Hardware + Software in the Cloud = The $99 Computer

We’re a mobile society.  We like things now, the way we want them, without deviation.  Cloud computing, at least in the beginning, will force all users to retrain themselves in how they use computer hardware and software in terms of flexibility and mobility.  As you might be noticing throughout our series, cloud computing restricts the digital experience in one sense and expands it in another.  The shifts that cloud computing bring will not only be in the concepts of online security in the cloud but the concepts of hardware and software will shift as well.

The Advent of Consumable Hardware

Cloud computing will spell the end of traditional hardware setups as more and more of the required computing power is done offsite rather than through the local computer.  Existing cloud-based systems are already decreasing the dependence of the local computer by allowing you to access and view everything from any device, whether it’s from your iPhone or a friend’s computer.  I’ve talked about Google’s Chromebook in the past and this is only the beginning of a new trend – one that threatens traditional business models…  Computers will become more consumable and will either be offered at cheap prices to encourage the use of a particular cloud based system or will be offered at a subscription rate and you will pay as you go.  Since cloud computing decreases the dependence of the local machine, it is easy for me to see a computer system existing soon that can be replaced for $99 rather than warranting necessary repair or upgrade.  This advance will change how companies like LaptopMD operate.  As we have for the past 15 years, though, we will continue to adapt to the changing technology market and continue to bring our expertise to bear.  Technology service companies will always be needed and small business support will be a growing market in the coming years for us as companies look to outsource their hardware needs (even though they’ll be going to the cloud). Continue reading

Trust in the Cloud – Will You Be Safe?

Security in the Cloud

Yesterday, I shared with you the new era of cloud computing and explained how online web applications will eventually replace our traditional operating systems.  In this post I look at the security issues with putting your entire digital life in the cloud.

Do you trust others with protecting and taking care of your sensitive data, photos, and other important computer documents?

Computer security is a top priority and as we’ve learned with viruses and related hoaxes the best defense against such attacks is often placed on the end user (the person who uses the files).  Where trust is one-dimensional in traditional computing practices, cloud computing requires placing trust of your ‘system’ in the hands of individuals who may or may not have your particular interests in the forefront of their mind.  Today, I look at how individuals will have to share the trust (often forcibly so) of their cloud ‘systems’ with others or be restrained by the decisions of others in terms of security, safety, data retrieval. Continue reading

Future Tech: The Advent of Cloud Computing

Advent of Cloud ComputingTechnology is an ever-shifting paradigm, as evidenced by the forthcoming Chromebook and last week’s announcement of Apple’s iCloud.  When I first started working with computers no one knew what an iPod was and very few people had palm pilots (remember those!?).  A major important shift that I’m seeing in technology nowadays is the move to the cloud or online based computing.  With this shift, I see several inherent drawbacks for users and businesses alike but there are also several areas of promise.  Over the next week I will take a look at the inherent drawbacks and the good possibilities that the future holds with the advent of cloud computing.  Additionally, we will be looking at the benefits of cloud computing and end users can benefit from this shift.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing can be a vague term meaning several things.  In the simplest sense the term can mean “online access to and storage of files and media traditionally stored one’s ‘local’ desktop”.  In a more pure form, cloud computing is referred to as “interconnected but independent web apps accessed in a strictly online sense with little or no dependence of a local computer or storage apparatus”.  The processing or ‘thinking’ power, a key component, is accomplished by the local machine in the first instance (largely described as a glorified online storage system with built-in sharing and viewing capabilities) and is handled by the online server rather than the local computer in the second definition, harkening back to the old ‘mainframe’ with a terminal which accesses different ‘offsite’ programs.  Whatever the chosen application, the way consumers interact with their files is changing and that change will present many hurdles for consumers and companies alike. Continue reading

Google Music: From the Cloud To Your Ears

LaptopMD Reviews Google MusicWell, it looks like Google’s much-anticipated music streaming service is here. With little fanfare, as with most of their product roll-outs, Google has entered the highly competitive and exponentially growing cloud storage and streaming arena.

Google is no stranger to cloud storage(or at least semi-cloud, since so far most of these services don’t use real cloud technology but instead house the information in traditional data centers). In fact, Gmail has been a de-facto cloud storage service since it’s inception, when it promised to allow significantly more storage space than any other web-based mail service at the time. More recently, Google Docs has been a little-heralded but extremely useful cloud storage service. Though it started by only storing certain file formats, it has recently expanded to allow users to store any file they want on Google’s servers. Google Music is then a natural growth for the company, following a long and well-charted path that the company has been on since the beginning.

Continue reading

The Google Chromebook is Almost Here

Google Chrome LogoA couple of weeks ago I posted a blurb on the LaptopMD Facebook Page sharing with you Google’s announcement of their newly announced Chromebook.  As you may remember, in February I previewed a pre-release Google laptop that I received and had an opportunity to ‘play’ with.

You can read the summary of the announcement on PCWorld but here are some important details regarding the recently announced Google Chromebook:

Availability: June 15th – You will be able to place orders through Amazon, BestBuy, and other retailers

Pricing: Google will offer two tiers of pricing.  You will be able to buy and own a Chromebook starting at $349.  However, students and educators can subscribe to the Google Chromebook (as a service) for $20 per month and businesses will be able to take advantage of a similar subscription service for $28 per month.

What You Get: Untethered online access to web applications and more including Google’s growing cadre of services including the forthcoming Google Music service.

Tech Specs: 6 to 8 hour battery life, integrated WiFi on all models with 3G connectivity available on select models (up to 100MB free with additional bandwidth available from Verizon Wireless), HD Webcam, 2 USB Ports, and more.  View additional tech specs for the Samsung and Acer models recently announced.

The Google Chromebook is an exciting realization of “living in the cloud” and cloud computing as I talked about in my earlier post.  Be sure to check the Google Chrome website, as well as this blog in the future, for more information about the Google Chromebook!

What’s your reaction to the Google Chromebook – will you be buying one?  Tell us in the comments.