How do you keep your digital life in sync?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: December 10, 2013
We love our ecosystems, don't we? We pretty much have to, considering we're invested in them so deeply. Heck, even the ones that we barely even invest in seem to wrap their claws around us and hold us tight. It's why we love our phones, and their software, so much. It's one reason why we fight other people (verbally only, I hope) so vehemently about which software is the best. Or why one mobile platform is "the worst ever." Our ecosystems are great places. You can't tell me otherwise.
Even the walled garden. And the broad open plain. Or any other analogy you can think of.
I switch a lot, though. I get a favorite for all of about fifteen seconds before I find a reason to switch. It could take a week, a day, or several weeks. The one thing that's absolutely certain is that I'm going to switch to something else eventually. It'll happen. It doesn't matter how great I think a device is, or how great it fits into my life. I'm going to stop using it, and I'm going to start using something else instead. That has nothing to do with a review, either. That's just how it goes. I've made peace with it. (Even if my wallet yells at me from time to time.)
Switching may be a common occurrence in my house, but that doesn't mean it's all that easy. In truth, sometimes switching to a platform means I have to change a lot of different things I do every day, apps I use, and services I use. For instance, when I switch to Microsoft's Windows Phone, I have to change the way that I take notes when I'm out and about. The same goes for Android or iOS, too. Moreover, using services like Pocket, or other read-it-later apps get all confused, too. Oh, and being able to access an open link on one device through another? Yeah, you can imagine that that gets mangled in the switch, too.
There are ways around it, though, at least in some instances. Not everything can be fixed, though, or glazed over. There are applications that are available on all of the platforms, from phones to tablets to computers, and so switching from Windows Phone to iOS, or iOS to Android, isn't as complicated as it used to be. Is it worth the effort? Is it worth the hassle? Honestly, I'd like to say it isn't and just stop switching, but that's just not the case.
I know that I'm not going to stop switching, and hopefully every aspect of moving from one platform to another (like games!) will be alleviated some day, but for now I know that I'm just going to have to make some sacrifices. Hey, it's a small price to pay if it means I get to use the latest version of Android, or get my hands on the newest camera attached to Windows Phone. And if I want to try a new app that's only launched on iOS? Then bring on the changes!
What about the folks that don't switch, though? In our world of staying mobile, and our extended ecosystems that cover not only our smartphones but also our computers, TVs (through more boxes), and plenty of other devices, staying connected to one thing has never been easier. We're able to read an article we save on one device on another after we leave the house. We're no longer attached to our computers on our desks, and it's not just apps that are making it easier for us.
Apple's iCloud. Google Drive. And Microsoft's SkyDrive all have threads that reach out to services, platforms, that make accessing our digital content easier than ever before. But, the one thing that's absolutely certain is that it's a lot easier to use those services on their respective platforms. In fact, sometimes you can't even access the best aspects of those cloud services unless you are using the platform they originated from.
So, this is what I want to know: what's your set up like, and how do you stay synced from one device to another? I know that having a household that boasts a complete, unbroken ecosystem isn't all that common anymore, so how do you keep all your devices and platforms interconnected? What's the best way to access your stuff at home from somewhere else? Let me know!