An Office Without Windows

My windows laptop crashed again this week (this should answer questions for those of you who have written me asking if I have fallen off the face of the earth, I guess I have).

This is the fourth time in the past year that I have had to completely reinstall the operating system. Because I backup faithfully (see my post on backing up your stuff) this is more an exercise in screaming, pouting and stomping around than true heartache. It is also an enormous time-waster of mega proportions. All because Microsoft can’t build something that is stable enough to last more than a few months (in case you are wondering, I run the 64-bit version of Windows which seems to crash more than others).

I have finally reached my breaking point; I have finally reached the end of my rope and I am not one to tie a knot and hang on when I get there. Because of this huge failure, I am opting to try something that has been discussed in this office for years but never implemented………..I am leaving Microsoft behind. I am letting my fear go and I am embracing the cloud.

What does that mean? Well, until Google launches and releases Chrome, their new operating system (PLEASE GOOGLE, CHOOSE ME TO GET A TEST MACHINE, I PROMISE I WILL TREAT IT GOOD) I am forced to live in the world of windows for a period of time, but I will never again be threatened by the looming spectre of a computer ghost that will cause all kinds of mischief and torment.

It means that I have done the following things to ensure that it never again matters what computer I am on.

I moved my email (and possibly the rest of the company) to a Gmail based system which enables me to log into my email wherever and whenever I want from any machine…. Goodbye, Outlook. With the tagging system and search capabilities of Gmail, I am finding that I don’t miss Outlook all that much and it integrates nicely with Google Calendar, so that is a bonus.

I have joined the Google Docs revolution years after I should have. Using Google Docs is enabling me to work on documents from whatever machine I am on and share them with clients and colleagues easily and simply. For those times when I really need to work on something on my desktop rather than in an internet browser, I have downloaded OpenOffice, the free alternative to Microsoft Office and I have to tell you because it is free and does not require a 10,000 alphanumeric key every time I have to reinstall it, this relationship is going to work out pretty well.

Many of you will tell me that this is something that I should have done years ago but up until the last crash and burn, I was Microsoft’s biggest supporter. I was the one that was always talking about compatibility and the fact that Bill Gates unified computing and made sure that all computers in the world could talk to each other and I guess that these things were true………..10 years ago.

I no longer need an office with windows, and in fact, I don’t need that stuffy old office at all. I can work from the ends of the earth now without a care to what machine I am on or where I am at. The only thing that I need is an internet connection which quite frankly is getting to be everywhere anyway so what do I care.

Meeting and event planners have choices now in the software and services that they use and there are plenty of things out there that can make your life easier and more secure. Yes, you will have to have the event machine that has the latest version of PowerPoint for use at events (we actually will have two because we always have a back-up) but those machines can sit around gathering dust in between uses because my machine will now be whatever machine I happen to be sitting at!

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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