What is "The Cloud" and why do I need it?

From Evernote:

What is "The Cloud" and why do I need it?

The Cloud refers to a number of systems and services that are accessible on the Internet. Probably the most commonly used cloud service is webmail. If you have an email account - from just about anyone - you more than likely can view your messages from a web browser on just about any computer or device that connects to the Internet.

As we begin using more and more mobile devices, cloud storage has made it possible to access data from just about anywhere. For example, if you use a photo-sharing service like Flickr  you can upload photos from your desktop, your smart phone and sometimes even your camera. And, as soon as the upload is complete, that photo is available from any of your computers or devices. 

Cloud computing also covers a growing number of useful services that operate online. One very good example is Evernote - the notes management service. If you create or capture a note on one computer/device, it's immediately available to you on any of your devices. Microsoft Office has a subscription service to use their apps online instead of installing them on your computer. When the apps are updated, its all done for you. You don't need to maintain it yourself. Apple uses its iCloud online storage service to seamlessly move files (photos, documents, presentations, etc.) between your desktop, iPhone and iPad. Take a picture on your iPhone and when you get home you'll find it waiting for you on your iPad and your computer.

It does take a bit of setup - connecting your app to the appropriate cloud storage account - but once that's done, your app will take care of the rest. Here are a number of commonly used cloud services:
  • Dropbox - cloud storage. Users get 5GB storage free. Many mobile apps can connect to Dropbox for additional storage. There is also a Dropbox app used to manage the files you have stored there.
  • iCloud - Apple's cloud storage service. It supports synchronizing email, calendars, contacts and other basic information between your devices and desktop as well as providing an online location to backup the contents of your iPhone and iPad.
  • Amazon Cloud Drive - cloud storage. Users get 5GB free.
  • Box  - cloud storage. Users get 5GB free. 
  • Mozy - cloud backup.
  • Carbonite - cloud backup. 

How the New iWork for iCloud Works With Your Apple Devices [feedly]

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How the New iWork for iCloud Works With Your Apple Devices

Back in June, during its WWDC conference, Apple released the beta version of its iWork for iCloud applications to registered developers, but now the online programs are slowly being released to general iCloud members. iWork for iCloud is a suite of online office applications (consisting of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) that sync with the Mac and iOS versions of the programs. The online versions of iWork mirror most of the main features of the desktop versions, and users will be able to import and edit Word files online as well. The final version of iWork for iCloud will likely be...

Read the full article: How the New iWork for iCloud Works With Your Apple Devices

- - Denise

Alien Signal Receptor

I love old glass. It’s probably an inherited trait because most of my current collection comes from my mother’s family. From heritage crystal and cut glass to various vintages of souvenir glasses to old medicine bottles, I treasure it all. I also have a very nice collection of old glass insulators – like the blue one on the right in this photo.

Glass insulators originated before the Civil War with the advent of the telegraph. Something was needed to keep the wire from grounding out against the wooden poles and glass was the answer. There were all kinds of insulators developed over the years. Although there is a large community of collectors, most varieties are a dime a dozen these days – including all of mine. I still love them – the shapes and colors add interest to a displayed collection of bottles and a touch of nostalgia.

One of our local shopkeepers has found a way to turn these dime-a-dozen insulators into a fun collectible. He adds squiggles and swirls of wire with all kinds of glass beads to make a quirky object d’ art he calls an alien signal receptor. For those too young to know what a glass insulator is, these are unique – and very cool – souvenirs of their trip to Florida. I’m amused to watch these pieces of whimsy fly off his shelves.

When we decided to build our bottle tree, we knew from the beginning that there was only one thing that could top our masterpiece – our own version of an alien signal receptor. Over the years, the honeysuckle and wild grape have destroyed the “orbits” of the various beads satellites circling the mother ship, but the blue insulator still reigns from its place of honor in the back yard.