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Category Archives: Ch 9 – software-as-a-service
Infographics are all the rage these days, and a quick Google search reveals that there are many on cloud technology out there. The nice people of Geeky Globe have published a very detailed infographic that summarises the history of computing all the way to the cloud in a very comprehensive manner – it’s worth printing out and pinning it to the wall.
The cloud security provider Databarracks has published a Cloud terminology handbook that is available after registering for it (it is free!). It provides a very brief but comprehensive explanation of various cloud terms (old and new), such as BaaS, hypervisor or a fourth cloud deployment model after public, private and hybrid cloud – the community cloud. This white paper is a good resource to have.
When I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, I was a very avid video gamer, playing on the Commodore C64, Atari, and MS-DOS based video games. Like many that played back in the day, I have fond memories of very pixellated sprites (= game characters), point-and-click adventures like Monkey Island and Indiana Jones, and games that were spread over several floppy disks. For a game afficionado (that I still am to this day), it was almost tragic that with changes in technology and ever-increasing computer processing power, it was almost impossible to play these old games because they required the old systems. Floppy disk slots for instance have entirely disappeared from computers years ago.
However, after many years of weak emulations that rarely ran properly, the cloud once more provided the means to distribute old games via the internet. The (legitimate) website Software Library: MS-DOS Games enables retro-gamers to play the classics via web browser, a majority of them free of charge. In fact, many young gamers re-discover these old games, as user statistics of this website show. As such, it is an almost perfect marriage of new and old technology.
I have posted a few weeks ago about the new Office 2013. In this post, I would like to focus a more on Excel 2013, a great piece of software in my view. Here is a link to a great website that lists free Excel tutorials and reference websites for the 2013 version.
I have to admit – I am a massive comic book fan. Have been for the major part of the last 37 years, and will continue to do so because – well, why not?
As a young bloke, I was often unable to get my hands on the latest Batman or Spider-Man outing, and getting access to the original English versions was nigh impossible in Austria back in the 1980s. It got better with the likes of Amazon to order these comic books online, but a struggling genre was re-awakened by an adequate cloud-app based offering of comic books old and new ready to read immediately on tablets and computers. Although the old-school comic book reader in me was cautious at first (“It’s not the same unless it’s printed!”), I have to admit that it has its benefits. A well-adapted online comic book that for instance allows zooming into individual panels is quite a nice thing to use.
Here is an interesting article about the market leader in this segment, Comixology.
As the “internet of things” (e.g. the microwave, the fridge and one’s favourite sweater going online) is being promoted as the next big hype, here is an interesting blog by David Linthicum on InfoWorld how the public cloud could boost the advance of the “things” that could become accessible online.
The latest version of Microsoft Office, Office 2013, has an entirely cloud-based life called Office 365, indicating that a subscription to it (and not a one-off payment for the software suite) is valid for one full year.
The good news for all students and university teachers is: Microsoft offers a subscription model for university use, aptly named Office 365 University, with a four-years-for-the-price-of-one subscription, one terabyte of online storage, and the benefit to be able to access and work on your Word document or Excel spreadsheet on a tablet on the go (as I do). I found it incredibly useful to have a software that I used for the last two decades in the cloud now.
More information on Office 365’s features can be found in this Business Insider blog by Julie Bort.
Sage (a leading provider of accounts software) have recently extended their most popular product to the cloud. And they have done to in a way which seems to address a lot of concerns.
My experience of cloud accounting software is that while it is functional and easy to use, it does lack some of the capabilities that desktop accounting software offered. What Sage appear to have done is taken their best product for SME – Sage 50 – and retained the best of both worlds. The news release at the link above suggests a new product, Sage Drive, allows the user to retain the desktop functions but store data in the cloud. This has several advantages. First, the sharing capabilities of the cloud are available once the data is stored there. Second, existing functions are maintained and this may particularly suit the accountant users. Third, it may ease some security concerns accountants often mention with the cloud. From my understanding, only the data is cloud hosted. Some desktop software is still needed to make sense of the data.
Here is a nice new feature from BBC on cloud storage company DropBox
This link leads to an interesting blog by Nick Hardiman that explains why the good old mainframe described in chapter 10 might experience second wind by cloud computing.
Hardiman, N. (2014). The mainframe evolves into a new beast in the cloud era. [Blog]TechRepublic. Available at: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-mainframe-evolves-into-a-new-beast-in-the-cloud-era/#. [Accessed 19 May. 2014].