A blog by George Engel

A Tetrad in the Clouds

I find the nature of cloud computing fascinating. Just what is cloud computing? Well the folks at TED and Akamai.com put together a few videos on their ideas behind the cloud at http://www.akamai.com/html/misc/ted.html. Another site with a good definition of cloud computing is located at http://www.infoworld.com/d/cloud-computing/what-cloud-computing-really-means-031 .

The potential of the cloud is tremendous. Cloud computing has opened new methods of data storage and retrieval. It has opened new means of learning in the way we access and share knowledge. It may even be changing the way our memory works (Turkle, 1995). The following is a tetrad of my view of cloud computing.

What does cloud computing enhance? Storage and retrieval of data is a large part of the cloud. Many of the web 2.0 technologies we use today like wordpress, flickr, and other web based applications are possible because of the cloud. Additionally, the chrome operating system by Google functions completely in the cloud so load time is just a few seconds (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/25/business/la-fi-google-laptop-20101225/2 ). Many applications, including those on smart phones and other mobile devices would not be available or functional without the cloud.

The nature of the cloud combined with web or cloud based applications and operating systems may eventually make the desktop PC obsolete or at least the disc drive and standalone operating system.

The information storage and retrieval capabilities of the cloud remind me of traditional libraries and data storage facilities. The large facilities are dedicated to information storage that can be accessed by individuals at time when the data is needed. However, they are limited by hours of operation and availability of stored data.

Finally, where is the cloud leading us? I can only speculate at this point. However, there could be a time when our own brains will have direct access to the cloud. This will be a true technological revolution on the part of humanity. I see it possible with the bio technology research that is ongoing at this time. Will technology become organic? Will circuits be grown instead of manufactured? Time will tell and as long as our heads are in the “cloud” the potential exists for us to make it there.


Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the internet. New York: Simon and Schuster.




6 responses

  1. Marci Vining

    Love the tetrad video! Can you share your video editing secrets? What program are you using?

    I am new to cloud computing but since starting this course I am now using it. Where have I been? Thanks for the info. I am going to keep following your blog to learn more.


    December 30, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    • gbengel

      Hey Marci,

      I used two programs for it. I designed the tetrad using prezi.com, a cloud based presentation software, and then recorded it using Camtasia. I wanted to embed the prezi, but wordpress does not allow flash embeds.


      January 2, 2011 at 2:24 PM

  2. LOren

    Your reference to biotechnological innovations reversing cloud computing does appear to be a huge leap.

    However, considering that we used “machines” such as film reel projectors, carbon copies to create a second copy of a form, and mimeograph/spirit duplicating machines to create class copies of worksheets only 15 years ago in education, truly what will be in another 15 years may very well be based on biotechnological innovation!

    December 31, 2010 at 12:52 AM

  3. Orit


    Great blog! You stated an important point that, thanks to cloud computing, we have numerous options that enhance communication, collaboration, and through that, also education. Many companies are starting to realize that users want more applications without buying more hard drives.


    January 1, 2011 at 5:25 PM

  4. bluejfm


    Very cool and enaging Tetrad! Did you use Prezi to create this?

    I go back and forth to see what the impact of ChromeOS will have on the future of PCs. I really do believe there will be a time in the near future, everything will be web-based. What are your thoughts?


    January 1, 2011 at 11:09 PM

    • gbengel


      I did use prezi. That is my presentation software of choice.

      I agree with you. I think chrome is only opening the door to what the future holds for operating systems.


      January 2, 2011 at 2:26 PM

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