Friday, March 14, 2008

Data Aggregation

One thing that makes my life a lot easier is data aggregation. Data aggregation works like this. I can find everything I am interested in, in one place.
RSS and ATOM feeds make a lot of this possible. By simply logging in to Google, using their feed reader, I can get updates about all sorts of information, in one easy place. I get updates up to the minute of all sorts, Dilber, XKCD and Tom Tomorrow comics, local news, the happenings in open source, blogs from various friends and family, and more.
Google has other nice services that allow me to group other data all under the Google umbrella. My Google Calendar has all my calendar information I need. GrandCentral, which is owned by Google, has all of my contacts with their phone number and physical address. I am hoping that they will eventually merge it with GMail so my contacts in there, with the e-mail addresses, are in one place. Then I have all of my important documentation in my Google docs.
This sort of aggregation is extremely convenient, especially since these are all online services. No matter if I'm at home, at work, at school, at a friend's house, as long as I have an Internet connection, all of my data is sitting very cozilly in that one place waiting for me to access it. One day, when I have enough money to have a smart phone with an internet connection, all of that data will go with my practically everywhere.
The other great thing about these services is that you don't have to be tech savy to use them. There is a little bit of a learning curve, but anyone who is familiar with using comptuers should be able to pick any of these up with no problem.A final thing I would like integrated in Google Docs is a finance program like Quicken or Microsoft Money. I use GNUCash at home, but would prefer to not have to be at home to update or view my books. The biggest problem with this is security.