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July 24, 2012

Cloud Computing is Almost There
Filed under: Computers in Construction — Tags: — nedpelger

I’ve been traveling since mid-July and thought I’d be blogging more. My gmail and contacts work nicely on the cloud and I thought I had most other functions worked out. Nothing like a trip to foreign lands to expose one’s weaknesses.

My son-in-law had a master’s level creative writing class in Edinburgh, Scotland so I decided to take his 11 year old son to meet his Dad and travel a bit. Of course, when I travel it has to be to a fanatic level. My travel equation maximizes experiences and sites and minimizes rest time. I’ll never forget the surprised look on my grandson’s face when I told him, “You can sleep when you’re dead.” The photo below shows a gorgeous house behind us.

As we were driving into the Scottish Highlands, we passed a castle and decided to have a quick tour. Turns out it was the Doune Castle used in the making of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The audio tour was done by Terry Jones of Monty Python and was hilarious. The photo below shows the beautiful wood trusses in the great room,

while the video below shows the Frenchman’s insults to the Monty Python crew. My favorite is “You tiny brained wipers of other people’s bottoms.” The first three minutes of the video are really worth a watch.


But I digress from my cloud computing topic. As we traveled, I found several holes in my offsite computing abilities. I had decided to not pay the high Verizon Wireless rates for data in Europe, but just to use wifi when available. So my phone became just a handheld Android computer available when I could find free wifi (which was much less often than I anticipated).

The concept worked reasonably well, but many of the phone apps tend to be a bit buggy, not quite yet ready for prime time. For example, the YouTube app simply wouldn’t upload videos, though it was supposed to. I found out too late that it’s simple to have your phone load photos and videos right up into Dropbox, Box or Google + at no charge. Then you can decide what to do with them.

I found the Android tablet useful for keeping up with email, but simply not quite functional like a real laptop. Again, too many of the app programs for various sites just didn’t quite fully function.

I remain convinced that cloud computing will be the way most of us move into, but can understand some folks lagging behind a bit waiting for more of the bugs to be worked out.

A quick story you’ll enjoy. As we drove across Scotland, then down into Liverpool and finally London, I was amazed at all the small roads. I kept saying, “Aren’t there any highways up here?” My son-in-law and navigator wondered aloud if perhaps our car GPS had some “No toll road” function, which I quickly dismissed.

We drove for many hours on several days where I felt like we were in the cattle chutes, with not nearly enough room on the road and everyone driving on the wrong side (except me occasionally). We’d be on these tiny mountain roads and a tractor trailer would zoom by in the other direction as my son-in-law would say, “Watch the curb! Getting close! Sorry!” all in one breath. And each time I’d tell him I appreciated the feedback…which was mostly true.

Eventually as we drove toward London, we started ignoring the GPS (I was convinced there was some programming flaw) as it kept telling us to exit the super highway we’d managed to find. I then suggested we look at the Settings on the GPS. We found that we had “No toll roads” and “No highways” both selected.

We’d tortured ourselves with my ignorance. Of course, since I’m always willing to look at a glass of water as almost full, I was happy for all the sites we saw that we’d have missed on the efficient highways. In fact, I almost think I’d recommend to others to use those settings.

Here’s some bagpipe music and my grandson who agreed to wear the Scottish Highland cattle hat for the day in exchange for a pound. There’s also some nice shots of Edinburgh, along the streets that included the first 4-5 story apartment buildings in the world.