As I am always looking at new ways to tweak, break, and consequentiality fix this website, I shall be unleashing the latest round of modifications to this site over the next few days or so, I'm hoping to move the site away from being a blog with a site attached to it to more of a site with a blog if you get my meaning.

Aside from that, I am continuing to refine my online presence and hopefully get to a point where I have one service that I use with appropriate content aggregated where required so as to keep in tune with friends on Facebook etc. In general, my move to the cloud is progressing well, with my email server now being a hosted exchange service which suits me exceedingly well. Outside of this, I make good use of the Windows Live Essentials suite for things like document sync and remote access courtesy of Windows Live Mesh and SkyDrive, Windows Live Messenger for chatting with people whether they are on Facebook chat or WLM thanks to the level of integration. The other great tool within this mix is Windows Live Writer which I am currently using to write this blog post.

At present, my utilisation of cloud based services has generally being through a desktop client, for example my email aggregates through Outlook, courtesy of Microsoft Exchange. There are a couple of reasons I chose this approach, partly due to the offline caching it provides and cross device integration it provides between my laptop, PC and phone but also that for one reason or another, there were faults or annoyances in other services such as Gmail and Hotmail that were enough of an issue to sway me otherwise.

On the Hotmail side of things, the single issue that is preventing me from fully switching is the incompatibility of their ActiveSync implementation with Android that prevents me from syncing my contacts, emails and calendar with my phone, making it impractical for the way in which I intend to use it.

On the flip side of this however, the reason I decided against going for the Google option was due to the requirement of a continual internet connection on the desktop. Although I usually have an internet connection on whichever device I am using, the requirement of this, and the requirement of a separate tool running in the background in order for contact and calendar entries to sync irritated me sufficiently to go to a hosted exchange option.

Whilst this does cost approximately £3 a month, for the benefit it gives me, I feel this is a price worth paying to get what I require. I will continue to look at all the available options, for example I will try Office365 when it becomes available to see if that provides everything I need and so on.

This was originally posted to a previous version of in December 2010