Walking on The Cloud
What is a cloud? A cloud is a visible mass of condensed water vapour floating in the atmosphere. Clouds are beautifully simple yet complex. Realistically I can’t imagine anyone reading an entire blog entry on clouds so I won’t be talking about these spirits in the sky. If you do want to read more about clouds feel free to follow the link and learn away; I swear I’m not judging /s.
Instead I will be talking about “The Cloud.”
The cloud in terms of computing goes way back into the early stages of network design. This term was used because clouds are opaque; you can’t see what’s going on inside them. There is no set path of how anything travels through a cloud, they’re soft and fluid structures. How could anyone come up with a concrete understanding of these beautiful puffs? The same goes for the Internet; how does my information move around? Well most people don’t know, they just know that the information they are looking for arrives at the desired destination.
The cloud symbolizes an unknown network. Operations take place somewhere mysterious and far away from the comfort of your well defined computer. Just like a cloud is somewhere far away from the comfort of the ground way up in the sky.
Cloud Based Servers
With cloud in the name it’s hard to forget that this is a cloud-based server. iCloud offers an initial free 5GB of cloud storage and anymore required storage can be bought. This server is unfortunately only available to Apple users, but works great for Apple users — as an apple user I would find life unbearable without it at this point. Data is synced between apple devices wirelessly and automatically — as long as you allow this in your settings of course.
Considered one of the more user-friendly servers, Dropbox allows you to sync files and share automatically. Once changing devices, all your saved information can be accessed via a simple desktop application. This cloud server is not exclusive to any brand user.
This is a personal cloud-based storage server provided through and by Google. Users can store and sync digital information across almost any digital device with Internet connection. Advanced search options allow for easy navigation through all your saved and shared files. With a nifty addition to the server, Google Docs allows you to collaborate on shared sheets with others who you gave file access to. As a university student I will give it to Google, this is probably the most useful tool a student can have. It’s so easy to work on a document within a student group without having to leave the house and change out of my pyjamas.
Can you imagine the world before The Cloud anymore? I only recently became accustomed to this about a year ago — young but not technologically advanced, and I have no idea how I functioned as a modern university student before this. Think of the alternatives we had before, and for some currently, compared to The Cloud.
There was once a time where if we needed a document to be edited we would write up the report, print it out, take it in for editing, rewrite the report, print it out for good, find out you did question 2 wrong and had multiple spelling errors on page 13 through 14, rewrite the report, and finally print the document for submission. Now we can send the document through The Cloud to our editors, have them make electronic corrections and we can reopen the document and edit without printing the document about thirty two and a half times.
However not all our alternatives were so Stone Age before. There was a time where documents would be transferred amongst people and devices via a USB. Of course this isn’t entirely different from The Cloud /s, but it was definitely an inconvenience. The concept was fairly similar, sync documents to a storage unit to allow for transport, but this also posed a lot of problems that a lot of people don’t face anymore with The Cloud. Aside from the possibilities of losing or damaging the USB, there was always the fear of forgetting to save an updated document to the USB and showing up at the school library with pretty much s$@t all and being screwed for the assignment due at fourth period (excuse me if this sounds very high school, this is where a majority of my digital crises occurred)
The cloud is quickly taking over the digital side of the world and as soon as we demolish the digital divide — as discussed in one of my previous blog posts, it will take over the world! We will no longer have bookshelves filled with ancient novels, or receive penalty on an assignment because we ran out of paper for our printers. Everything will be accessed from The Cloud and the world will become a cleaner place with less paper being tossed around.