The Digital Ecosystem

For many years my computing universe orbited around my Windows PC. For instance, the first time I searched Google, updated my status on Facebook or replied to an email I was using a PC.

But that’s not the case for many kids today where their first interaction with a computer is an iPod Touch, tablet or smartphone. Their computing universe resides on a small touch screen, and is dominated by apps. My world recently clashed with that of my 11-year old daughter when I asked for her email address and she replied that nobody emails anymore.

Of course people still email, but they are just as likely to use a tablet or smartphone as a PC today.

I’ve been thinking about how my PC fits into this new world full of devices of all shapes and sizes. Certainly I don’t rely on my PC as the only device to access the internet anymore, but it’s without a doubt the primary device I turn to when I need to create something that’s not going on Twitter or Facebook.  But I also enjoy working on my tablet and my smartphone is with me all the time, filling in as my portable PC when I’m out and about.

A number of products and services have made it easy to jump between any of our devices, and I’d like to share a few of my favorites. 

Dropbox – I have already written about my fondness for Dropbox. In short, it syncs files among multiple devices making it easy to access any document anytime and anywhere. It’s the first product I download to a new PC, tablet or smartphone.

Google Docs – There are other Microsoft Office alternatives out there, but this is the one that’s integrated with GMail and my Calendar. The sharing features alone are enough to keep me from looking elsewhere.

Air Video – Is a client server app that allows every phone, tablet and iPod in our home to access video that’s stored on my Windows 8 PC. Totally simple to configure too. Just point it at the directory of videos you wan to share and you’re done.

Spotify – It’s hard to imagine music before Spotify. For $10/month Spotify gives you access to a huge library of over 20 million songs from all major music labels. After using Spotify for a week, the idea of managing a local music collection sounds laborious.

Instapaper – Ever browse across an article you want to read, but don’t have time? Instapaper will save the article so you can read it later on the web, iOS device or Amazon Kindle. You’ll always have something to read, when and where you want. It even optimizes the text and format based on the device you’re using.

At Puget Systems, we understand that the PCs that we provide are increasingly part of a greater digital ecosystem in the home and office.  We are working to understand how we can provide a product that better integrates and enhances your experiences with your other devices. 

What programs or services or apps have you found that increase the integration among all these devices?