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An Everyday Story of a Family, its Clunky Old Computer, and Cloud Based Services

My wife’s PC has nearly ended it’s useful life. It was bought for our oldest son at the age of 10. He is now about to start his second year at university and is already on his second laptop.

During the intervening ten or so years the PC has been flattened and rebuilt a couple of times. For a few years it was the “family” computer and thus had every kind of game added and removed and goodness knows what other software.

Now it is clunky, takes ages to boot up and a source of frustration for the love of my life. To make things worse last weekend my daughter did something to it and now Microsoft Office does not work. The original CD was lost some time ago. Doesn’t sound good.

Last night I went all cloud based services on the dodgy old thing.

I set Mrs Davies up with a

Google account including gmail, calendar and Google+. She can now access her emails from any broswer, see my diary (a constant source of anoyance to her over the years is that my electronic diary does not replicate to her calendar on the wall) and see all the family photos backed up to Google+.

She might even be induced to join Facebook now that her brood is gradually fleeing the nest. This will be one of the primary ways of keeping in touch with the kids. One by one her pals are getting in on the social media game, probably for the same reason.

I did download Open Office for her so that she had a short term way of reading docs sent to her via email (in the intervening time) but she has no need for complicated software packages such as perhaps Photoshop that might still need a PC to run.

She is only a small step away from not needing a PC. In fact all that is holding her back is the cost of the tablet that she will want as a replacement.

It is only a matter of time…

PS I know that some of you will snort at this saying your family is an Apple household and have been sharing calendars etc for some time. You must remember that you are still very much a minority.

PPS it seems ever clearer that the next year or two are going to be very critical for Microsoft which, XBox apart, risks being of hugely reduced relevance to the Davies household.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

7 replies on “An Everyday Story of a Family, its Clunky Old Computer, and Cloud Based Services”

Buy her an Advent Vega tablet for £200 and update it with a VegaComb ROM. Sorted. Avoid the Apple Tax

Apple’s calendaring and the like via MobileMe is a total shambles, not a patch on Android’s GMail / Calendar integration.

I had a similar experience with my other half where for some reason our version of MS Office expired. I installed a trial but this also expired after the 60 day trial.

My only way of editing was to send the document to my Gmail account and I was able to edit the document online, Pretty cool if you ask me as it does prevent the need of having applications installed since licensing can prove to be expensive.

That said, you still need to have a PC with decent processing power for it to function correctly.

You’d think that a combination of electronic picture-frame technology (and pricing) with a small embedded computer and a wireless modem would mean that the wall calendar/diary sync issue will soon be overcome. I know O2 did a fridge door thingy but it doesn’t seem to have taken off. Room for some entrepreneurial types here, I would have thought….

PhilT: You don’t need to use MobileMe/iCloud or whatever it’s called today. You can sync your iCal calendars via Google calendar, although I don’t believe you can sync the Apple address book.

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