Life in the Cloud: Day 1 (or Slightly Singed)

So the first day of my 30 day experiment has come to a close.  Overall, it was a success.  However, the first thing I’ve realized is that I do a lot more in a day than I think I do, and I use a lot more tools than I realize.  On the list I posted yesterday, I forgot about the amount of audio file conversions I perform.  I often receive files in .WAV or .WMA format which must be converted to a .MP3 format in order to optimize them for web delivery, and today, I received a batch of such files.  What to do???

My first thought was to use zamzar.com for the audio conversions, but the problem with Zamzar is that I can only upload one file at a time, and it kicks out links to individual files which must be downloaded separately.  Although a relatively simple solution, it isn’t really the most efficient or effective way to do things.  So I did a little bit of research and discovered convertaudioonline.com.  I tend to steer away from tools with such obvious names because of all the Malware and other such nastiness I’ve encountered over the years.  But lo and behold, convertaudioonline.com did exactly what it promised, quickly, efficiently, and without infecting my workstation.  I was able to batch process the audio files and download them as a single file.  Who could ask for more?  So, instead of using my usual audio conversion tools, I was able to do the file conversions on the web without touching the lavafloor. (See yesterday’s entry for an explanation on the lavafloor concept).

I also had to take a single MS Word document and break it up into several smaller PDF files.  I almost touched the lavafloor on this one, but somehow managed to keep my limbs inside the ride at all times by using Microsoft Web Apps.  I loaded the .DOCX file into the MS Word Web app and started working on it, but the problem is that the Word web app doesn’t allow you to open up multiple documents at the same time.  So, instead of copying and pasting the text from one document into another and saving the resultant files as .PDF documents, I had to cut out only what I wanted from the document, save it as a .PDF, restore the deleted text, then repeat the process for each new document I was creating.  Not much more time or labor consuming than what I would have done, but still not the ideal solution.

As the title of this post indicates, I did get slightly singed today and wound up opening a desktop application, but not for long.  So rather than actually burning myself on the lavafloor, I only singed myself a little.  After thinking about it, I realized that I could have performed the operation in the cloud, but I was in a bit of a rush and didn’t think about it.  So what was the application and what was the purpose??  I had to resize an image.  Had I been thinking, I could have easily uploaded the image into Pixlr or the Photoshop.com app and resized it.  But I didn’t.   I opened up Paint, resized the image, saved it, and went on about my business.  So, this was a misstep onto the lavafloor.  It wasn’t caused by any limitations of the cloud, it happened because I’m so used to doing things in a certain way, and I’m still getting used to the experiment.

Final rating for the day?  On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being a complete failure and 10 being a total success), the cloud gets an overall rating of 10, and I get an overall rating of 9.  Not too shabby for a beginning.  But I do things which are much more complex than this…  Let’s see where it goes from here.

Stay tuned…

~Rodney

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