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Your Head in the Clouds: First Flight Into Cloud Computing
Buckle up, we're headed into the cloud! Cloud services, to be precise. It's the future of data backup and recovery, and we want you along for the ride.
Your desktop is no longer the center of the computing universe. Many tasks you used to perform in house are now being outsourced to more powerful computers elsewhere.
That YouTube video you just watched? Never once saved to your PC. Those honeymoon pictures you cherish on Facebook? Currently being stored somewhere far away. Even the personal email you just wrote on Gmail was almost certainly formatted, spell-checked, sent and saved from within an anonymous computing bunker in the middle of nowhere.
Tasks we offload onto someone elses computers are part of the cloud. Cloud computing involves data that is not tethered to any one point or PC. Music saved to the cloud can be accessed from any device, anywhere. Documents saved to the cloud can be opened by anyone with a password. And complex tasks that might otherwise tax your home PC can be addressed in a flash through the computing might of a big company.
Cloud computing is becoming so popular, in fact, that some experts believe the home PC will soon be little more than a terminal we use to access these Web-based services. What follows is a brief tour of the best of these services: a walk in the cloud.
The most popular way to use the cloud is for simple storage. Modern PCs hold a lot of data, but too many movies and media files can push any hard drive to its limit. Online services such as Xdrive and Dropbox give users a better way to save the things they care about. Just upload your documents to one of these services, and youll never worry about running out of storage space again.
The cloud offers more than mere storage. Its also useful you can access and run full applications on the cloud without ever opening an app on your home desktop. Google Docs, for instance, is a popular suite of applications that runs completely within your Web browser. Cloud-based software lets you do many of the things you already do edit documents, build spreadsheets, touch up photographs without burdening your own computer.
The cloud is where all social media lives. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and many more social sites store everything in the cloud, so you can quickly share the things you love. Cloud computing lets grandparents admire their latest additions from across the globe and friends check out those party pics seconds after you snap them.
Think of cloud computing as regular computing set free. When your favorite docs, tasks and media can be edited and accessed from anywhere, it becomes far easier to untether from your desk and live life on-the-go. Try a few of the most popular online services and you'll agree: The future's so bright, it's cloudy.
We're back on earth, but that doesn't mean our journey into the cloud has to end. Check back often for more cloud services tips and advice.