Takign advantage of the cloud
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 22:09
I have always been incredibly interested in “the cloud,” both for practical and economic reasons. The term itself is incredibly vague, with a variety of different definitions floating around (pun intended) with one common trait—storing, managing or processing data remotely accessed on another device. While this concept has been around since the 1950s, it truly began to be a buzz word quite recently thanks to ever-increasing methods of accessing the Internet. After all, nearly every college student on campus has a laptop, tablet or smartphone with them at all times.
So, what are some common examples of this “cloud,” and how can clouds help you save time and money? Perhaps the most basic examples are sites that let users store content, such as Google Drive and Dropbox. Both services keep your files easily accessible from any location with Internet access. For instance, Dropbox allows you to create a free account on dropbox.com and upload your files to their secure site.
To increase efficiency, you can install a Dropbox folder on any computer you use and sign in with your account. This folder will look identical to all other folders on your PC but will automatically upload any files and update any changes to the cloud. Ultimately, you are able to seamlessly work across an unlimited number of devices and pull up any assignments in an instant without having to worry about emailing yourself individual files or storing them on a flash drive or external hard drive. While Dropbox starts at a relatively low tier of 2 GB, you can upgrade your storage amount for free through a variety of marketing-oriented actions, such as referring friends.
Other cloud-based services have more specific purposes with the same goal of providing easily-accessible data. My personal favorite is the music feature of Google Play Music, which allows users to store music on Google’s cloud and listen to it from up to ten devices. Currently, Google allows users to upload 20,000 songs for free. For comparison, that is roughly 80 GB worth of music—more than any iPod except for the largest iPod classic. The music can be played over WiFi or mobile data and favorite songs or albums can be downloaded right onto the device they are being played on if the user wishes to listen to them offline.
Of course, the ability to access content from any Internet-connected device is not only convenient but also proactive for avoiding potential losses. Important financial data, for example, can be stored on reputable cloud providers’ servers, and suddenly, your hard drive failing or laptop being stolen is no longer as large a catastrophe. Forgetting to send yourself an email with the latest version of your report (or simply forgetting to attach it) is no longer an issue if you were working on a cloud-connected folder or even an online service like Google Docs. There is a wealth of free services out there to help save your valuable time — and the number is growing every day.