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The many ways of IT

By Jean-Claude Elias - May 19,2016 - Last updated at May 19,2016

Send it as e-mail attachment? Upload it so as to share it then on Dropbox? Just transfer it via a cable from one device to the other? Use Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G? Save it on a tiny USB flash drive? Send it over WhatsApp to a group? Scan it? Take a screenshot of it or a snapshot with your smartphone? Access it through Remote Desktop Control? Post it on Facebook or Instagram for the world to see? “Cloud” it or keep it on your local hard disk?

It’s becoming too much of a good thing. There are so many ways to perform most actions with digital files nowadays, be it text documents, photos, videos, written messages or voice messages. The formats and the channels are countless and the possibilities overwhelming.

Whereas the end result will be the same in most cases, there are times when you would spend just too much time on an action that otherwise can be performed in a second if you opt for the simple, obvious method. The only advantage of the hyper-sophisticated ways is to make you appear as a very knowledgeable, up to date high-tech person. Overdoing it, however, is not the best approach. I often remember my friend Alain’s recommendation to go by the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle.

Data backup alone can be the subject of many a choice. A company in Amman was recently considering doing the daily backup of its data in the cloud. After all it is the trend, isn’t it? Upon careful study of their actual needs and given the total size of the files, they found that to upload one day of work to the cloud would take two days, even if using the fastest Internet connection available in the country! They quickly gave up on the idea and went back to using local hard disks for the security copying.

Perhaps sending to a friend a photo you just took with your phone is the action that comes with the widest choice of means. If immediacy matters WhatsApp is a great way but it reduces the quality and the size of the photo. If the last two aspects matter more, then going for e-mail attachment may be the way to go. But if the picture is really large, exceeding for example 6 megabytes, which is not uncommon with high-end phones, then posting it on a cloud shared folder within Dropbox or Google Drive would be a better solution. From there all those to whom you give access to the folder where you put the picture can download it at their convenience.

Acknowledging the need to send, receive and exchange photos in as many ways as possible, manufacturers of pro cameras like Nikon are now integrating Wi-Fi connectivity in some of their new DSLR models. In addition to the USB cabled connection already available and the fact that you can simply remove the memory card on which photos are stored from the camera to insert it into a laptop’s card reader (my preferred, fastest method), Wi-Fi extends the photo sending range of possibilities. Is it really too much? It remains a matter of opinion.

With music stored on a computer and a simple wireless home router, playing back music too can be done in so many ways. You can use a smartphone as a remote controller with an app like J River’s Gizmo for example, to play the music directly from the laptop. Or you can choose to stream it via the Wi-Fi router to your smartphone and play it from there. Or you can ask the laptop to stream it to your smartphone, but decide that the sound will actually come out from the Bluetooth speaker on the bookshelf or in the kitchen… DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) allow you to perform all these tricks. Most devices, including TV sets of course, now come fitted with DLNA.

 

Life used to be simple. Don’t you sometime feel like just turning on your local FM radio and listening to whatever they are broadcasting? And yes, this excludes the million Internet radio stations out there.

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