Accessing Digital Files on the Road
The days of lugging clunky laptops on the road may be numbered, thanks to cloud computing—the term for apps and services that do their heavy lifting online instead of locally on your hard drive. Of course, “the cloud” has long been accessible through any Web-connected computer, but the tablet/app revolution is making it even more convenient. With Google Docs, for example, you can create (and share) documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and drawings right on your iPad or Android tablet via docs.google.com, while apps such as Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite (from $10) take it one step further by letting you access these documents even when you’re not online. Now you can quickly edit and share photos through Photobucket, Smugmug, and Flickr apps; use Evernote to take text, picture, or audio “notes” and store them in the cloud; or create a personalized newspaper with Instapaper, which downloads selected articles from news sites to read later on your tablet. Meanwhile, services like Dropbox provide an online storage area where you can upload any kind of file and access it from a Web-connected device. Want to watch your favorite shows or the local game from the comfort of your hotel room bed? No problem: You can now stream them onto your tablet live via a Slingbox (from $180; slingmedia.com) or pull them from your hard drive with a Pogoplug Pro ($99; pogoplug.com), attached to your home TV and router, respectively. Impromptu hotel-room party? You’re covered, with music-streaming services such as MOG, which has more than 10 million songs.