A Basic Introduction To Cloud Computing (Part 1 of a Software Productivity Series)

James Preston 4 7:09 AM
This week a friend of mine made a simple statement on Facebook:

"Wish I had a small compact electronic diary... Do you even get such a thing?"

The statement generated 22 responses! All with tons of ideas & suggestions.

I've been meaning to do a Post about this very thing for quite some time, so that statement has pushed me to finally give my thoughts. Thanks Jennifer Weir for asking!  ;)

Please note that the goal of this Post is to introduce people who may not yet know about this type of computing, so please forgive me if it comes across as bit basic for you. Maybe you could leave some comments with advice or suggestions?

Computers have become a vital part of our daily life. I grew up when this wasn't the case, but by Grade 8 we had our first "486" Windows PC at home, and that was the start of my dependance on these little machines. As time has gone on, the technology has become even greater, and the various fields of my expertise require decent computing to operate. This means I need a computer for up to 90% of my work.

When so much of your work is done on a computer, it only makes sense that the basic necessities of a productive life (diary, notes, calendar, contacts) be accessible at the touch of a button.

But those kind of necessities are needed at any moment, when you're out in the supermarket, with friends at a restaurant, even on the beach! Suddenly you need to check your diary, make a note of an idea, or add something to your To-Do List before you forget.  And you can't carry your computer around everywhere.  Not yet, anyway.

In this 2-part Blog Series, I want to share with you 4 of the most basic tools that you need to operate as productively and effectively as possible. You could run your whole life, even entire organisations, with these 4 tools alone.

They are by no means conclusive, and not the only tools available, but with so many out there, how do you choose which software is the most effective? Well, that's why I want to help. I have spent hours over the years trying to find the most effective software to meet my basic productivity needs. When all you need is 4. And they're all free.

First though, in order to keep computerised productivity at a maximum, and keep downtime at an absolute minimum, you must understand this one concept: THE CLOUD

So in Part 1 we'll cover the concept of "Cloud Computing", and in Part 2 next week I will reveal the 4 basic apps that you will only ever need to be as productive as ever!

Cloud computing became popular with the commoner when Apple introduced their aptly named software "iCloud". (They added one letter to an already-in-use word and it became "theirs!) The truth is; Cloud computing had been around long before Apple's iPod!

When you understand the Cloud correctly, you will move away from one computer as your single source of all work. That's the point. There's nothing worse than that one computer crashing, or getting stolen, and everything is gone with it. All your work. Your Emails, your Contacts, your Notes, you know? The important stuff. Gone! With Cloud computing, you can carry on at anyone's computer as if nothing ever happened.

"The Cloud" is a basic term that refers to internet servers where all your data gets stored. As opposed to your own computer hard-drive. Your computer simply accesses "the cloud" via the internet.

These internet servers could be numerous places: Google, Apple, Mweb, Facebook even. Any data that gets stored there (instead of your hard-drive) would be termed as being stored "in the Cloud".

The biggest place to start with Cloud computing? Your Email. If you're still using Outlook, you are already behind the curve. Cloud-based Email has revolutionised my life. I can access my Email from any computer any time anywhere in the world, and not compromise on quality of font, signatures, my contacts, email addresses, info; you name it.

Google are the market leaders in Cloud computing. They have already created "The Chromebook", laptops with tiny hard-drives with their entire Operating System (like your Windows XP etc.) based in The Cloud. So everything you do with these computers, everything, is done "in the Cloud". Thus you could login using another one of these laptops and absolutely nothing would be lost, or different! It would be like your entire computer back in front of you.

In South Africa this isn't easy, yet. Things like photos, videos, music, large software, are all too big to keep stored on the Cloud because our Internet Connections aren't fast enough. But we'll get there. And our speeds are fast enough to cover the basics. And the basics are all you need for Cloud Computing to completely revolutionise how you work.

The Cloud concept is your number 1 concept in increasing productivity. Ideas, notes, memories, To-Do items, can't wait to be remembered for later. And if you write them on a piece of paper, you risk losing that piece of paper. But if you had access to a small device (like your cellphone) to quickly enter the Item, it cannot be forgotten, and can be accessed when it is more suitable for you when you are sitting at your computer.

The days of one single computer being the only source for all your work are quickly ending. So get on board before you find yourself way behind the curve!

In Part of 2 of this series next week I will give you practical examples of the 4 most basic apps that you need to get started with Cloud Computing. These 4 Apps are all you really need to the most productive you possibly can be.

So look out for Part 2 next week: "The Only 4 Apps You Will Ever Need To Be The Most Productive You Possibly Can!"

In the meantime, check out the diagram below to give you a Graphic idea of how Cloud Computing works:



TELL US YOUR STORY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION!

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A COMPUTER CRASH OR GET STOLEN? HOW DID IT EFFECT YOUR PRODUCTIVITY?

4 comments

HGreat post James! Really cleared up the whole icloud set up for me.Never really understood what Apple were on about.I can see how beneficial having as much as possible online can be. Looking forward to next weeks post. Thanks.

I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information.

i understand about cloud computing for now, thanks

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