Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What on Earth is “Cloud” Computing

The new big buzz word in the computing world is “Cloud” computing. In the past I’ve been critical of the concept and even poked fun at Cloud Computing.  Last month I released WinPatrol Cloud Edition and quickly learned that most people have no clue what Cloud computing means.

In simple terms, Cloud computer refers to having programs and data reside on an outside network device instead of permanently on your local hard drive. In theory it turns your browser into a flexible smart terminal and the main program you execute. The program you run and data you store is somewhere else on the planet similar to the old concept of a main frame. 

Even the term cloud comes from the representation of actions defined by newer tools used to create programmer flow charts.

So why are we going backwards to terminals and main frames?  It turns out in this day of application embed browsers and high speed internet “some” applications are very well suited for a cloud environment. If you’re using Amazon or Facebook, you’re already using a cloud application. A cloud can be public or private and becomes most valuable when a service or data can be shared.

You may be surprised to learn data including your photo may already shared by various cloud applications. Here’s an example of how my Email add-on called Xobni uses data uploaded to the LinkedIn service. This information is automatically displayed if I select an Email from Chris.


Other applications may use your photo along with information from your Twitter or Facebook account.  While I love having someone’s personal data available while answering Email you might want to consider reviewing some of your privacy settings on various social applications.


The WinPatrol Cloud
The planned release of my new software made me wake up to how little folks understand about the Cloud Computing. The WinPatrol Cloud Edition is considered a “Software-as-a-Service” version of a cloud and relies on a collaboration approach to bring a huge value to all it’s users. There are two parts to our new PLUS service.

One part is based on software behavior and actions taken by WinPatrol FREE and PLUS users. The WinPatrol cloud will track how users handle their decision to handle configuration changes. This information is accumulated continuously and will be available to other WinPatrol PLUS users.  It’s like the Millionaire's "Ask the Audience" feature.  User based information is available now and in the future additional information on software behavior will help users decide if a program is worth keeping.

The second part of the WinPatrol Cloud is a poll where users can provide their personal feedback on files that are detected. The poll data will be available to both FREE and PLUS users.

winpatrolcloudex Click image for example of complete information available to PLUS users.


Microsoft | Cloud Services



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Anonymous Vasu Jain said...

Indeed its the future of 2mrw.. no costs for hardware i c as a future..and not of softwares too.. but of services

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want my data on a server that I don't own and don't control. I don't want to be at the mercy of another party's uptime. I don't want to be charged for bandwidth to get to my own data. I don't want access to my data to ever be restricted for whatever reason. I don't trust that any other party holding my data will have my best interests in mind.

1:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto from me, re the comment made by the previous "Anonymous," at 1:55 AM. This mindless pant-pant-panting for seductive-sounding convenience is not likely to end well. Already we have been made so dependent on electronic "identity" that an entire industry has been built around the fear that LifeLock (or similar) is the only things standing between us and possible ruin. They claim to protect us, by storing our information in the same darned "Cloud" from which they are, in essence, protecting us. If the "Cloud" is so secure, so easy, then why LifeLock? I know that's a bit simplistic, to the point of being flippant, perhaps. But it's serious, too. The "Cloud" is still young and yet already it is something from which (apparently) everyone needs protection.

Despite the occasional and dramatic failures of complicated security measures deployed by huge institutions such as banks -- which do operate, as Bill mentioned re Amazon, in the "Cloud" -- we are being told by so many people now (pant pant pant) how great it's going to be for end-users to have even less freakin' control over their stuff. Hey, kids, let's go beyond trusting our personal identity to the "Cloud;" let's trust our productivity too, and our thoughts and other day-to-day secrets, etc., to an infrastructure that is unknown and unknowable.

I'm not going to quote the now-immortal John Tyner of San Diego; instead I'll use the words of that 3-year-old girl whose father filmed her rebelling against a groping TSA agent: "stop touching me!"

Bill, if you're making WinPatrol a Cloud"-based app for practical and/or financial reasons, that's one thing, although I think it would be a shame, but if you're giving up on the installable version because you think no one is interested in a hard-drive based app anymore, please reconsider.

Many thanks for your attention.


9:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I thought I made it pretty clear but WinPatrol, the application will not be based in the cloud.

I don't believe this is an effective way to provide security.

Our goal is to only use a cloud as a colaberative force that allows all our users benefit from the experiences of other WinPatrol users.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

Thanks so much for your reply. I guess I just reacted after I read the word "Cloud," and then noticed that the download size for 19 has shrunk significantly from what it was for 18. Also, I guess I didn't persist enough in reading your description; it did leave me with the impression that WinPatrol would now be, well, we've been through that already.

Anyway I re-read your description and now -- slap my forehead -- I realize it all sounds good. The Poll feature will be a lot like what you get at Newegg (customer reviews, number of eggs awarded). Very useful.

I do have a question, though: is there a control that allows the user to stop WinPatrol from "phoning home?"

WinPatrol is a great product, it's very useful, very light, it doesn't bother anyone, and Scotty can be relied upon to pop up and "woof" when needed. Thank you very much for your effort.


7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking about upgrading my WinPatrol program (I have v.17), but I WILL NOT have my activities monitored and broadcast for all to see.

What a shame. WinPatrol was a good program. I will be sure to encourage everyone I know to stay away from it. (Cloud computing is for people who WANT to have their information stolen.)

4:37 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

There are many types of Cloud Computing and many types of information which may be sent or stored in a Cloud.

I can assure you, there is no personal information related to individuals which is sent or stored in our cloud.

If you read both posts you'll see the only information which is posted to the cloud is a filename and if you allow it or not. We dont even know who you are so nothing that could be connected to you is available to anyone.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Jurriaan Nijkerk said...

Don't look at the time, in the place I write this now it's about 9:40 AM... ;-)

Quite clear. Data don't belong in a place where the owner cannot control them. Data don't belong in a place where they can bee seen or used by others than the owner. A user has to keep his network or computer save, in a way that intruders can't march in and out like like fleas on a dog pile.

I don't think there's someone who disagrees with those statements. I think Bill wants to use 'his kind of cloud computing' with the same thoughts he had when he wrote and shared Winpatrol: 'My own benefit is the same as the benefit of all.' It is allways a matter of trust, wether the application is running on your workstation or in the cloud. So I decided to trust Bill after all those years.

And, what are we talking about? The Microsoft updatemodel is based on the same principle, a kind of cloud computing from wich we all benefit. Practically no one complains about that. I really like patch tuesday, wishing there were more tuesdays. We don't call it patch tuesday, we call it patch party!

Bill created a new 'party' and I'm happy with the invitation. This way I can allways get the last version when it comes out and I can share things with others. We don't have to find out the wheel again each time... Great idea.

And besides, I trust and love dogs...

3:46 AM  
Anonymous us vpn said...

Cloud computing made our lives easier by the use of data storage.

1:09 AM  

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