Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Cloud Computing/Web 2.0

Jargon 101: the “Cloud” = the “Internet”

It might be hard for you to believe, but there is a great deal of jargon and a large number of buzzwords in the world of computers and “tech”. There’s a mind-numbing assortment of acronyms too; and it is not hard to become FUWA (Fed Up With Acronyms). Today I want to look at an industry buzzword that has been floating around since 2004 — “Web 2.0”.

Historically speaking, in the world of tech and computing when you see 2.0 (“two point oh”) it means “second generation” (or, “second iteration”). What this is supposed to mean is: “we have totally remade our product, and fixed all that was found wanting in our original release”.
Since acquiring the new 2.0 will doubtlessly cost the consumer some cash, a mere fixing of problems is not enough, and so 2.0 almost always means that there will be some new feature (or ability) added.. as a “value bonus” (aka “bloat”).

With this in mind, the idea of a Web 2.0 sounds pretty-durned good.. doesn’t it? Fix everything that’s wrong with the Internet, and give us new abilities too? Fantastic!!! Sign me up!

I mean… there’s plenty that a ‘2.0′ could fix. Imagine an Internet that was really fast.. for everyone: with zero spam: a limit of two ads per webpage: that simply could not infect your machine with “drive by’s”: had actual enforcement of Copyright laws (sorry.. a pet peeve): that never crashed or misdirected…

Sadly, when we hear (or read about) “Web 2.0″ what we are hearing is marketing hype. Nobody is talking about fixes or improvements to the Internet itself. What they’re talking about, really, is kind of vague, but generally boils down to these two concepts:
1) that consumers can upload to the Internet, as opposed to merely “viewing” or downloading content. This is seen in the “social networking” sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, and the “photo-sharing” sites, such as Flickr and Picasa. It is also referring to the ability to use the Internet to communicate with IM/chat.. or “forums” and “chatrooms” or blogs.
2) that we will come to rely on web-based programs, and eventually do away with installing applications on our own machines. Some are calling these programs “webware” (and, “SaaS”, and “cloud apps”, and…)

It is the second ‘concept’ which is the most significant, and there is already a strong move in this direction afoot. Imagine that you no longer have a word processor on your machine. When you want to create a document, you open a browser and log onto your WritingStuff.com* account and use the tools there to write. The document you create is stored on some remote server, just like a webpage, so you can access it from any (Internet-connected) machine,.. and make it “viewable” to anyone or everyone. Heck, you can make it so that they can “collaborate” on your document and make edits and other changes to it.
There’s even talk of making your machine’s operating system web-based.. so all your machine needs to do is boot-and-browse. Somebody told me that Google… (see, Is Google Chrome OS cloud computing’s silver lining?)

Today’s free link(s): Well, guess what? Web 2.0 is here, and there are several web-based applications already available. Not only are these tools “the wave of the future”, but can be really useful to some folks.. such as a “road warrior”-type businessperson; or for those types of projects that require multiple authors, or contain info from many departments. And, conceivably, these tools can save you money by replacing the programs you have to buy and install.
I don’t have the time to list every online program or tool available today (and more are being developed as we speak) but if you are looking for online versions of the usual “office” types of tools — word processors, spreadsheets, presentation (“slideshows”), calendars, and notetakers — checkout Zoho; or if you have a Google account, Google Docs. These apps claim to be compatible with all major formats, including MS Office and PDF.
If you are looking for photo editors — checkout FotoFlexer, and for video, Jumpcut (I understand that this cloud app is one of many that has already gone hasta la vista.)

Also, Rick Robinette at What’s On My PC? has assembled a great collection of cloudware apps. Please click here to see his list.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

Share this post :

January 1, 2010 - Posted by | advice, computers, Internet

10 Comments »

  1. TechPaul,

    Great article and thanks for the link back…

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by Ramblinrick | January 1, 2010 | Reply

    • Rick it is always a pleasure to refer my readers to your “undiscovered gem” of a website.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | January 1, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi Tech Paul,
    I stopped using Google Docs because I read somewhere that information, for example from a resume, can be stolen. What is the security risk in using such an application?
    KE

    Like

    Comment by Kathryn Entwistle | January 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Ms Entwistle,
      I would love to use your question as an excuse to pontificate on why “cloud computing” is a very, very bad idea… but I won’t (for one thing, nobody wants to hear it), I will try to answer your specific question:
      I have not heard or read about someone having a Google Docs document “stolen”, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened… If I guessed your Username+password, I could access anything in your online account (as happened to Sarah Palin and a few famous “celebrities”). Google. Hotmail. Your bank.
      What my issue with Google is privacy, and “data mining“. They have “bots” which scan every word you type, looking for “keywords”, and for “indexing” purposes. (Google is not alone in this by any means).
      If you use Gmail, try this experiment. Send yourself a short note talking about something rather obscure.. like, say, quick drying swimming pool cement, or.. French helmets from World War I. Then, open your self-sent note.. and look at the ads on the page. How did they do that?

      Never forget: everything you transmit across the wires, or “post online”, is permanently stored.

      For those of you who do personal things while at work should read, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2007/09/06/they-are-reading-your-mail/

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | January 2, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hey Paul,
    Tnx for all the links and suggestions, and help this past year.

    However, I need to point out that Yahoo closed down their online video editor “Jumpcut” in July of 2009. If any attempt to click through to it they will get Yahoo’s homepage.

    Like

    Comment by Ron | January 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Ron,
      I sincerely thank you for taking the time to write and point out the obsolete link. It’s no excuse for sloppy work, but during holidays I often pull older articles off the shelf, dust them off, and re-post them.. as was the case here.
      I will modify the article mucho muy mas pronto.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | January 2, 2010 | Reply


Post your Comment/Question

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: