Author Archive

The Right Switch

October 1, 2009

     Computers are fairly important to me. I wouldn’t say that I use them any more than most other people, and I definitely wouldn’t say that I know anything more about them than the average person. However, it seems that I’ve been depending more and more on my computer to do everyday work. More specifically, the using the internet has become quite a daily routine. I use the web for everything from staying in contact with friends to buying school books. This is what made the article “The Big Switch,” by Nicholas Carr, so interesting to me. When I was younger, all I would use were hard copies of programs and games. Nowadays, I barely ever use the computer itself to do these things. Most games are now played on the internet, as well as almost any application you would need for schoolwork or work in general. Therefore, I found it very interesting when Carr said the following:

Now that they’ve been connected with fiber optic cables, all the machines hooked up to the Net are merging together into one giant, incredibly powerful computer – the World Wide Computer. Our own personal PCs, not to mention our cell phones and gaming consoles, are turning into terminals hooked up to that big shared computer. They get most of their power and usefulness from all the software and information that’s floating around out on the Net.

As I said earlier, most of my computer usage is through the internet, which means that I have been experiencing the big switch without even noticing it. 

     I think that this ‘Big Switch’ is definitely a good thing overall. Because everything is available online, there is no need to run out to the store every time you need to use a new application or program. This makes information much more accessible, meaning that instead of running out to buy the newest version of software to install on your computer, you can download it straight from a website. This also makes the need to buy newer versions of software obsolete. One aspect of the big switch that I didn’t predict, however, is the loss of many middle-class jobs. The workers who would be hit the hardest would be the computer technicians and any other people who worked on the computer itself. Some of these jobs could be allocated to work on something concerning the new mass of information on the internet, or the ‘World Wide Computer.’ Technicians would be needed to protect this information and to make sure that everything was running smoothly, but there would still be a large amount of people out of work. 

Despite the loss of jobs, I see the ‘Big Switch’ as a good thing. Without needing to run applications off of the computer itself, the process of using computer applications would become much easier and much more accessible. As far as I’m concerned, anything that allows me to deal with computer software less is a good thing.

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Cloud Computing to the max!

October 1, 2009

Before taking my computer science class, I had never heard of anything concerning cloud computing. That is, I had never thought I knew anything about it. It turns out that I use something working off of a cloud every day. Every time I’ve ever signed on to Facebook or watched a Youtube video, I’ve benefited from the cloud. After learning a bit more about it and how it works, I believe that cloud computing is one of the better ideas in the computer world. The main benefit I see from working with a cloud is that it would be much easier to start a successful online business. Instead of needing to invest a fortune in servers and bandwidth storage, one can use the resources within the cloud to handle almost all of the processes involved in the running of a business. For example, the application based out of New York called Animoto had doubts about whether or not they had enough space, servers, or other resources to successfully run their business. After looking into cloud computing services based out of Amazon, however, they found that they could use as much bandwidth and as many servers as necessary. In fact, during one of their biggest peaks in usage, Animoto didn’t have to buy a single server. This shows just how versatile the cloud can actually be.

     The other main benefit that I see coming from cloud computing is that it’s possible to run many useful applications using the cloud. Websites like Facebook, Wikipedia, and even USF’s blackboard program are all examples of cloud computing at work. Instead of needing to buy extra memory for a computer, you are able to store anything necessary in the cloud. It is also convenient because you don’t necessarily need to worry as much about the security of your information. Instead of buying expensive external hard drives, all of your data is stored via the cloud. If cloud computing continues to progress as it is now, there’s no telling what could be in store for us next.

For those still confused as to exactly what cloud computing is, I found that this video explained it pretty well.