“… it’s cloud illusions I recall; I really don’t know clouds at all.”
The great Joni Mitchell wrote these lyrics for “Both Sides Now” decades ago, and they are truer now than then. Especially when you apply them to computers, which didn’t even exist when Joni put pen to paper.
Perhaps she had a premonition?
I’ve mentioned cloud computing before in this blog, but let’s go over it’s definition again for those of you not under 25 or members of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.
Cloud computing allows users to access their local server resources using a computer, netbook, pad computer, smart phone, or other device anywhere, anytime. In cloud computing, applications are provided and managed by the cloud server and data is also stored remotely in the cloud configuration. Users do not download and install applications on their own device or computer; all processing and storage is maintained by the cloud server. The information is stored online instead of on a device. The on-line services may be offered from a cloud provider or or by a private organization or company.
A familiar face
Enter (who else?) that ubiquitous company known by its signature fruit: Apple.
In case you haven’t heard this ancient news — announced last week — Apple unveiled its iCloud service which will offer remote, wireless updates of music, photos, apps, and other data for iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and computers, The company refers to this as “PC-free.”
USA Today writer Jefferson Graham noted recently that companies like Google and Amazon have been working on the “cloud” always-on computer application that nests on internet servers. But Apple has taken this a step freer, offering the same service for wireless-device users anywhere.
Leader of the pack
“The iCloud service, which will launch in the fall replaces Apple’s failed $99 yearly MobileMe service, which is no longer accepting customers,” Graham wrote. “Reaction was swift: Apple’s move and its soon-to-open $500 million new data center in North Carolina, puts it in a leadership position, analysts say.”
The service was demonstrated recently at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, that mega-event for digital mavens held annually in San Francisco. It’s the favorite venue for unveiling of new Apple products and services. In the demo, Apple VP Eddy Cue shot a photo on an iPhone. He next opened an iPad and the iPhoto software on a MacBook (convenient these are all Apple products, no?) and the photograph popped up on the screen in a few seconds.
Back it up
If that isn’t enough, Apple also notes that iCloud can be used as a back-up device for all your data.
“If you get a new iPhone, just type in your Apple iD and password, and everything will be downloaded to the new phone,” explained Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Apple’s website simply notes,”iCloud stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices. And because it seamlessly integrates with your apps. everything happens automatically.”
Launching in fall
The iCloud service, which comes as part of the iOS 5 mobile operating system from Apple, is due to launch in the fall and will contain 5G of storage space. Apple says it has added over 200 new features to the updated system.
Tech writer Phil Goldenstein has probed the impact that iCloud will have on 3G networks, wondering if it will crush them. His answer: probably not.
“According to CCS Insight analyst John Jackson, Apple must have concluded that users of their products have access to Wi-Fi networks with sufficient regularity that the service will be broadly accessible,” Goldenstein writes. “But what happens if a user doesn’t have access to a Wi-Fi hotspot? Will traffic get routed over the cellular network? Or will the cloud upload just be put on hold until users get in range of a Wi-Fi access point? Apple isn’t saying.”
I think I just saw my cell phone bill increase. What else is new?
USA Today said it best in its Tuesday story this week on embattled New York Rep. Anthony Weiner who was caught in a web – literally and figuratively – of his own making.
“Weiner’s news conference in a New York hotel reflected a dramatic collision between the anonymity of social media and the relentless scrutiny of public officials by partisans also enabled by the Internet,” Susan Page wrote.
For anyone who hasn’t tuned in to this latest political scandal, a very married Rep. Weiner acknowledged last Monday he has been involved in sexually-laced exchanges on the web with several women over the past three years. In the course of these exchanges, Weiner posted bare-torso photos of himself which have, by this time, been circulated publicly around the world by the news media.
It’s basic sexting
It’s a practice that has become well known over the past couple years – although more often by teens and pre-teens – called sexting.
What made this admission more grating was it came on the heels of his lying about it several times and even asserting he was being victimized by someone else who posted photos of his torso. He recanted that on Monday and admitted to lying.
Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter open up new ways for people like Weiner to get into trouble, often under the mistaken notion that their Internet communications with other individuals will be cloaked in privacy.
Exposing dark sides
But that’s not the way the Internet works, is it? The same web that allows us to have one-on-one exchanges with other persons is also the web that is often used to expose one’s dark-side dalliances.
The culture of the Internet is, after all, one of openness. You may be able to find whatever you want (good and bad) on the web, but can’t expect that search to remain private, especially if others have a vested interest in finding out what you’re up to.
Inviting, but dangerous
“Social media networks have opened up new possibilities for missteps,” Page writes in USA Today. “And for quick and dramatic exposure of such scandals.”
One of the women on the receiving end of Weiner’s messages and photos was Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old single mother from Texas. Willing to puncture the congressman’s misplaced belief in privacy, Broussard released to ABC News several Facebook posts and photos, together with other messages, she had received from Weiner.
Together, these communications appeared to detail a flirting congressman willing to engage in a sexually explicit web relationship with Broussard. Among his Facebook messages to her, she said, was the following: “What are you wearing? What do you like? You know, in the bedroom.”
Some poll findings
The issue of sexting has been around long enough to have drawn quite a few opinions about it, and whether it constitutes being unfaithful. A 2004 ABC News survey and a 2010 survey from Pew Internet and American Life Project show the following:
* 64 percent of adults believe people who have sex talk in Internet chat rooms are being unfaithful to their spouses or significant others.
* 15 percent of adults say they have received sexually suggestive photo or video messages on their cellphone.
* 6 percent of adults admit to having sent such messages.
* 31 percent of 18-29-year-olds say they have seen an explicit photo or video message.
* 13 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds have admitted to sending an explicit text message.
The ABCs of behavior
Joseph Mercurio, a New York political consultant for Democratic candidates, told reporters, “I always give candidates a briefing on what to do and not to do with social media. But I never thought I’d have to tell a congressman to not be sexting.”