The words “THE CLOUD” has suddenly sprouted up like a weed all over the Internet and computing and is apparently THE NEXT BEST THING EVAH!!!!
So, what is “the cloud”?
The concept of the cloud came about when the Internet took off. Every website you visit is hosted on a computer somewhere in the world. You don’t care where, as long as it appears when you type WWW.ESPN.COM in the address bar.
In fact, so that your YouTube videos appear as soon as possible, they are sitting on several computers all over the world, and when you click PLAY, the closest server starts sending you the file. If one computer is struck by lighting, the others can take up the load.
Likewise, saving your music (iTunes) or movies (UltraViolet) or pictures (Flickr, Tumblr, anything you can take the “e” out of) “in the cloud” means they reside on a computer somewhere “out there” and are accessible from home, the hotel, your mother-in-law’s kitchen.
So why not take that concept — the “store it somewhere else” — and apply that to your text documents, accounting programs, heck, even banking software?
That’s all the cloud is, another computer (or computers — remember to backup!) hosting your information, ready to download to your computer when you want it. As long as the connection is working. If it isn’t, you have a very expensive brick.
So beware the snazzy catch phrases — SmartCloud (can computers ever be called smart?), Cloud Computing (isn’t that what a computer is supposed to do, compute??), Cloud-tastic! (no, just…no.). All that means is that your data/programs/pictures of your cat is out there on a computer somewhere, and basically out of your control.
For the travelers, it’s great. For everyone else, it’s another complication in an already complex process.