Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cloud Computing - Basics

Anyone who has read my blog knows that I have an EEE PC, which almost mandates cloud computing. I thought it might be a good idea to be a bit more specific than just talking about "cloud computing" so that anyone could try it.

I've used cloud computing for 3 reasons. First is insulation against hardware failure. This is self-explanatory but as an advanced step, I use it to bring a new system up to speed with all my existing ones quickly. The same steps for recovery applied to a system with no preferences or information demonstrates both the ease in which you can recover, as well as deploy a new system from the proverbial zero.

The second reason I cloud compute is remote access. Since all of these systems of cloud computing are available on the web, it means that I can access this information from any computer with internet access. Hypothetical situation would be to follow a link I had bookmarked, but can't remember the URL. Using one of several online systems you can then pull up that SINGLE bookmark and follow it using a friends or public computer without having to make any permanent changes to that system.

The third reason I use cloud computing is because of the resources available on the EEE PC. I should say that I had started to store my information on remote systems some time back, the frequency of which I did this has dramatically increased as there are now 2 EEE PC's in the home. Space is the biggest commodity and cloud computing negates most of that.

I thought I'd list the services/tools that I use in order for anyone just starting to use cloud computing to take a dip in the pool without being overwhelmed. Here are a few that I use. I use a Gmail account for all my online email, and many of it's services as well as other applications that use the Gmail as a backend for online services. Please understand that I assume that you have a Gmail account already in use. My other disclaimer is that I assume Firefox also...available for all platforms, and most extensions work across the different versions.

Email:
  • Gmail - duh. You could use any online mail service like yahoo.com, hotmail.com etc. My personal take on it is simple is better and Google doesn't tether which protocol you may access it with (geek disclaimer)

Bookmarks:
  • Use firefox -> export .html file -> email it to your gmail account. Viewing the HTML attachment in the online interface
  • Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site, but if you make them private, you can then use their extension to import to firefox.
Photos:
  • Flickr is awesome, free account a bit limited.
  • Picasa offers more space, but the interface isn't quite as elegant. (IMHO)
Video:
  • YouTube for most of the video's that I have from my digital camera, they are short enough to go up straight away.
  • Google Video is also available with a slightly different interface if you prefer it.
Browser recovery:
This was a big issue for me since I work/live out of my firefox and a browser crash alone would set me back a workday just trying to get everything back up. Google's Browser Sync extension for firefox makes synchronizing across multiple computer systems very easy without loss if information (even cookies). This will use a Gmail account to store the information, so it is a prerequisite.

I hope this offers a few ideas. These sites are not at all in any way the complete list and I'll be sure to post about future services that I discover that are worth mentioning.

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Cafeninja

1 comment:

kdmurray said...

Great post. Just an addition to the bookmarks section: FoxMarks. Works cross-platform and allows you to quickly and easily sync bookmarks between computers. It also provides a web-based interface (like delicious) for accessing them if you're on someone else's machine.