Cloud Computing

Three and a half floppy diskettes became the pinnacle of data storage during my childhood. At school, I would slide the metal cover and gaze raptly at the nearly opaque disk inside. When I discovered the write-protect tab at the bottom, I felt like a genius. I saved my precious text files in my brightly colored diskettes, careful not to exceed the 720 KB limit.

Then, lo and behold, they came up with a 1.44 MB disk! Will wonders never cease? Did technology have any limits?

Well, yes, c.f. the flying car. But today's topic is data storage.

We exceeded even the miraculous 3.5" floppy with the magnificent hard disk drives, still the same size, but tucked away in your PC. Laptops got by with an HDD exactly one inch smaller. In accordance with Moore's Law, computer hardware advanced by leaps and bounds, please do pardon the cliche. In college, my Dell had a whopping 60 GB of memory. In grad school, my Lenovo boasted more than twice that space. In real life, my MacBook enticed me to fill up its 250 GB.

So of course, now I whine when Google only allocates 5 GB to my Drive. I pout when Amazon makes me pay for more storage space for my music. Somewhere along the line, files got bigger, just like my sense of entitlement. And unlike paper files heaped into boxes that trip you over, digital files hide away in virtual folders, their numbers growing as users blissfully click "Save." Don't even get me started on finding a free site for all my photos. And before you ask, no, I don't use Facebook. However, I do read Failbook, for the lulz.

If you're a normal computer user comme moi, your personal digital files will be divided into three categories: photos, music, and MS Office crap. If you're a pirate, you'll also have movies, games, and tons more music. Don't worry; there is no judging here.

Artists have Photoshop files. Architects and engineers who take their work home wind up with gigantaur CADs. Moms will have a bajillion photos, but require assistance to view them. And so on.

The point is, we are in the era of cloud computing, so you'd better have all those files backed up in whichever cloud catches your fancy. Google Drive, Amazon Cloud, Dropbox, Box, iCloud, SugarSync, whatevs. Just do it. That way, if your Acer/Mac/Vaio/Alienware spontaneously combusts from all that porn processor-intensive activity, you won't have to pray to the hard drive gods for salvation. You just log into the Cloud, retrieve your backups, and feel like a tech-savvy, postmodern human. Voilà.

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