Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cloud computing - the way forward?

If you're technically inclined you'll have heard about cloud computing. The basic theory is that rather than tying yourself to a desktop PC, or a laptop with certain inevitable restrictions, you can use any device to access your data because it's held "in the cloud".

Think, Googlemail for example. It doesn't matter whether I'm using my PC, my netbook or my iPhone I can access my Googlemail account from any internet connected device. And because companies like Google also do documents, calendars, contacts etc, theoretically I've got pretty much always on access to all my key personal data.

And there's the rub. Do I want all my key personal data "in the cloud", or would I rather have it safe and secure on my hard disk, USB drive of CD or DVD backup? I've always been a bit sceptical about loading data onto someone else's servers, despite all the reassurances about data protection and other security matters.

Generally though, I think this is the way that things are going, and providing you're sensible about what you store in the cloud, it's clearly better than getting to a meeting for example and finding out you've left that presentation on a USB stick in the draw in your study.

To that end there are a couple of cloud applications that I've been fiddling around with - some for longer than others, but which I'm beginning to make more of an effort to use iin a serious way.

Toodledo is an online list organiser, that handily syncs both Appigo's Notes and ToDo apps on my iPhone. I'm also trying to use Evernote, a similar application, but one that's been around longer and allows notes, clips from web pages (or whole pages), photos and voice note's to be taken and then accessed/synced to other devices.

I've also taken out an account with an online storage service - a free service to start with to see how I get on. I can transfer files to this service, and again access them from any internet connected PC. It also doubles as a decent backup option for certain files too.

I'm still a little wary. I wouldn't want to put anything really personally sensitive in the cloud, and of course you're buggered if you haven't got an internet connection (unless you've synced the files you need to your PC/laptop/mobile device.

I'll see how I get on.

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