Odd title, right? It’ll make sense soon, I promise.
Let me start right away saying that I am not being paid by Google or any app/website to write this blog. This is purely a fan letter to Google Chrome Web Store and cloud apps/storage in general.
I work off of 1) a laptop so I can be with my family in the evenings; 2) a powerful desktop with a huge monitor for my big design applications; and, 3) like everyone else, my phone. Google Chrome and its support of free cloud-based apps and storage is making my professional and personal life so much easier to manage.
My favorite app by far is Dropbox, which is basically free cloud storage for files of all kinds. Up to 2 gigs free! If you need more, you can upgrade to a paid account. You simply install Dropbox on your computers/phones, create an account at dropbox.com, and voila, you can access your synched files from your devices as well as from, say, a client’s computer via your dropbox.com account. I use this application all the time and store frequently accessed files, like timesheets and budgets, in my dropbox on a permanent basis.
My next favorite app is Read Later Fast. I do a lot of surfing around for design inspiration, solutions to web development quandaries, recipes, garden ideas, solutions to pre-teen angst and accompanying parental stress. You know, work and life. Read Later eliminates having to create bookmarks for all of those interesting sites that you like, don’t want to lose but don’t want to go through the trouble of bookmarking. Just right click, select Read Later and the page’s address is stored in a list in the app. Access Read Later through your Google Chrome page to find a list of your saved sites waiting for you.
Of course, Chrome’s App Store offers a huge variety of free games to keep yourself and your kids amused. And it has some fun apps that make monotonous chores a bit more fun, including Todo.ly, which is helping me organize all my to-do professional and person to-do / to-buy lists.
For the artist in you, the quick and easy graphic design apps offer Photoshop-esque effects quickly (and for free) and easily. My current favorite is Be Funky, which allows you to do create fun effects for photos to display at, for instance, your daughter’s 8th grade graduation party.
So, the love letter part of my blog is over. Now comes the “WTF” portion. This morning, as the Tribune headline declares “Romney tires to woo hard-to-get Iowa voters,” I’m sitting here with my coffee thinking: What’s so dang special about Iowa? And why should they get to cull the field of politicians for the rest of the country?
I have some rather opinionated opinions about–and solutions for–Federal and State government. But one of my most opinionated opinions is in regard to campaigns. No one state should ever be able to influence the ultimate outcome of an election. We really need national primaries, shortened election seasons (primary the Tuesday after Labor Day) and severe campaign funding limits. Moderate, middle class citizens should be able to afford to run for office.
With today’s technology, there is no need for presidential candidates to traipse around the country spending money. Few people ever get to really meet these candidates or shake their hand (unless, of course, they are offering the candidates campaign money). The bulk of all campaigns (including state and local elections) can be carried out online, through video on Hulu and YouTube, Facebook, live streaming off websites and, of course, through e-mail. All state, local and national candidates could also receive a one-time allotment of free TV air time (but no TV ads) via PBS, after the primaries. Each presidential candidate would receive 30 minutes of air time, US Senate & Congressional candidates would receive 10 minutes, and every one else receiving 5 minutes through their local PBS affiliate.
I also agree with a friend who recently said that we have too many congressmen. Another part of my grand election plan is to force an amendment increasing the ratio of citizens to congressional rep. This “lay off” in the House would not only streamline the governmental process but also help cut the U.S. budget through reduction of related expenses of those reps’ office space, staffers, supplies, etc.
In the meantime, maybe Google Chrome developers will come up with an app that solves the Iowa issue, perhaps even storing Iowa in a cloud server during election season.