Understanding Cloud Computing

Just about all tech companies are pushing cloud computing, like Apple's new iWork, or cloud storage, but many people still don't understand what "the cloud" means. Let's take away the mystique.

But First...

(Today's post is sponsored by Elaine Raco Chase, author of Best Laid Plans. Elaine who is featured today at Southern Writers Magazine is giving away 3 copies of Best Laid Plans to someone who comments on this post. Be sure and leave your email addy. Making a comment on today's post or any post since August 1 also makes you eligible to win one of the Grand Opening Prizes.)

Back To The Cloud

A few days ago I received an email from Apple with an offer to try their new iWork, a "new and exciting feature" for iCloud. iWork is a suite of apps — Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. The suite makes it easy for anyone with an iCloud account (that's probably anyone with an iPhone, iPod, iPublish, etc.) to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations right on the web.

On The Web

That phrase, right on the web, is what Cloud Computing is all about. The cloud, or cloud computing or cloud-based technology just means that everything happens online. You can buy computers that don't have any storage media to speak of installed. Those computers are low-priced and lightweight because you use "the cloud" for all your software and the data you create and save.

Your computer does not permanently store any of the files involved in processing or in creating and saving data. It's all stored online in whatever databanks the particular "cloud" uses. There are many online storage systems that are cloud-based although they may not be called "cloud" anything. You may already be using cloud technology without realized it. Example? I use Dropbox, synced to all my devices, so I can easily access all my data anywhere there's an internet connection. Amazon stores my purchased music on their cloud as does iTunes for my iPod and iPhone.

Cloud computing just means sharing resources. Of course, like anything online, the cloud can be hacked, but that's the downside in anything to do with the internet. (Learn more here.)

By the way, with the new iWork for iCloud beta, the instructions say to sign in to iCloud on a Mac or a PC using the current version of Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer. I signed in using Firefox, and it seems to work fine. If you have an iCloud account, just try it. Click on the icons for Pages, Numbers, or Keynote, and you’re off and running.

Win A Prize

Today's post is sponsored by Elaine Raco Chase, author of Best Laid Plans. Elaine is featured today at Southern Writers Magazine so drop by there to learn more about her. Make a comment on today's post and be entered to win the Grand Opening Prize Package as well as eligible to win 1 of 3 copies of Best Laid Plans that Elaine is giving away today.

To be entered in this Week's Prize Package, make a comment on this post -- or any of the posts since August 1 -- or tell me what you think about cloud computing. Leave your email addy with your comment.

Takeaway Truth

The cloud is everywhere, and it's invisible. Take advantage of sharing resources, but make sure you use a really strong password.


  1. Well here's the fun blog spot on Best Laid Plans, Joan....hope your readers will swing over and leave a comment there....Best Laid Plans is on special sale - $1.99....it's total chicklit, sexy fun!


  2. First, I don't have any Apple products, but my Windows system also has cloud storage. The downside is that where I live, Internet can be slow and spotty, so I like having things stored on my computer so I can access them even if I can't connect to the Internet.

    Terry's Place

  3. Hi, Joan and Elaine,

    Joan, I like the new look of your website very much! Elaine, as far as the Mac goes, I'm pretty much tech challenged, but my daughter-in-law Anna has a Mac and she has her own blog/website. She does beautiful work with it. Of course, she's also a talented photographer. Best wishes for the success of your books!

  4. Elaine Raco Chase ... Thanks for donating a book for today. Enjoyed your post at Southern Writers.

  5. Terry Odell ... I have the same problem sometimes. I keep my apps on my computer but I do use cloud storage for music and of course, Dropbox, which makes my life a lot easier. But I back that up too just in case. Never enough redundancy.

  6. Jacqueline Seewald ... Hey, Jacquie. I've been saying I was going to buy a Mac for sometime, but I guess I'll wait until my old laptop dies. My daughter the graphic artist has an old Mac but she works mainly on a PC now but still using Adobe products.

  7. I also use cloud. I recently started using microsoft cloud and I like it better than I thought I would. I just do not use it alot.

    kac_030 at yahoo dot com

  8. kimmyl... I think storage media is so cheap that there's not much incentive to use Cloud unless you want to sync files or buy a device with no storage -- something that appeals more to much younger tech users.