November 21, 2008

Family Christmas lists with Cloud Computing!

I had been reading about cloud computing a little this past month, so I thought I would test it out. The guinea pigs? MY FAMILY!

So, basically what I decided to do is put our family's Christmas wish list in a central place so everyone can access it anytime they need it. In the old days you would create a mass email and just keep "Replying to all" everytime someone added something or had a question. This could be done more easily with a web page on the internet, but then each person had to:
  • know HTML
  • have access to the FTP site
  • have an FTP program
  • know the password and login for the FTP site
etc, etc... which was fine for me, but there's no way my Luddite dad or my mom (who's still learning but getting there ;-) could ever do anything like that without a long list of procedures and hours of training. So, first I decided to try it on Facebook by creating a Group. BUT, my mom hates social networking sites. She doesn't have time for them and "stalkers will jump you on a street corner and beat you senseless" if you have a profile on MySpace. But she DOES check her email and visits webpages for news and photography. SO...

...introducing Cloud Computing and Google Docs. I created a simple Google Docs word processing document and saved it in the Google "cloud". Then I gave each family member sharing privilages so each person can type in what they want for Christmas and even put a link to a store where others can buy their gift, making it easy for everyone to buy something fun instead of the same ole same ole, underware, ties and giftcard to Wal-Mart.

Needless to say... IT WORKED! As of today everyone finished their wish list and we can all go shopping for Christmas... with money we don't have...
We're actually keeping it pretty conservative this year (under $20 or a handmade "Crafty" item).

Try it out next time you have a wishlist for multiple people. There are other cloud document platforms you can use besides Google Docs but I like Google Docs because all you have to have to sign in is your Google password. (Which everyone? has).

What do you guys think about this solution? Can you improve it? Suggestions? Please comment!

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