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Hey, You, Get on to the Cloud

April 04, 2012

One of the major trends in computing is the rise of the cloud. Basically speaking, the concept of the cloud can be summed up in one sentence: Why keep a bunch of files or programs on your device when there's almost unlimited memory out there in cyberspace? While many people are embracing the concept of the cloud in terms of file storage, fewer have fully grasped the potential when it comes to programs or apps. With cloud technology, you no longer have to store a program or app on your device. Instead, you can access a website that performs the function of that program or app.

Take photo editing, for example. Adobe Photoshop is by far the most popular image editor among professionals, but it is quite complex and relatively expensive. Professionals and advanced hobbyists might need all the bells and whistles, but most of us just want to make some basic tweaks. That’s where Photoshop.com comes in. You sign up for a free Adobe account, upload your photo, make the changes you want, and download it back to your device. You could even store and organize your photos there, as Photoshop.com will provide 2 GB of free storage. The cost to you: nothing, other than the cost of Internet access. When you consider that Internet access can be obtained for free through public Wi-Fi hotspots like those offered by MCPL, the price looks pretty appealing.

While researching this article, I came across a list of 101 useful websites. Many of these websites are essentially cloud apps, meaning that they perform a task that would once have required a program or app on your device. The next time you are thinking of purchasing a program or app for your device, consider the (usually) free cloud alternative. In fact, when you are considering the purchase of a new device, you might opt for the one with the least onboard storage, as it will be cheaper. If you need more convincing, an additional benefit of cloud apps is that they are not tied to a single device. All you need is Internet access.

-Jeff D.
Grandview Branch

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