Monday, 6 June 2011

Cloudy but good

All this talk about 2011 being the year of the cloud rings true. I say that because marketing hype is usually a bit ahead of the curve. But I realize that I’m using cloud computing a lot these days – and I don’t mean (necessarily) for work.

Firstly, I’m using Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office. This is a small piece of code that’s free to download from Once installed, you can save all your Word etc files on your laptop AND there’s a copy in Google Docs. Now, the reason I find that so useful is not simply because I know my documents are backed up (and to be honest that’s a really important reason and the one that I’d use as a selling point to most people), but it also means that I can access the documents from other computers. I have two laptops that I use all the time, and a third one, that’s usually away at users’ sites. I can now access my documents wherever I am and not have to say that I’ll send on the information after the meeting (or whatever).

Google also say on their site that this system allows users to simultaneously edit their files – which again is a great idea, although it’s not something I’ve tried.

Previously to using Google Cloud Connect, I used my Pogoplug for the same reason. I’ve mentioned Pogoplugs before in these blogs because they are so useful. It provides my own personal cloud. A Pogoplug is a little piece of kit that connects to your router. I then have four or five memory sticks plugged into it, but I could have a 2TB external hard drive. I can upload files to the Pogoplug from anywhere using a simple browser interface ( and I can share files with people, so they can see photos I’ve taken or short videos, or even Office documents. And, again, it provides me with a back-up copy of my important files.

The third piece of cloud computing I use is Wyse PocketCloud. I’ve downloaded the free app for my Android smartphone and I’ve downloaded the software for my laptop. Once they’re password synchronized, I can control my laptop from my phone. Which means, if I haven’t got a document with me, I can use my phone to launch Word on my PC and read the document. Last week I sent a document from someone else’s computer to my e-mail address. I used the PocketCloud software to log-on to my e-mail, download the file and print it. So when I returned back to base, there was the document ready for me to take to the next meeting (a school governors meeting – they don’t have wifi, hence I couldn’t be paperless). I’ve sat in McDonalds and called up files! It is a really impressive piece of software. Now, with the other cloud facilities mentioned above, I don’t know how much I’ll need to use it. But it just seems so amazing to be able to do it!

What I’m suggesting is that cloud computing is getting in under the radar and people are beginning to use it already. So, when IT departments suggest rolling out Cloud services in whatever form that takes for them, they will be pushing at an open door. There won’t be usual user resistance because the users will be perfectly happy with the concept. And, of course, mainframers will be saying that they’ve been using these cloud concepts since the 1960s – or whenever they first started working with mainframes.

Which all goes to show that 2011 really is the year of the cloud.

1 comment:

Joy said...

Thanks for the post

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