Mobile computing vs. cloud computing

Mobile computing vs. cloud computing

Summary: There has been for some while “heated debates” amongst fellow blogospherians (probably not a word, don’t comment and bitch about it please) about all these cloud services we’re hearing about. First we had Windows Live SkyDrive which now offers 5GB of storage space, and rumours of GDrive keep hitting the news.

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googlecloud1.pngwindowscloud.pngThere has been for some while “heated debates” amongst fellow blogospherians (probably not a word, don’t comment and bitch about it please) about all these cloud services we’re hearing about. First we had Windows Live SkyDrive which now offers 5GB of storage space, and rumours of GDrive keep hitting the news. Now there’s Live Mesh which overly complicates the matter because storage seems to be flying everywhere at the moment.

Students often have storage space everywhere. From flash memory disks, to their email inboxes, university network space, external hard drives, even printed out paper (but that’s far too 17th century for my liking). How on earth can you differentiate between one device and another? Surely it just makes things difficult when trying to find something?

Let me quickly whiz over the basics of what each are and do:

Cloud computing, one of the new buzz words of 2008, allows you to store your files and folders in a “cloud” area on the Internet, allowing you access to all of your files and folders wherever you are in the world – but you do need a physical device with Internet access to access it.

Mobile computing is taking a physical device with you. This could be a laptop or a mobile phone or some device which enables you to telework – working wherever you go because of the small size of the device you’re using.

Either way, there will be some drawbacks. I’m not going to focus on the positives too much, simply because being able to do work shouldn’t have to be a positive thing, rather something we should just be able to do without any concern.

Focusing for the time being on mobile computing – let’s face it, even for non-students it generally means lugging a laptop around with you. You have to open it up, turn it on, plug it in to the mains, get the wireless settings sorted – by the time you’ve done all that faffing around you have to get something else done. For the lucky ones, you can use a Blackberry or a handheld device to work with. Even then the buttons are tiny, and months of living off nothing but sausages, crisps (chips), chocolate and beer, you’ve gained so much wait you mash the keypad with your finger because they’ve become huge and fat.

Cloud computing isn’t that much better. Sure, you can have all your files synchronised between devices so wherever you go, you’ll always have access to your files, but the technology doesn’t fully exist yet. It’s getting there, but it’s slow and temperamental, difficult to use and often the average user (even me, an advanced user) gets confused as to where the files are actually stored and/or where else they are stored. Even though you don’t need to carry round a laptop with you, you still need some physical device to access your service which almost defeats the point anyway. Having everything in your very own secure cloud so you can access anything anywhere is put back by the fact you have to find a computer to use anyway.

In my opinion, get a search application installed and just use a flash drive. You can hold up to 2GB-4GB on even the cheaper ones, you do need a computer to use it but at least you can fit everything you need to physically store your files in your pocket.

Topics: Wi-Fi, Cloud, Hardware, Mobility, Networking

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14 comments
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  • Still confused as to Clouding Computing

    From you explanation it would appear i could store files on my home computer, access them from a laptop and this would be "cloud computing"

    My understanding was: you could store your files anywhere on a companies (and affiliates) web applications and that company would provide you a means to access your files from a central "company" defined application. Sort of a big web based disk.

    My question would be: aside from having to remember where i stored the files does cloud computing really differ from just storing files on someones web server.

    Another question would be data access and interchange between competing companies - won't this deteriorate into an even greater "standards" and "open access" problem???
    bcarpent1228@...
    • A Key Question

      I think your last paragraph is a significant thing to ask. If a
      software/hardware seller had owned the world wide web in
      the early 90s, it would have gone nowhere. Even as it was,
      there was some poisoning of html by companies who tried
      a land grab and we still have the effects with increased
      costs for web developers and commercial web sites which
      say we won't take your money unless you have the correct
      browser. Good news: standards won, now there's all that
      legacy sludge to clean up.

      It seems to me that the increase in resource-limited
      mobile devices implies an increase in cloud computing, but
      I may very well misunderstand what that terms means.

      I thought cloud computing was a variation on the thin-
      client idea, where in the cloud is the centralized database
      and the application. The client sends messages, receives
      data and is responsible for formatting and some
      lightweight computations.
      DannyO_0x98
  • Don't like the external dependency

    This article is typical of the senseless low-quality crap that regularly fills ZDnet and that's only designed to draw readers in. Can't you guys at least spend some more time on this? Some real arguments? Something thought provoking?

    That said.

    I just don't like the idea of putting all my files on the internet. Internet is still slow. You become unnnecessarily dependant on the availability of remote services. You lose control. You lose self-sufficiency.
    kouzen
    • RE: Don't like the external dependency

      Why don't you start a blog, and start writing about something thought provoking, based upon real arguments? Until you've got something with more substance to say, rather than "senseless low-quality crap", keep it to yourself.
      zwhittaker
    • Slow?

      I suppose it depends upon your connection speed and what you are trying to do. A typical broadband connection today is close to 10Mbps but it is shared. A typical DSL connection is more like 768Kbps to 1.5Mbps (downsteam) but it is not shared. (Comparable to 3G cellular service.) These speeds are good enough for many things -- but certainly not all. Then again, these are baseline services. The more you are willing to pay, the faster a connection you can get.

      Loss of control is exchanged for improved security. Data on a flash drive is neither safe nor secure. Data sitting on your Internet-connected computer at home is pretty safe until your hard drive fails, your house burns down, or a thief breaks in and steals your stuff.

      Data stored in a corporate IT environment backed-up regularly is as safe as it can be - but even then, some IT shops are better prepared for disaster than others. More secure usually means more $$$.

      There is a cost/benefit to securing your data and accessibility/control may be one of those trade-offs made to insure that the data remains intact -- no matter what.
      M Wagner
  • RE: Mobile computing vs. cloud computing

    Kouzen may be a tad ignorant...but he's right. The whole Max Headroom, Tekwar, etc. vision of immediate access to the web, all data available from any device is great...except where real security concerns come into play.

    I've been watching the real debate about the cloud and its consequenses. There's a lot of potential collateral damage out there (data corruption, data theft, identity theft, IP theft, etc.) due to absence of standards and regulation. Unless we forego vital information from populating the cloud there will likely be problems that nobody will be willing to pay for. That coupled with the inept legislation/code (like HIPAA) that is being generated. Additionally, the fed's lack of regard for privacy issues makes this a disaster looking for a location.

    On a smaller scale, I can see a lot of benefits. It's just (my take) that the players involved seem hell-bent on world domination. Sadly, if not overly melodramatically, that could be the outcome of too much data aggregation.
    nwoodson@...
  • RE: Mobile computing vs. cloud computing

    A USB flash drive is of limited value -- especially if you are expecting the computer that you sit down at to always have the right software installed to read the files on the flash drive.

    Plus flash drives can get lost or damaged. If the data is important enough to carry around, it is important enough to to have a back-up elsewhere. On the other hand, if the data is stored on an Internet accessible device (call it 'in the clouds' if you like), then you can access it literally from anyplace with cellular or land-line service.

    Whether you need a fully-functional mobile device like a laptop or can live with a smartphone or other thin-client (browser-only) device is directly dependent upon the extent of your need -- and how much you are willing to spend.
    M Wagner
  • It will be Cloud with rfc to go with a dose of 2008 irq:: SSD hard drives!!

    It is all coming around; call Granny on her iphone with the Escalade White compaq (sp) of three shades of purple and orange. That's the ole SSD Granny. I remember when LG was soneone elses motherboard; about the time Navy Surplus was all Windows 98 stuff, in 2006. You even got a free Gayyoyo! from the desk clerk. Now you think I'm swishy, but women with their bag of tricks have delt me the finger. Snu!!!
    rtirman37@...
  • Infinite frequency

    Every trillionth of a second each trillion parts of a second divide into a trillion parts again.Infinite frequency was attained by stacking these modules until the parts would no longer sub divide.On the scope was seen the DC dash of a dimensional particle of time.The infinite number was staggering in size and related to the atom.
    anonymous
  • Digital DC is set to infinite

    The frequency of the pulses of DC that DC power the memory chip in all DC digital devices had to be set to this infinite for digital itself to work.The DC had to be synced to work.The rest was magic
    anonymous
  • Computing in the cloud... the next big thing

    "but the technology doesn???t fully exist yet. It???s getting there, but it???s slow and temperamental, difficult to use and often the average user (even me, an advanced user) gets confused as to where the files are actually stored and/or where else they are stored."

    I was just accepted to the MS Live Mesh testing program on Friday and I am totally digging the software. It works like a dream.

    They are still in the process of adding new features and getting the code to work on more platforms (Mac & Cellphones), but the software functionality between PCs and the live desktop work great.

    Once the software is installed and configured, it couldn't be easier to use... I would have to ask if you had a chance to try Mesh because you said that cloud computing was too complicated, and yet Mesh is anything but.

    I think Mesh is likely to be a huge game changer in the way people work with computers.

    My guess: Mesh is going to be built into Win7, and it's going to help MS to expand their online businesses heavily. It will be an extremely popular tool beacause it is so simple to use and allows individuals to easily manage all their documents across different devices.

    Anyway, having the pleasure to use the software, I am pretty sure that it is going to be Microsoft's next big thing. With the feed functionality and the effortless syncing of files between various computers, it gives the lonely desktop a "facebook feel" and my generation really likes their facebook!
    Edesw88
    • Cloudy Weather Ahead

      "It will be an extremely popular tool beacause it is so simple to use and allows individuals to easily manage all their documents across different devices."

      Typical non-user question, go: how does this work with virus scanning and cleaning devices? A virus, for instance, hiding in the "cloud" would be able to infect every local computer that connects to it. Meanwhile, many virus scanners suggest you "close your Internet connection" or "boot in Safe Mode" for "best results."

      Beyond that, I think the term "cloud" is terribly misleading to people looking at this product/service from a distance.
      FateJHedgehog@...
  • The DC rails had to be in sync

    One the left side of the chip is DC minus on the right DC plus.In between is the magnetic recording substrate.The pulse of Plus had to exactly match the location of the minus pulse.Like the track of a train the ties connect the rails.From there on it was like analog recording.
    anonymous
  • The DC rails are permanently recorded

    The DC minus and plus rails are permanently recorded at a very high voltage on to the recording material.All chips have these pulses in exactly the same place in all digital memory chips like the BIOS,Chipset and CPU.
    anonymous