#52Tech Week 40 – Life in the Cloud

Most writers are using (possibly abusing) cloud storage. Many of us may be unaware of just how many of our apps and routine digital lives make use of cloud storage, and with the whole heartbleed and naked celebrity problems of late, others may be questioning this usage.

I can remember a time when storage on the web wasn’t a difficult concept, given our lack of hard-drive storage space. Back then, the term “cloud” hadn’t existed. But what is cloud, and where do we find it?

Part of this post for today’s #52Tech is supported by Single Hop, a cloud storage company. Here’s their quick explanation of what cloud is –

“In a nutshell, the cloud is a way to store data remotely, rather than on your home computer. This gives you easy access to your photos, documents, and other files from anywhere at any time. We are hoping that by spreading awareness about how the cloud works, we can help others make smarter decisions about what they post/share online. “

I’ve long been using cloud storage personally.

  • Evernote – stores all the notes through a web server, so that notes can be accessed anywhere.
  • Every PC I’ve bought over the last few years has come with some degree of cloud storage, as has my photo-editing software of choice.
  • Perhaps my first awareness of web based storage came with signing up for a gmail address. Suddenly, not only did I have emails, but quite a large storage capacity – I used to store documents in emails drafted to myself, before Google Drive arrived. Google Apps, particularly the spreadsheets and doc apps provided – and still do – some excellent sharing functions with other people.
  • Adobe and Microsoft moved all their products and licenses onto the cloud, and enforced a subscription base to use the latest versions of products like Photoshop, or Microsoft Office. (This one annoys me, as internet usage is not wholy dependable around here.)
  • I’m not a huge social media user, but the integration of Facebook with everything means my world is full of notifications and messages both from actual old high school friends and newly found virtual friends.
  • I’ve newly discovered Spotify (yes, late to the game, I know) and streaming music playlists too. They work as both a motivator and inspiration for my writing.
  • My Amazon account cloud storage allows all the ebooks I read to download and sync across multiple devices so that I can pick up my books anywhere. Similarly, iBooks work the same – but with the new family sharing of iOS8, can be shared with family members too.
  • Mobile devices take great videos nowadays. Who hasn’t streamed a new video up to Youtube for conversion and sharing to family or friends? My latest (poor) effort was of the ice bucket challenge.
  • Dropbox is my main file sharing app, allowing me to store and share across my writing documents from and to my desktop and mobile devices. I’ve also used Dropbox cloud storage to setup folders and links for sharing photographs of my daughter’s softball team to all the team parents and coaches.
  • This blog sits on WordPress.com – which keeps my blog posts on a web server.  Via various third party webapps like IFTTT, I keep a copy of each post as it publishes, and this goes into Evernote as a blog archive. Self-hosted WordPress users (like my author site) also have plugins which send through backups of posts and data inside emails. Even with cloud storage, always think backup.

The latest upgrade of iOS to iOS 8 provides a good reference for both the good and bad of cloud storage and apps which work through it.

iOS8 came out just after the latest accusations of naked celebrity photos stored on the icloud not being deleted, and even hacked into somehow. Yet, it arrived with a lot more cloud-based features.

My family LOVEs the new family sharing opportunities – where we can share apps, music, and photographs across to each other (with the caveat that in it’s current state, photo-sharing is overly complicated, many apps don’t get on with the new photo streams, and version control problems exist on trying to edit a photo sitting elsewhere).

And a note for myself – photosharing over the new iOS8 interface is almost immediate – meaning that should I ever contemplate taking that nudey photograph of myself, my daughter might pick it up quicker than my husband.

Having faced broken EHD’s and huge storage requirements, having access to cloud storage facilities – at least for my precious recent photographs, and my writing manuscripts – provides a lot of comfort. And my world is much more mobile and accessible because of cloud also.

Life_in_the_Cloud

Some questions to ask yourself regarding cloud storage (via Single Hop) –

  • Do you stream music/videos from the cloud? Streaming services can give you access to millions of files or you can host your own files to share home movies with family and friends!

  • How do you use the cloud to streamline your work and stay productive in and out of the office?

  • How do you use social media, email or instant messaging to stay in touch with friends and family?

  • What apps do you use that run in the cloud? Apps often run on cloud servers (you can check out what we’re talking about here), that are accessed by millions. How would your life be different if you didn’t have access to the cloud?

Single Hop have inspired this post. A personal dedicated server and hosting, like Single Hop provide, would be a secure option for anybody contemplating a lot of data to keep on the cloud, and for safe access from whereever we may be. Take a look at their range of services.

Perhaps their last question above bears repeating –

How would your life be different if you didn’t have access to the cloud?

Do a quick inventory of your digital and working life. What apps do you use which utilise Cloud storage? What are your backup routines? What else matters?

52tech year#52Tech: This was Week 40 post in the #52tech goal – to investigate and share one technology post once a week for 2014. You can find all the posts indexed via the #52tech tag, or top menu option at hunterswritings.com

 

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