Bring in the Clouds

Apple’s iOS 5 opens up a whole new world of collaboration with iCloud and wireless updates. This means we can easily access information from just about any of our systems no matter where we are. Just keeping contacts, calendars and bookmarks in sync with my desktop makes my life a lot easier, but now I can have photos, documents and media stored in my iCloud account so its within easy reach at any time.

Apple’s not alone. Amazon announced yesterday their Personal Document Service for Kindle users. If you own a Kindle reader, you can now add your own documents to your Kindle library so they are available to you any place and any time. All you do is send your file to your Send-to-Kindle address and then it’s there waiting for you whenever you need it. The service supports Word (.doc and .docx), rich text (.rft), PDF and HTML files along with most image formats. While you can’t edit them on your Kindle, you can annotate them (except for PDFs) just as if they were any “regular” Kindle book. And, you can set up others as approved contacts to send you documents too.

Right now this service is only available to Kindle devices, but consider that the Kindle Touch 3G only costs $150 and there’s no cost for the wireless delivery service. It’s small enough to fit into a cargo pocket or normal-sized bag, the battery life is amazing and the eInk screen is easily read in bright sunlight. Now you can have your research notes with you regardless of whether you’re in the library or the cemetery. And, with image files included, that includes things like maps too.

Kindle’s new Fire tablet sells for $200 and also includes Amazon’s Whispersync wireless delivery service for book and document delivery. It’s color screen isn’t as “field friendly” as the eInk screen, but it has all the apps, movies and music you won’t get on the other readers. And it’s smaller size makes it easier to manage while still giving you plenty of screen space.

Looks like there are some very affordable Christmas gift options for genea-addicts this year.

One last cloud update . . . Box.net is offering iOS users 50GB of free storage to new users. All you do is install the Box app and sign up for a free account. This offer expires December 2nd, but you’ll have that 50GB of storage as long as you maintain your account.

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