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home : columns : rick frederickson June 24, 2016

10/30/2013 9:10:00 AM
Warming up to the 'cloud'

Rick Frederickson
Computer Technician

I was one of those who was suspicious of the 'cloud.' I didn't trust my pictures, documents and other information with unknown computer servers in unknown data centers in unknown cities. But I am warming to the idea.
First, what is the 'cloud' or 'cloud computing?' According to Wikipedia, the cloud is an expression used to describe a variety of real-time network such as the Internet. It has the ability to run a program on many connected computers at the same time. What this means to you and I is the ability to use a 'cloud' program such as Google Drive or Microsoft Sky Drive without installing something special on our computers.
These programs offer a number of services such as storage and backup for your pictures and documents, as well as calendars, word processors, spreadsheets and e-mail to name a few. What makes this really powerful is you can then share all these things between computers and users.
For example, let's say I have a club called the Kitten Lovers of Windom. We have 12 members who all have computers and the Internet. But some of us have Windows XP, Some Have Windows 8 and some have Apple computers.
It doesn't matter with the cloud.
With Google Drive, I can create an account where all members have access. With it we have a common calendar where we can post our meetings and special events. We have a word processor, similar to Microsoft Word, that we can write our minutes with. We have a spreadsheet, similar to Microsoft Excel, where we can keep track of our finances and dues. We also have an e-mail address where we can send and receive notices and communications between members. Lastly, we have a place to store our pictures that we've taken of our club activities. And all members have full access.
Very nice! And there are many more cloud computing services available that I haven't mentioned.
Yes, I'm warming up to the 'cloud.' But I still won't store my private information on it.

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