Some people like to upgrade their computers every couple of years. I’m not one of them. I tend to use mine until they die. Mine was truly on its last legs when I decided it needed to be replaced. So I did.

But that’s when the problems started.

I purchased a new brand name laptop computer from Costco. Good-sized screen, lots of memory, fast processor. Nice.

I took it home and started configuring it. Things were going well, but within hours I started receiving what is called the “blue screen of death,” or BSOD.

We all have tales of woe working with different support organizations. Suffice it to say that this instance was well in line with common unfortunate experiences.

As I write this, I have been without my primary computer for over a week, and by the time it appears in print, I should be receiving and configuring the replacement to my new computer.

But the point of all of this is how to deal without one’s primary computer.

Luckily, with mobile phones and mail that can be accessed through a web browser, it’s less convenient than having your own computer, but eminently doable.

As more and more files and applications are stored in and delivered from the cloud, the need to have a hard drive with your data on it is less important.

A combination of smartphones, tablets and other household computers has allowed me to nominally keep up on my personal and work activities.

I’ve never been a fan of typing long emails on a smartphone or tablet. I prefer a full-sized keyboard when writing professional correspondence.

What this experience has shown me is that I do want more of my work in the cloud. Because I do keep a lot of things on my local hard drive, when I don’t have immediate access to it, that’s difficult for me.

If all of my data and applications were in the cloud, the importance of any single device would be much less. I like that.

Security concerns do keep me from wanting to have ALL of my information in the cloud. I don’t yet know what it will take me to get over that concern. Some combination of security assurances, convenience and cost.

In the meantime, as I am working without my laptop computer, it is giving me an opportunity to review how and where I keep my data.

As I start to configure my new computer, I’m sure I’ll move some items away from my local hard drive and into the cloud, but I don’t yet know which ones. I look forward to evaluating the choices that will hopefully make my life easier.

Mark Mathias, a 30-plus-year veteran of information technology and a resident of Westport, was named by Computer World magazine to its list of Premier 100 IT Leaders. Contact him through his blog at