Friday, April 12, 2013



Timothy Jordan, and others:

"By bringing technology closer, we can get it more out of the way".


 Video:  Timothy Jordan on Glass

-Are you familiar with the "Cloud"

What Is Cloud Computing?


 Bowles, M. D. (2010). Introduction to computer literacySan Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. 


The information cloud is a way to store your data and information outside of your own computer.

You already have some experience with cloud computing. In an earlier chapter, we discussed Google's Gmail. We can use that example here to illustrate some of the key concepts of the cloud. First of all, the cloud is a metaphor for the space on the Internet that can be used to store your data, as well as applications to manipulate it. The Gmail application exists online, and to use it, all you need is a connection to the Internet and a browser. Likewise, all of your email is stored in the Google databases as well, rather than on your own personal computer. If you recall, this is a significant departure from the way in which Microsoft Outlook's email program works. With Outlook, the software application and your email reside on your computer and nowhere else. Therefore, Outlook operates on your computer, while Gmail operates in a cloud because that is where all of your email exists, as well as the application to view, send, and receive it.

Google's Cloud

Google not only uses its cloud for its Gmail, but also its Web–based applications ranging from Internet searching to Google Books. It is hard to know how large the Google cloud really is, but by some estimates it consists of hundreds of thousands of inexpensive servers (some suggest this number is a million) that store all of Google's data (and yours, too). For example, it has entire copies of the Web. Unlike the large mainframe computers of the past, the cloud has an impressive feature because it never grows old. A team of engineers and technicians monitor it, and when one of the servers dies (every few years), it is simply removed and replaced by a new one. The entire cloud seems to grow and regenerate more like a living being than an aging machine. Although Google and others have used this type of data system since the 1990s, it was not until 2008 that the term cloud computing was used to define it. Soon people began to realize that this might be the wave (or the cloud) of the future that would define how a majority of computers operate (Malone, 2009, p. 112). 

The Advantages of the Cloud


With cloud computing, you can access your data wherever there is an Internet connection.

Google is now exploring whether it might be possible for an operating system itself to exist online rather than on your computer. This would make your computer very quick to turn on because there would be no complex operating system to boot up. When you pressed the power button, the only thing the computer would need to do would be to connect to the Internet. Therefore, startup time would be measured in seconds rather than minutes.

Another advantage of cloud computing is that it would make computer viruses and malware almost nonexistent. The virus protection would take place at the cloud level, and would not be the responsibility of the individual user. As long as the cloud was protected—and the cloud engineers could have teams devoted just to this function—all of the data residing within it would be immune to attack.

A third advantage is that your programs and data would be available no matter where you were, and on any computer in front of you (as long as there was an Internet connection). If you went to your work computer, all of your data would be accessible there. It would also be at your computer at home, at the computer terminals at the library, or at any hotel that you visited while on vacation. This would also give you a measure of protection, because if your computer at home died while you were writing a paper for school, your work would not be lost. It would still be safely resting on a cloud. You could just go over to your neighbor's house and finish your work there.

Fourth, you would never have to install or update software again. You would simply pay for it once and access it online. Whoever wrote the application would be responsible for updating it, and the next time you logged on, it would be there for you to use. Finally, one of the most important advantages of cloud computing is collaboration and sharing. If you shared your access code with people whom you allowed to have access to your data (such as other students working on a project, family members planning a reunion, or coworkers on a project), then all of you could access, share, and edit the documents in the cloud.

The Disadvantages of a Cloud

Some suggest that while the cloud is good for limited applications such as email, it could never represent the future of personal computing for several reasons. First, many programs are simply too complex and powerful to be operated effectively online. For example, graphics programs or games with computation–heavy 3D rendered worlds need to be run on a personal computer in order for them to be effective. The second disadvantage is privacy. With all of your data on someone else's computers, how certain can you be that no one else is spying on what you are doing? The third disadvantage is that if you do not have Internet access, your computer is worthless, and you are unable to access your data. Although the Web follows us almost everywhere we go these days, it is not everywhere that we want it to be, and sometimes access is a problem. It would be very inconvenient if we could not use our computers in such cases. Finally, Internet outages would bring productivity in a cloud to a standstill (Velte, Velte, & Elsenpeter, 2010).

Examples of the Cloud

Although the debate continues regarding how widespread cloud computing will become in the future, it is already here in the form of several popular applications. is a way to back up all of the current data on your computer in real time to the cloud. Once you sign up and pay a yearly subscription fee for this service, it operates in the background, saving a copy of each of your files to its own cloud. When a file is backed up, a small green dot appears in the bottom left–hand corner of the icon that represents the file to indicate that it is safe. This is an excellent way to protect yourself against computer crashes.

Google has a number of cloud applications that you can use in addition to Gmail. Its Docs and Spreadsheets applications emulate Word and Excel, although the application itself is nowhere to be found on your computer. The software itself is located on Google's servers, and so whenever there is an update, the users do not have to reinstall or upgrade their software. The other benefit of Docs and Spreadsheets is that they are collaborative tools that can be shared with anyone who has an Internet connection, and the creator can access them from any computer. This also has a nice backup safety feature in that your data are not tied to one hard drive that might fail.

One final example is Amazon Web Services ( Founded in 2006, it provides a service for all companies that require computing power, services, and storage. The benefit is that it is infinitely scalable. If a company grows from 2 people to 100 people overnight, all you need to do is write a check to Amazon and you will instantly have 50 times more storage or computing power than you had the day before. What are some examples of how this service could be used? If you were a media company that wanted customers to see videos, you could rent storage space in the Amazon cloud. Or if you were a pharmaceutical company, you could rent Amazon's processing power to perform an intensive simulation experiment. The examples are numerous, demonstrating that the cloud is not just for individuals but for businesses as well. In fact, there are four different types of clouds that you might see in the future.

Four Information Clouds

Thomas Vander Wal suggested that there will be a hierarchy of four types of clouds. The first will be the Global Information Cloud, which is essentially the Internet. It will remain accessible to everyone who has a computing device with connectivity features. The second cloud in the hierarchy is the External Information Cloud. This is represented by the closed and private data of an organization. Examples are an extranet that you might have at work. The third cloud is the Local Information Cloud. The owner maintains control here, and those who have access must have membership privileges. An example would be a LAN set up at a friend's home where everyone brought their own computers to play a shared game. The final cloud is the Personal Information Cloud. This represents all the digital data that you have created yourself. It could be as simple as a phone number or as extensive as every photo you have ever taken with a digital camera. Each of us would maintain complete access and control over our personal cloud (Malone, 2009, p. 115). 


 Bowles, M. D. (2010). Introduction to computer literacySan Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. 

I suppose the Glass eyepiece will be a minor inconvenience until one day it is embedded in the retina.  

My mini Ipad is in the mail.