If you're like me, you can live in the cloud

Chase Bonar
 from  Winter Springs, FL
| January 24, 2013

If you read What does MEGA mean for cloud storage and the mobile industry, you’ll want to read my initial thoughts about living in the cloud. Even though it hasn’t been very long since I switched my digital lifestyle, I urge you to give it a try for three days and report back with your findings. Consider this a more-specific, and consolidated 30-day challenge that you can do with a Gmail account and the cloud storage provider of your choice.

For the better part of three days, I have been living in the cloud for all of my computing needs. My MacBook has not been doing so well for the past few months, so I decided to give it a break and pick up a Chromebook. The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook has been remarkably simple to use. There’s something exceedingly refreshing about having everything with you all the time no matter which device you’re using to connect. It’s like having a dictionary at a spelling bee; you always have the answers with you, it’s just a matter of finding them, or in the case of a spelling bee, a matter of looking up the correct spelling. And I’m quite alright with that challenge because I can search my device, Google Drive, and Dropbox simultaneously so there’s very little physical searching required of me.

If there was any time in my life that I could adjust to this new digital lifestyle, it is now. I have very little information stored on my MacBook (despite it being full with endless music files, pictures, and videos). I am perfectly content with that information remaining on an external drive (for the time being), and living with no digital strings attached. Bear in mind, I do not have the comfort to open my Chromebook wherever I am and do heavy computing due to the nature of Chrome OS and its lack of local storage, but that never was my intention and I don’t imagine I’ll ever live my digital life in the cloud to that extent as long as I have a backup laptop. Chances are that thing will be around for a while; it’s been through everything, and it’s showing no signs of letting up.

When it comes to my mobile device, I have comfortably stored most of the data I access on a regular basis in the cloud. That data is primarily music, and files on Google Drive and Dropbox. I figure I have dealt with Sprint for this long, and I’ve got about a year left to go, so I might as well get used to their data speeds. I have to admit, I've heard the worst and learned to expect the worst, and I tend to come out thoroughly impressed by The Now Network. It’s not half bad here in Florida.

Despite having 32GB of internal storage, I was surprised to find that I only have about 3GB left on my Galaxy Nexus. However, after an analysis of that data, I’m not as surprised because 50% of that data is phone-related (i.e. ROMs, mods, kernels, and themes). Mind you, this data can be deleted at any time, or stored in the cloud, and it would have zero effect on my day-to-day activities. I can resist the temptation to hack my Nexus relatively easily these days.  On top of that, I have about a gigabyte of music stored locally, about 2GB of apps, and another 2GB of pictures and videos. If I was to delete the phone-related data stored locally, I’d free up 8GB to 14GB of space instantly. I know it’s a lot, but I haven’t gotten around to doing it.

Despite this, I’m still a bit perplexed. To put it simply, I’m more reliant on the local storage of my smartphone than I am on my Chromebook’s local storage. I know I can change this if I delete all of that phone nonsense, but I’m still looking at a minimum requirement of 16GB to live comfortably and not worry about my digital footprint.

This doesn’t surprise me, and I’m actually content with what I wrote in my editorial about Mega and cloud storage. However, I’m much more comfortable living in the cloud via my Chromebook than my Galaxy Nexus.

I can deal with 1-2Mbps down and about 1Mbps up (on a good day). I know it’s pathetic compared to all of that 4G LTE goodness everyone else gets to enjoy, but I’m just not convinced that I need that kind of speed all the time. For the same reason I drive the speed limit, I don’t need to download a file quicker than you can say "The Now Network". And yes, I am a previous customer of AT&T, and yes, the data speeds were better. But not good enough to make me miss them.

Looking back at my total data downloaded the past eight months, I rarely exceeded 2.5GB total across two lines. My girlfriend does not do anything intense on her phone because of Sprint’s speeds. I’m the complete opposite; I only download things as often as I do because of Sprint. It’s hard to believe, but I’m fine with it.

This is where you say, "Yeah right, you data hungry PhoneDog editor! You could never access all the data you need on a daily basis without those download speeds making you go crazy."

Sorry, but you’re wrong. It pains me to say it, though. You’d be right if you were talking to anyone else, but I’m a unique customer of Mr. Hesse.

My typical day goes something like this:

  • I wake up at 6:45AM and I am connected to WiFi while I check my Twitter and surf the web in the shower. (I haven’t dropped my phone yet!)
  • I arrive at work an hour later and am on Twitter at least once every ten minutes for the next four hours. I also update multiple apps like CNN, Facebook, and The Chive.
  • Lunch time is about 50% stuffing my face and 50% YouTube, web-surfing, and Twitter. This lasts for an hour.
  • For the remaining four hours of work I check my Twitter about once every 30 minutes, but I send many more emails than I do than the first half of the day. However, I follow the news very closely via Bacon Reader (a reddit client), CNN, and Mobile Buzz.
  • I stream Google Music and Pandora on and off throughout the last four hours of my work day. (I’d say a total of two hours total per day is spent streaming music.)

Once I get home from work, I stream Google Music, or Pandora for a maximum of one hour while I work out.

The rest of my night I’m connected to Wi-Fi. All in all, I’m not that reliant upon Sprint, but if I wasn’t as busy as I am throughout the day, I might not be able to deal with the download speeds. It’s a good and bad thing that I am stationary in a Sprint area with decent 3G coverage, but I’ve grown accustomed to it.

So what do you say, reader? Do you think you could live in the cloud? I’ll tell you this; if you have a desk job and you have 4G LTE coverage at that job, you’d probably exceed your limit because of how much more you could get done. But I still urge you to challenge yourself! If you can reduce downloads, you can potentially downgrade your data plan and save some cash. Think about that before you say you’re ready to make the lifestyle change because once you cross over, you’ll find fewer reasons to go back. Keep me updated with your thoughts in the comments section below!

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