Cloud computing with Windows 7
This post is sponsored by Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Live which let you do all sorts of cool things with the cloud.

I am a busy mom. If you are a mom, you’re likely one too. (Is there even such a thing as a not busy mom? I tend to doubt it.)

So of course I’m always looking for ways to streamline pretty much everything in my life, from media to organization of our family info. And I realize there’s so much I take for granted that we can do these days thanks to the cloud.

Basically everyone I know uses the cloud without even knowing it–it just means that instead of storing data on your hard drive, you use the services of a website, something we’re all increasingly cool with these days thanks to password protection and privacy settings.

Here are five essential cloud-enabled things that I don’t know how I ever lived without.

1. Email management: Remember the days before we could check email by phone? The horror! Thanks to the cloud, if you’ve got an internet-based account like Gmail or Yahoo Mail, you’re not tied to your home PC waiting for an important email when you’d rather be at the playground.

2. Online Calendars: If you’ve got the online email account, you’ve got a calendar system that comes withit that can also be synced with mobile gadgets. I also love the separate calendar sites like Cozi.com, or if you’re a Mac user, Mobile Me which keeps contacts, email and the kids’ insane calendars in sync. It’s especially great if your children’s school has their own calendars online which you can sync with your own.

3. Sharing Photos:
Remember the days that sharing photos meant ordering prints online and having them sent to grandma? I don’t miss that either. It’s so great using sites like Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, Snapfish and Flickr that store and share photos using the cloud.

4. Social Networking:  Sometimes it’s social, and sometimes it’s business, but it’s hard to even imagine how we lived without the services of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook ten years ago. Between work and family, I don’t always have time to get to conferences or big events. It’s amazing how easy those sites make it to connect with like-minded people and see what they’re up to. Let alone remembering everyone’s birthdays on Facebook.

Besides, without the cloud, we wouldn’t have such a dandy Cool Mom Picks Facebook Fan Page which enables us to get to know all of you so much better.

5. Blogging. Need I say more? –Beth

To learn more about the power of the cloud and what it can do (and is probably already doing) for you, visit Microsoft



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