MICRO CENTER: COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS
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Tech Take-Apart
Cloud Computing
by kp

Many of you may have been hearing about the latest buzz word in the tech industry: cloud computing. Is this some mysterious nebulous cluster of servers residing in an undisclosed location? Essentially, cloud computing is a fancy term for utilizing the Internet for storage and application support. This gives you more mobility and flexibility to access your information anywhere, any time.

Recently, Apple introduced a new service called Mobile Me, a packaged solution that syncs images, emails, calendars, and other files to your iPhone, iPod and MacBook. Plus, it is compatible with PC applications such as Outlook, Windows Mail and Contacts. This service was part of the older .Mac which gave subscribers server storage and website space for their personal use.  One great feature of Mobile Me is the storage capabilities through the iDisk utility. This application manages your files so that you can upload, download or share your documents with any recipient on your contact list. This makes carrying around an extra flash drive unnecessary for delivering documents.

Windows users also have their own brand of cloud computing called Windows Live. This service includes Hotmail, Spaces and OneCare. Hotmail is designed for email management, and Spaces is for sharing photos and blogging. One Care is an online protection service that provides an anti-virus, firewall, as well as backup and restore features, all for a fee.

Besides Apple and Windows, Google has a version of cloud computing too. Google Apps is a collection of online services to help you work more efficiently. It includes Gmail for email management, Google Talk for instant messaging, Google Calendar for scheduling, Google Docs for sharing files, and Google Sites for creating websites and wikis. The only requirement for using Google Apps is a Gmail account for access and a web browser to log in. You can connect through your PC, cell phone or anyplace with an Internet connection.

Cloud computing is made possible by advances in networking technology from Web 2.0 initiatives. The focus of Web 2.0 is to use the Internet more for collaboration and sharing than for commerce. One example of this is SaaS or Software as a Service. This technology utilizes the Internet to run software from remote servers instead of from your hard drive. It not only gives you ease-of-use for personal projects, but also can benefit business operations.

Don't waste any more time trying to sync your files between your PC, phone  and work computer  - jump on the cloud and get organized.

Shop:
Apple Mobile Me - Individual
Apple iPod Touch 32GB, 2nd Generation
Cloud Computing Web-Based Applications That Change the Way People Work & Collaborate Online
Google Apps - The Missing Manual

Reference:
Apple - Mobile Me
Microsoft - Windows Live
Microsoft - Software as a Service
Google - Google Apps
W3C

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