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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Slowly Stepping onto the Cloud

When Cloud services began to be popular, I knew that I wouldn't join them immediately but join later and I've been slowly doing it.

I hated the idea of the Cloud at first and still do resent it in some ways. The main reason why I hate the idea of the Cloud is that it will eventually take over local storage.

Before I go any farther, let me explain what the Cloud is. The Cloud is not just one thing, it refers to many different services. Apple has made it famous with their iCloud, Google has Google Drive, Microsoft has SkyDrive, and other companies are coming along too. I was talking to someone, who owns an iPhone, about the Cloud and she was wondering how I had access to the Cloud on my non-Apple device. I tried to explain it to her that it's not just Apple that has a Cloud service. Actually, there have been companies before Apple that have been doing Cloud for a while. All the Cloud is, is simply storing files on a server via the internet. There are two reasons why it wasn't popular until recently.

As time goes on, we've expanded memory by a whole lot. It wasn't uncommon for people in the early 2000's to have a computer with less than 10 GB while now, it's odd if a computer doesn't have more than 150 GB of internal storage. At that time, it was also uncommon to have internet access in just about every part of the world, now, the internet is accessible from just about anywhere at high speeds. The speeds were another difference. Back then, dial-up was common and DSL was just coming in. Now we have fiberoptic cables and cable speeds which can help computers access the web more quickly.

When you access a website, your computer is contacting a server which is usually a really big computer or CPU. The website you are viewing is stored here in file form. That is the internet in a nutshell, connecting computers to each other.

Now, thanks to high speeds, bigger storage, and internet available just about anywhere on earth, the Cloud is now possible.

This is the next step in the evolution in the internet and will revolutionize how we use devices. While devices will be easier to carry, you won't be able to access 100% of your content all of the time or at the highest speeds. Imagine contacting a server located in China versus contacting a piece of hardware sitting right there in your hands. It's a much faster speed. I don't like the idea of the Cloud taking over everything because this will make it harder to hack operating systems as OSes will be used via a Cloud and also I won't be able to use my OS if I'm underground or anywhere else the internet is hard to contact.

But slowly and surly, I am making the move because a hybrid system is okay. As long as I can continue to have devices with huge amounts of memory, I don't mind using Cloud services.

Over the past few years of being with Android, I've moved to Google Music which is really great. I can carry my entire 32+ GB music library wherever I go and still have room for everything else. And if I want, I can have the option to download the songs that I listen to most. With Sprint's upgrades to their network, I have been seeing faster speeds so my content is easier to reach than before from my mobile device.

As of today, I have signed up with Google Drive to now have a Cloud for online storage. Mostly for back-ups than anything else. Many of Android's apps are utilizing the Cloud storage themselves such as Titanium Back-up which, I believe, will store back-ups to your Cloud. This has been a concern of mine as Android still hasn't been fixed as it will sometimes delete EVERYTHING from my device and external memory card which can be frustrating. All of my photos, videos, back-ups, and more just gone in a flash. With Google Drive, it'll be harder to lose this information as they will be secure on one of Google's servers.

However, the security is still a concern as mentioned years ago. Depending on which service you choose, your items may not be safe. Some websites have in their terms and agreements that they can access your information and use it however they like. Imagine storing documents with all of your personal information including social security information or storing projects for a new invention you're coming up with and people looking through these very personal files. So be careful if you do join and be sure to be smart and read their legal agreements to be sure you're safe. Also, remember that once it is uploaded to the internet, it's very hard to get rid of it. Some programs can actually recover previously deleted files which someone could easily do on a server. So be very careful.

I hope that we do not go solely to Cloud but continue to keep a hybrid system. This is much nicer. If something ever goes wrong with a server or the internet or your connection to it, you could be in big trouble. Having a system where we use the Cloud just for back-up or allowing more space on our devices is best. And for the average consumer who probably doesn't do too much like I would, maybe a thinner device with less storage would be okay for them.

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