We have all been hearing about “the cloud”. Some have wondered just what in the cloud means? One person’s attempt to describe the cloud was “A cloud is that fluffy white thing floating in the sky!”. Although this is a nice image to put in your head, it is not exactly what we are after. In the cloud mostly refers to cloud computing and cloud storage. The cloud itself refers to a place where software and data that is stored that is remote from the computer and not physically attached to the computer. Cloud computing is found in any number of places, depending on who is offering the hardware and software that is being used remotely. Two providers of this are Microsoft and Google. So let us break down the elements of Cloud computing and Cloud Storage.
Cloud Computing – refers to the ability to be able to access and use software that is not stored on your computer. Creating a document is an example. If you have Microsoft Word installed on your work computer and you decide to write a letter, you start up word and type away. You can do this even if not connected to the internet or a local area network. You finish the letter, save it, and leave for the day. The letter is on your work computer, but is not available for use anywhere else. If you though you want to work on the letter later, you could email a copy to your home and work on it from your home computer. The problem here is, the letter at work is now a different version than the letter at home. Or, you might not have word at home, you might be using a different word processing software which then gives formatting problems. What if you are using a different type computer at home, for example Linux or a MAC. The answer is simple. Do it in the cloud. Using cloud based software and cloud based storage means you are not limited to only one location or one device. Just as a proof of concept, I started this document using Windows 10 with One-drive, later switched to my IPAD, then I tested it on my iPhone, and finally finished it using Linux with Google Chrome. It all worked flawlessly. I was able to save the document in my One-drive storage, so I always have access to my document ass long as I have access to the internet.
The word processor I was using is a free version of Microsoft Office, available at Office.com. It is not as fully featured as a full blown version, such as Office 365, but it has all you need to create and format documents. Google has their own version called Google Docs. Both soft wares work very well and should meet most of your needs. Additionally, both also offer presentation software and spreadsheet software.
One other small point, if you are only looking for cloud storage, there are other options available other than Google Drive (G Drive) or Microsoft’s One-drive. Check out Dropbox or box as two alternatives for storage. They do not have online software however, only storage.
And there you have it, the Cloud in a nutshell. Hopefully this answers all your questions but if not, feel free to ask them in the comment form below or via the feed back form. A so, until next time, may the wind be at your back and the sun on your face.