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Year of the cloud

Cloud computing has been a common, but somewhat subdued, topic on technology sites. The cloud metaphor is appealing, though what it exactly means is still somewhat unsettled. In a technological sense, cloud computing refers to a service-view of computing, where technical details are largely hidden from end users. Which means, it is driven by financial considerations, as companies can extend their infrastructure without heavy investments in personnel or technology.
I’m more interested in the impact of cloud computing. How will my communication and information processing habits change when I don’t need to confine myself to a particular computer? What types of software do I need when I don’t want to be tied to a particular laptop? So, I’ve decided to embrace the cloud. On my University of Manitoba blog, I’ll be posting my experience to move to device neutral computing…where I have access to what I need as long as I have an internet connection. First post – Year of the Cloud: “My goal: to be device neutral by the end of 2009. Any data accessible in any device from anywhere.”


  1. Tim Topper wrote:

    It’s not too hard to go device neutral for access to information: if it’s web accessible you can access it on many devices. Content capture and creation is another matter. It’s harder to replace cameras, large screens, customized text editors, programming environments and editing suites.

    Friday, January 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
  2. Benjamin wrote:

    I like the concept of cloud computing but what’s the criteria or rationale for “going 100% neutral”? My concern is that after investing time uploading documents, some other service will come along and I’ll want to change all my documents over to a newer, better service. And then there’s the issue of sharing documents. For example, for Google apps, I had to get a Google account and then ask others to get an account in order to share documents, presentations, etc. By itself, not a really big deal but if another service comes along that’s better, then all this changes. I understand changing technology is part of life, but with cloud computing it seems that more effort now will go into shifting work if one chooses to change providers.
    There’s also the issue of data security/loss/access. As for loss, I guess backups could be done but that’s just added work. As far as access, this would totally depend on the quality of the connection. But for me, there’s still something about leaving 100% of my work online (let’s say after a period of two or three years) that makes me feel a little ill at ease – I’m backing up well over 10,000 working files at a time. Granted, I could clean up a lot of those files, but they are an accumulation of years of work that just seem safer residing on my computer.
    Perhaps teachers who work in an office with a computer, then go to a lab or some other room with a computer for a class might see some benefit, but it seems that if a teacher is using a computer this much, they probably are also using or editing audio, video, and pictures and probably receiving, editing, and returning documents to students. The latter can be facilitated by sharing documents but then students all must sign up to the app. (as mentioned above). I’m still not seeing a scenario that justifies going 100% online, but I am curious.

    Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 1:32 am | Permalink
  3. I have more or less completed my move to the cloud except for two applications: 1) PowerPoint – the online presentation systems do not seem to be as powerful, 2)Freemind – cheap (free) mindmapping software – is there anything similar online.

    Monday, January 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Permalink
  4. Anna wrote:

    Although the transition may not be a fast or simple one for many people, more and more information is being entrusted to the cloud. And besides the daunting (or in some cases, not worthwhile) task of transferring thousands of documents to that big server in the sky, there’s also the concern: Is the cloud safe?

    This is a debate we’ve been engaged in at in recent months.

    According to Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s chief software architect, data you entrust to cloud storage is safe and your own. In other words, though enormous companies like Google and Microsoft may provide the storage, they promise that none of the data is used by anyone.

    But what the other sense of “safety”–the confidence that nothing will happen to your data? Personal computers can break, external hard drives can be lost, but at least the security of hard drive information is in our hands. Let’s say ten years down the road practically no one is keeping their data on their hard drives. What if something were to happen to the cloud data centers? Isn’t cloud computing actually giving a world of power to just a few big companies?

    Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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