadgets” of my favorite recently:
I store all my recent working files in my “Dropbox Folder,” which is constantly synchronized to the Internet space. Thus I can work on my updated files everywhere, from whichever computer, Windows or Mac, and easily share some of them with colleagues or collaborators. What’s more, the Dropbox Website automatically keeps all versions of my file, even those that have been deleted.
A free Dropbox account gives you 2G space to start with. Creating a new account through referral, however, will give you 250MB bonus space. So if you click here to join Dropbox, your new space will be 2.25G instead. And I will get 250MB bonus space too, thank you!
(An update on Oct. 18: Dropbox is now offering double referral credit to .EDU emails. Follow the link to claim your additional space!)
Mendeley is my new favorite app in managing academic references (and all my PDFs!). It seems to combine the benefits of EndNote and RefWorks. It is a free, open source app that runs on both Windows or Mac. When you pull in a PDF file, not only does the Mendeley app stores the file, it may also automatically extracts reference information for you -- sometimes including all references to the referenced article! The bibliography information is constantly synchronized through the Internet; so I can access them anywhere and easily share some of them with friends.
❑ LaTeXLab through Google
If you are into LaTeX -- see my previous post about how to use it in Mac -- LaTeXLab through Google will be a big, happy surprise. It is an open source implementation of a web-based LaTeX editor fully integrated with Google Docs. Now I can create my TeX files and compile PDF outputs directly from the Internet, and manage them with Google Docs!