Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Rough Guide to Cloud Computing by Peter Buckley

In The Rough Guide to Cloud Computing, Peter Buckley offers readers advice on how to get the most out of the internet. He suggests tools and websites that allow users to access their data 24/7 from anywhere in the world. He calls it "being creative, being entertained and being organised in an ever-changing digital age."

This is a great little book filled with extremely useful information. Buckley provides advice on devices (desktops, laptops, smart phones, PDAs, etc), internet providers, networks, browsers, operating systems and a whole lot more. Once he's covered the basics of access, he delves into the websites that make cloud computing possible. These include sites that offer: email services, calendars, to-do-lists, social networking, storage, office tools, photos, music, maps and lots of other things you probably didn't even know existed.

The book is put together in an orderly fashion. The website names stand out because they are either in blue type or surrounded by enough white space to make them easy to find. There are plenty of screen prints, but some of them are hard to make out because of the size of the book. However, it's size makes the book very portable. It doesn't take up much room so it's easy to keep on your desk or take with you as you travel.

I really liked that the author explained websites that I had heard about, but didn't know much about. These include:,, and more. There are plenty of websites that were new to me. Here are a few of the ones that I'm going to check out:,, Google Docs, and iGoogle (which my husband uses and loves) or iCloud (just to be different). There are plenty more to choose from, but I'll probably start with those above and then branch out. Buckley even mentioned a few that I already use, like Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. It's nice to know that I'm not entirely out of the loop.

The whole term "cloud computing" is new to me. Honestly, it's still a little scary. I'm pretty protective of my data and I like to know where it is. Having said that, I can see immediately that storing my data out there on various websites (or their storage mediums) is so much more advantageous than if I store it on my hard drive. Two examples:
1) Recently, my PC went down. While it was in the shop, I had no access to documents, bookmarks, old emails, etc. I felt lost and was not a happy camper. Had I followed Peter's advice, I could have accessed my data from another device (laptop, phone, library computer, whatever) and got on with it.
2) On a recent trip, I was using the hotel computer and couldn't remember the URL of the website I wanted to check out. I tried googling it with no luck. I would have been all set had I stored my favourites at a site offering that service.

I could probably come up with many more troublesome scenarios where cloud computing could come in handy.

For me, it's probably going to be a slow data migration, but now I have a guide in Buckley and this book.

Highly recommended for both novices and experienced users.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the DK Canadawebsite.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

The Rough Guide to Cloud Computing by Peter Buckley, Rough Guides, ©2010. ISBN 9781848365209(soft cover), 213p (includes index).

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