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Gotta Have It

The continuing problems with Skype — as of early this morning, the reports had the system only about 30% functional — are undoubtedly inconveniencing people, some more than others. Way more. That’s because some people rely on Skype for all of their calls, while others, like me, often forget to even bother to launch the program at all. One person’s tech catastrophe is another’s so-what.

And that raises this topic: What one tech or Net item can’t you live, or do business, without these days, other than the Net in general? Is there a program that you rely upon to such an extent that you can’t imagine functioning without it? I’m not just thinking about, say, losing your cell phone — that would cause a lot of people serious problems. No, I’m thinking more in terms of a program or app that you rely upon, that has all the information you use on a daily basis, that has all your short cuts and macros that make things easier. Some people think that way of Delicious, which is why there was some anguish when the story broke this week that it was on the endangered list. Some people put their entire lives in Outlook, while others do that with Google Docs and Calendar.

Tell us in the comments: What’s your tech can’t-live-without-it thing?

(Can you tell my background’s in talk radio?)

(And, no, we’re not talking “water” or “oxygen” or “food.”  Tech, people.  Think tech.  Or culture, if that’s your thing.  I know you can’t live without oxygen.  Geez.)

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6 comments

  • Skype being down is a serious issue for me. I had 3 meetings yesterday (a layout and design meeting, a staff meeting and a training session) that were all to be done via Skype. At the last minute, I had to use my creative problem solving skills to make each of those possible. I have multiple jobs and each of them are “remote”. My staff all work remotely as well. Skype is a our hub; it is where we train, have staff meetings, hand of our shows to each other and so much more.

    If Twitter were to go away, that would be terrible as well. It is quick and easy communication tool between my staff and myself in case of an emergency or something hinky is going on.

    I may be a little lost if Thunderbird were to suddenly cease to exist. I always keep a spreadsheet and paper back-up of my schedule, e-mail addresses, etc., so it would largely boil down to being a royal pain in the ass while I input all the info into a new mail client. Plus, I email all important docs, spreadsheets, bookmarks (would be terrible of those were lost as well) etc., to my gmail (which is my junk address) as another back-up measure.

    If my external harddrive were to die (not really a program or an app, I know), I’d be screwed. All of my back-ups are there (for all my websites, databases, install files for all my programs, my music library, docs, spreadsheets, etc.) If my computer were to die, it wouldn’t be a big deal as every thing is on my external. External dying would cause me to turn into a puddle of frustration induced tears.

    That is pretty much it.

  • When Twitter goes down I say meh. When Facebook goes down I say double meh. If Gmail went down I guess I’d be frustrated for a minute, but then I’d realize I had an excuse for once not to reply to my email. If Google Reader went down I’d get bored and probably have to find something useful to do, but it wouldn’t be a huge deal. If Netflix and Hulu both went down my viewing choices would be limited, since I don’t have cable TV, but I’d find something else to watch even if it meant I had to stand up to put in a DVD. There are a number of websites that I’m responsible for, but unless I can’t get to them for days on end it’s probably not a big deal, and any design stuff I’m doing is on my hard drive.

    When the entire internet has been down for me in the past, despite how much time I usually spend on my computer in a day… I can’t say it’s really bothered me.

    Except that I couldn’t access Wikipedia or IMDB or find more information about something in general. I believe that my answer to the question above is Google Search.

  • It would be hard to define one single app that would seriously interrupt my life. When Twitter goes down or even occasionally when Gmail is down, I realize how much I’ve been relying on it. But it’s never been down for so long to make a serious impact.

    When Amazon was selling that pedophilia book for a few days, I boycotted (though debated this in my mind), which meant I also boycotted IMDB, Zappos and 6pm. That was really strange for me b/c I often use Amazon to read reviews or price-check even if I don’t buy. I also didn’t realize how much I used IMDB.

    If a group of hackers were ever able to do serious damage to Google as a company, that would probably impact me. Search, email, docs, maps, news – I use Google a lot. So if Google as a whole was somehow brought down, that might seriously interrupt my life.