Cloud Computing: Just Like the Cable Company

So chances are that most of us are well aware of those rather lame Microsoft commercials where going “TO THE CLOUD” is a means of averting some sort of crisis that is happening with family photos or the running of a small business. While those commercials can be used for an example of a way to utilize cloud computing, it doesn’t really do much to explain what it is. That’s okay, I’ll take care of that.

Essentially cloud computing refers to anything that isn’t directly dependant on one computer to be accessed. The most simple way to put it is: Cloud Computing=Web Applications. For example, Gmail and Delicious bookmarks are an example of cloud computing. Both of those things can be accessed from anywhere and from any type of device to include smartphones, tablets, different operating systems and so on. Think of the cloud as a term used to refer to the internet. If the internet is the cloud, cloud computing is is any type of action that simply requires access to the internet to complete.

I could probably go all day long with examples for this. I never really realized that I used cloud computing every day until I started doing a little bit of digging to find out just what it is. What I was planning on pursuing a degree in architectural engineering back when I first graduated high school, I was spending a lot of time playing around with CAD software and checking out the industry. The majority of companies that employ large numbers of people that will be using similar software will develop a system of cloud computing. In this system, each user will access a project or a program via a terminal which is essentially a keyboard, mouse and monitor plugged into the server. This creates an easier and more efficient way to complete large projects for several reasons. For one, setting up a cloud system with multiple terminals is much easier to do than setting up multiple standalone computers linked into a server.

Perhaps my favorite way to impliment cloud computing into my day to day life is through various web applications. I use linux most of the time and that has a tendancy to create a bit of a problem when I am sending files out to people that are probably running on a different platform and using Microsoft Word in some shape or form. After I write a document, I usually save it in a form that is compatible with GoogleDocs so that whoever I send it to will be able to open and read it without any trouble. I have also used this for a collaborative essay I wrote with a friend. We were both able to edit the document in real time through the GoogleDocs platform. I also use Piknik to edit most of my photos. Since Picasa is my photo hosting service of choice, I can simply upload photos to my account, and use Piknik to edit them straight from my browser. Things such as GoogleDocs and Piknik are what is known as a “personal cloud.” Essentially it is something that benefits one person or a very small group of people.

I’m actually very interested to see where the whole “cloud” concept will be going in the future. If things continue to grow the way that they have been, there will be almost no need for any type of physical software on personal computers. No more discs in cardboard boxes with monster instruction manuals. The need for direct to drive digital downloads will almost be eliminated with the exception of really large software such as games and a few other things. I am all for it to continue to grow. I have already been trying to set up my little computing world in a cloud environment. Rather than store everything on a flash drive (which there is a 100% chance I will lose) I have things stored on UbuntuOne and DropBox. My larger files such as home movies and my mixes are all stored on Mega Upload. All of my pictures are neatly organized into albums on a hosting site. My entire music library is linked in to the cloud and can be instantly streamed to my smartphone and laptop.


PC Magazine


Pays To Live Green

  1. i didnt know that i used c.c on a daliy basis also. is cloud computing another version of network computing?

  2. Hey Damen,

    That was interesting. I am particularly intrigued with the level of comfort you place in the cloud in maintaining your personal files in a stable and secure fashion. That is where I have the least comfort and the greatest hesitancy. I am all about my flash drive. And you can laugh at me (b/c this is laughable) but I know where my flash drive is at all times.

    See here’s my take. I’m all for cloud computing for things like OS, apps, games, etc. But my files, I’d rather have to take the time to maintain them on a flash and then back them up on an external hard drive that I use as my backup/restore. What are your thoughts on that approach – pros/cons. Swing hard I can take it!

  3. interesting how much i use something i never knew the name for…but thats about every week i come to class…already been doing it just didnt realize the terminology involved

  4. I really like how you broke everything down and made it easy to understand. The CLOUD in itself is so complex when we engage in conversation. I like how you talked about the future of the cloud computing. So you think the cloud will continue to evolve? What we can do to help it grow from our standpoint?

    • rezachandra
    • March 16th, 2011

    the weaknesses, we need a stable internet connection in order to implement cloud computing

  5. @rezachandra You’re exactly right. The way things are going, however, I really don’t see how there will ever been a lack of a stable internet connection that we will have access to. The vast majority of us have internet in our own residences at home. Even if we don’t have that, we have internet access at our schools, our jobs, public libraries, and nearly all cafes and restaurants.

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