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Living on Cloud 9: Discovering The Digital Soul

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A Practical Introduction to Creating and Maintaining Digital Liquidity Written and Created by Nicholas McGill


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Some may believe that some of the ideas expressed may be hard to grasp and/or perceived as out there, hilarious and non-sensical. Also, they say I suffer from an egotistical disorder to shamelessly promote myself from time to time.

To them, I say the best ideas like gravity, the pogo stick and space travel began in the imaginary in lands of complete and utter nonsense, and if you’d like some help with implementing these applications and bringing more playful nonsense into your digital lifestyle call, click, or find me in cafÊ somewhere. (650)-265-7985

Official Disclaimer: None of These Guys Send Me Checks

It’s noteworthy to understand that I do not receive compensation in any way from the applications I have selected for Cloud 9. If a better method or application becomes available, I will recommend it. Unlike every vendor and sales puke in disguise that passes themselves off as a tech consultant these days, I do not pay homage to a parent company, nor do I report back to a mother ship and I receive absolutely no commission for sales of any kind. I live off this jar and helping people integrate the gadgetry and strategies into their homes and businesses, so remember that as you leave your seats.

In Short Bare with me and you can have a free cupcake at the end.

What is Cloud 9? • Cloud 9 is a brief introduction to an arrangement of applications, a packaged assortment of tools and ideas revolving around strategies designed to keep your computing experience and digital lifestyle synchronized, mobile, and under your control, on the cheap if not for free. ď Š • These tools and strategies will help you strike a balance between the web and local life; creating a world of options and opportunity and helping you get one step closer to achieving a higher level of digital liquidity- a little electronic enlightenment.

Digital Kung-Fu


Consider Cloud 9 as a workshop, a mental and digital toolkit, a few free lessons Digital Consumer Kung Fu. The goal of cloud 9 is to establish a balance between dependence on information and applications stored locally on your computer and those hosted on the web.

Hybrid Mentality • Cloud 9 is focused around a concept of digital liquidity, a hybrid mentality of computing where information and applications are platform independent, stored locally on various devices (like your computer or your phone) and synchronized with various web applications. Think-Go Go Gadget Prius for your digital lifestyle.

Digital Liquidity Defined • What you would have heard about sooner If Bruce Lee, Vinton Cerf and the Dalai Lama were friends on myspace and Twitter Thoughts Must be allowed to flow freely as with freedoms of the body

OMG, Of Course Like flowing water.

Hrmm… very interesting…What about the digital?

Digital Liquidity: a Pursuit in Mindfulness •

Digital Liquidity is the concept of the formless form, the adaptable mindset and super-moves applied to your digital lifestyle. Digital Liquidity allows your data and information to flow freely between gadget and gizmo on any medium. What Bruce Lee brought to Martial Arts and the Dalai Lama brings to human knowledge, I now bring to the Tao of Tech.

We strive for Digital Liquidity as an extension of our freedoms to work and wander uninterrupted and independently of inhibiting forces like cost, program and provider restrictions.

We should pursue and encourage Digital Liquidity just as we do for enlightenment and freedom for all people near and far. It is a direct extension of our constitutional rights, their implications and our pursuit to improve ourselves.

These are the ways of the force Yoda blogged about, but were lost when he deleted his account, that is why he always looks so stressed.

On With The Show

Here are the applications that make up the Cloud 9 kit. If you are feeling tech savvy, feel free to find, download, install, explore and enjoy. Some of these are local apps others are web apps. They’re placed into groups based on how they interact. If you’d like more peace of mind read on. Thunderbird Gmail

DropBox Mozy Backup

Google Chrome Mozilla FireFox

uTorrent Google Calendar

Oo2Google add-on Google Docs Open Office

Grand Central

Peer Guardian Evernote Mojo Share

Digsby Adobe Air





• Coming Soon to a computing experience near you…


Platform Independence • For our purposes, Platform Independence means that an application or service has the ability to run on any platform; for the most part this means Mac/Win/Linux • It’s important that we consider this when choosing a product or service to maximize and preserve our options.

Let’s Talk Strateegery

• Pursuing a state of Platform Independence allows us to move away from crappy operating systems, software and archaic hardware. • Who wants to be locked into Windows Me, Vista, or the confines of a locked up iPhone or iTunes forever? • Preserving this freedom is of paramount importance to the success of Cloud 9, the concept of digital liquidity, and the U.S.A. • Without Platform Independence the terrorists and aliens win.

Part 1: Browse Right Google Chrome Mozilla FireFox

Let’s start with the right ride to take us where we need to go. There are many web browsers out there, but some seem to offer more than others. Let’s stay focused on the most open and platform independent browsers.

Firefox • Firefox is like a Swiss army knife and works as a great primary browser with lots of extensions and options. Caught in the world wild web, this is everyone’s favorite tool.

• FireFox is a browser that can be catered specifically to your needs, with the extensions of your choosing. The very look, feel, and functionality, can be changed and scaled as often and as simply as you change clothes.

Power to the Peeps! • Unlike the other guys that seem to be hell-bent on shackling your web experience and herding you like sheep, this browser was built for you and by you which makes it great. The open community that the folks at Mozilla created allows for a constant addition of extensions by nerdy developers who are hounded by the masses for more function and fashion.ď Š

FireFox: A Walk-In Closet Full of Shoes • You simply have more choices. Where the others made you where those old sneakers everyday, now you can kick it in heels or combat boots on the streets of the web.

Google Chrome Google Chrome is the new, smooth, and streamline approach to web browsing and makes for light browsing- like a spring drive in a turbo charged VW convertible.

Make the easy decision and use these two browsers.

Moving on‌

Chapter 2: Creating The Personal Cloud Yay!!! Mine! Mine! It’s All Mine! How do I drive this thing?

Creating the Personal Cloud in One Simple Step: Roadmap It seems complex but is as simple as breathing. We want information to travel in and out in a simple and sensible manner. These tools do precisely that with minimal effort.

The Digital You @ the Local Computer

Your Friends Stuff

You Caught All That Right?

No Worries. Shall We Break it Down a Bit?

Okay. Very Well.

Chapter 3: The Notebook


Evernote Evernote is a note program that can clip, source, organize and synchronize notes between multiple computers as well as its own Internet interface. If you can copy and paste and run a Google search you can run Evernote. It works on Macs, PCs, the iphone and iPod Touch. Evernote is a college students and professionals dream application and my personal storage bin for notes, articles, poems, interesting pictures and links galore.


You can create as many notebooks as you need to organize the information. This is great for classes, work, contact sheets, recipe books, wish-lists, or whatever else you could imagine placing on a notepad.


Evernote can even interact with your cell phone and you can upload pictures to your account. The program can recognize words in images for easy, searchable retrieval later. You can tag, date, and view a timeline of data flow, making Evernote one of the best tools in your arsenal.

What’s the Price of Premium? • The premium version of Evernote ($5/month or $45 a year) allows you to synchronize any file type you want using a stronger SSL encryption. This is a reasonable price, but why pay fees for the rest of your life?

Chapter 4: Make the Drop


Dropbox If you don’t want to pay for the ability to synchronize files of any type, Dropbox let’s you do that and then some for free. Dropbox allows you to have a synchronized folder from which your information can travel to your other computers or it can be shared on the web.

Dropbox can track changes and undelete deleted items.

It works on Mac/PC/Linux/iPhone/iPod Touch and can even be configured to publish photos on the web or upload albums to photobucket.

This is great for collaborating, working with photos, and synching mobile files with those at your main computer and dealing with the changes in between.

• So between DropBox and Evernote, your files are flowing around you and you are already starting to glow…

Chapter 5: A Message From the Robot Devil Sharing is caring- Let’s share some files!

uTorrent Peer Guardian

uTorrent and Peer Guardian When thinking of Torrents, think Napster on steroids. The torrent file sharing method allows you to download multiple files in a single click. That’s entire seasons of shows, discographies of artists, and collections of books; far more than a single song, movie or page in a book. uTorrent is a torrent client that allows you to grab everything on the shelf as opposed to a single item. This tool can be used for legal and illegal means, for good and for evil, and I leave the ethical and moral choice up to you. Peer Guardian works hand in hand with the torrent client, (in this case uTorrent) and it blocks unwanted intruders including , spyware, advertisements, and other peer to peer tracking agencies in a nice easy to use package.

Torrent File Sharing Quickie Peer Guardian Watches The Traffic And Blocks Unwanted Access, Prying Eyes, etc.

The Peer World- Whom you are exchanging data with uTorrent Opens The Torrent and begins downloading it from the rest of the world. The website you visit to find the torrent that will allow you to download the files you are looking for

The Local You @ Local Computer

Worried About Torrent Legalities? Yes, this is the precise method most people use to pirate, pillage and plunder from the movie, music and software industries, but the technology itself is perfectly legal. If sailing the infinite internet ocean under a Jolly Roger is not your thing, fear not! There are a lot of legal torrents to download as well. Many startups, film makers, programmers and musicians use torrent seeding as their distribution method to get the word out. There are films like Zeitgeist, Steal this film, episodes of Nova and plenty of other perfectly legitimate content to be found online. Here are some strictly legal torrent sites to help you sleep soundly.

Chapter 6: Accidents Happen, but Backups Make Them All Better

Mozy Backup

Backups are Important • You never know when your hard drive will crash or your dog will chew on it, or you sleep walk and stuff couch cushions in the oven and start a house fire or your step brother will delete all your pictures from the last ten vacations.

Backups are Important • Think of all those songs, movies, and photos you have stored away on that ginormous hard drive. • How easily could you replace them?

Mozy Mozy is an automatic online configurable backup service that works wonders. A free account will get you 2GB of space, but for $5 a month, you can get unlimited space for their home service. All the information is encrypted so that not even the folks at Mozy can read it. You can download individual files that were “accidentally” deleted or “misplaced” without a hassle. Personal Testimonial: I back up around 250gb of my 2.5 terabytes of storage on my home computer. Mozy takes it like a champ. I hope I never have to do a full restore of a backup, but if I ever do, this service is worth it’s heavy $50 fee.

Chapter 7: Hear No Evil

Mojo Share iTunes SongBird

Oh iTunes! How I Loathe Thee! • Let’s be real shall we. Everyone loves their iPod. They are great, but iTunes, seems to be more designed for putting as much money in Steve Jobs’ pocket as the 14 flavors of Windows Vista is for Microsoft. So although I’m a fan of the hardware, the software es no bueno. • I don’t believe that the device, media management software and store should be forced upon the user. iTunes limits choice and functionality and that’s not why we bought our iPods. I believe you should be able to do with your media what you do with CDs and DVDs buy content from whomever. So to fight this evil plot to extort people who already legitimately own their tunes, long live Mojo, Sharepod, TuneAID, and Songbird!

Mojo- Share iTunes songs with friends

Mojo works on Mac/Linux/Windows allows you to share your songs on iTunes with other Mojo users. Nuff said?

SongBird: Complete iTunes Replacement

Songbird is a media management program for Mac/Win/Linux like iTunes, that was created by the same folks who made FireFox.

Like FireFox, Songbird has a mob of extensions to add functionality and customize your media experience. There are add-ons that grab album art, hunt down lyrics, create mix tapes, it is a very versatile and promising program.

It can browse multiple stores like Amazon and others, allowing you to buy DRM-free (like fat-free) media that allows you to take your purchases where you wish.

It supports all models of iPod and most of the MP3 Players on the market.

Extended Footage • I didn’t plan on showing off these two applications and didn’t mention them in the beginning but because you did your due diligence to read this far hear are some more awesome iPod apps.

SharePod and TuneAID SharePod- you can access your iPod as a hard drive and copy and paste sharepod.exe to your ipod disk and from that point on, anyone can run sharepod from your iPod and copy your music.

For the Mac fans, TuneAID works just as well and for all the Linux users out there (both of them :P) Floola or YamiPod are the way to go.

Wait! I thought we were focused on the web here? Why are we talking music? • Enlightenment does not begin in a closed minded environment. Open mind, open source, open platform, and open solutions allow us to interact on an open environment.

• How can you become free if your digital experience is based in shackles and confines of restrictive money vacuums of software? • Media is now at the epicenter of the web and so the software that we use to manage our exchanges must be included and accounted for in this endeavor

Chapter 8: You’re On! Communicating With the Masses Scotch. Scotch. Scotch. I like Scotch.

Adobe Air Spaz Twitter


Twitter and Spaz Twitter is a social web application that allows you to speak to the masses 140 characters at a time. It is great for staying in touch with friends and family without writing individual emails. You post a “tweet” and your friends, fam, and strangers alike can “follow” you. You can comment or follow other tweets as well and Twitter is now featured on CNN and all of the major news channels. Spaz brings Twitter to the desktop. Spaz was created using Adobe Air which allows it to be used on Mac/Win/Linux.


Digsby is that all-in-one communication tool it can use all the instant messaging accounts, email, facebook, myspace and twitter all in one awesome interface.

How Cool is Digsby?

Digsby can take all of these and incorporate them all into one interface ď Š.

Chapter 9 CLOUD



My Google Disclaimer • When they stop leading the way in innovation, when they stop creating great applications, and when they start shackling the consumers the way Apple and Microsoft have, I will stop recommending Google’s applications and incorporating them into the Cloud 9 approach. Until then, they seem to get the job done amazingly efficiently.

Don’t Worry… • The strategy here is to work locally and on the web and synch them together.

Grand Central • •

No more walking in the spider webs leave a message and I’ll call you back. GrandCentral helps Gwen screen phone calls by providing a free middle man phone number and service, that allows you to use the web as a fully functional phone, equipped with visual voice mail, email alerts and contact grouping so that people that you know and love are automatically forwarded to your real phone.

No more walking in the spider webs!

One Number to Rule Them All • This is a great office or home phone alternative, or for any dad with an all too cute teenage mutant ninja daughter. •

The World is Calling When a call comes in to Grand Central, it can be sent directly to voicemail or forwarded to your home, work, personal or all your phones depending on the contact. It keeps you in control of communicating with the world.

So you want to create a professional buffer between your clients/boyfriend/girlfriend or the world at large from the instant gratification of blowing up your cell phone? With Grand Central, the right contacts get a hold of you and the rest can leave a message.

Gmail Email that is searchable, tag-able, and organized with labels. You can use Gmail with Thunderbird, iCal and Outlook as well.

Google Calendar Google Calendar is your one stop shop for an online calendar. The interface is simple and intuitive. You can create events and change views with simple clicks, drags and drops. You can share calendars and events, invite guests, and it also incorporates with Gmail to remind you of events. Google Calendar can be synched with Outlook, Thunderbird, and Lightning.

Google Docs Create documents, spreadsheets, web pages and presentations online ď Š

Thunderbird- Get Your Google On

Thunderbird • Thunderbird says to Outlook “Anything you can do I can do better and for free too.” • Extensions that allow you to synchronize Gmail and Google Calendar with the Provider extension • You can keep your email stored locally if you are afraid of the wrath of Google and still enjoy the experience.

Open Say Hello to the complete Microsoft Office replacement.

Sync Open Office With Google Docs With the Open Office 2 Gdocs add-in, you can synchronize your documents and files. The add in can be found here

Let’s Review Class

• So with a Google account and these services synched with Thunderbird and Open Office you should be in good shape right? Anyone? Anyone? Gmail Google Calendar Google Docs

Thunderbird Oo2Google add-on Open Office

Cloud Control Now you should be a little more comfortable with all this gobbledygoop so I’ll throw in a few extras The Digital You @ the Local Computer

Your Friends Stuff

Contact Me • If you’d like help with any of these tools or would like to talk tech, feel free to contact me, add me on MS or Facebook. • Nicholas McGill • • (650)-265-7985 (My GrandCentral Phone) • •

Oh Yeah. Here’s that free cupcake I mentioned at the beginning. Feel free to proceed with licking the icing.

Credits • Thanks to George Lucas, Google, and all the others for not suing me over the blatant and repeated copyright and trademark infringements ď Š

Cloud 9  
Cloud 9  

A few free lessons in digital kung fu. A brief introduction to computing strategies and free tools that will empower any person or business