I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now – and now I’m more confused!

Everybody talks about computing in the cloud and I need to know what that means.  Well, Science and Technology has a new book, Cloud Computing in Easy Steps by David Crookes, that will clear this right up.  The first thing Crookes does is to explain what traditional computing is.  This is the storage of your data, your documents, your files, and anything else on your computer, a flash drive, or a disk.  The drawback to this method is in sharing documents or files with others, or taking your data to another computer and finding that the second computer does not have the same software you used.

Enter the cloud.  Cloud computing takes away the need for storing information on your PC or other device.  Instead, your data is kept at a remote site, allowing you to access your data from a different device.  The data is provided as a service over the internet.

There are a number of companies you can use for cloud storage and retrieval.  One example that many of us have used in one way or another, is Google.  We often use Google or another web browser to access information from the internet.  But did you know Google also provides many cloud services?  For instance, through this company you can access a word processor, a spreadsheet program, and a calendar that can be shared with others.  Google also offers storage.  If you have ever used Google Docs to write a paper and share it with others, you have used the cloud.

Of course Google is not the only provider of cloud services.  Apple has iCloud which allows you to access your mail, contacts, calendar, storage and more.  Microsoft has Windows SkyDrive which allows storage and sharing as well as a social networking platform.  You may have used the popular program Evernote, Flickr, or even Dropbox.  You only need to go to one of these sites to begin to use the cloud for computing.

In Crookes’ book you will find easy to follow instructions for these services and more.  Check it out and the cloud will be yours.

Two other new books that may be of interest are How to Do Everything iCloud by Jason R. Rich and To the Cloud: Cloud Powering an Enterprise by Arora, Biyani, and Dave.  These books and more can be found on the Akron-Summit County Public Library’s online catalog.

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