or, why it’s ok for a truck to crush your laptop
Modern computing in the age of the Internet is quite a strange, remarkable thing. As you sit hunched over your laptop at home watching a YouTube video or using a search engine, you’re actually plugging into the collective power of thousands of computers that serve all this information to you from far-away rooms distributed around the world. It’s almost like having a massive supercomputer at your beck and call, thanks to the Internet.
This phenomenon is what we typically refer to as cloud computing. We now read the news, listen to music, shop, watch TV shows and store our files on the web. Some of us live in cities in which nearly every museum, bank, and government office has a website. The end result? We spend less time in lines or on the phone, as these websites allow us to do things like pay bills and make reservations. The movement of many of our daily tasks online enables us to live more fully in the real world.
Cloud computing offers other benefits as well. Not too long ago, many of us worried about losing our documents, photos and files if something bad happened to our computers, like a virus or a hardware malfunction. Today, our data is migrating beyond the boundaries of our personal computers. Instead, we’re moving our data online into “the cloud”. If you upload your photos, store critical files online and use a web-based email service like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, an 18-wheel truck could run over your laptop and all your data would still safely reside on the web, accessible from any Internet-connected computer, anywhere in the world.