Students look to the cloud for work, play and more
By Shiralie Chaturvedi -
The latest buzzword on the Internet today is cloud computing. For those of you who do not know much about technology, cloud computing is the technical term for Internet-based computing, where applications, files and resources are stored in distant servers away from your computer. This technological concept is proving to be quite a stunner, especially among students. This live-computing service makes it easy for students to work together on a project or assignment in a more efficient and systematic way, without having to worry about carrying cumbersome accessories such as a pen drive or a portable external hard disk.
Students seem to be excited about this recent technological advancement. Samarth Modwal, who is at McGill University in Montreal, says, “It is really helpful, especially for group studies. Usually emails are sent back and forth, plus the work lacks synchronisation as most of us do it from our own homes. Some even have to do it at school because they don’t have the adequate material at home; in such a case, they carry pen drives, which prove to be an added unnecessary responsibility. Using cloud computing, we can connect to a unified portal where all the information is stored and then proceed to work.”
Cloud computing does not only cater to young adults. Children can easily work with it, and their parents can be a part of it too. With cloud computing, children can easily share information on the laptop at school while sitting on their desktop computer at home several thousand kilometres away, and vice-versa.
However, most youngsters today are actually looking forward to a cloud computing and gaming combined venture. Cloud computing and gaming use rapid data compression to let users store their games in cloud or web servers, and then pull them down and play them using a regular web browser. This involves the same concept used while storing photos on sites such as Flickr or saving music videos on MySpace. Whenever you use Flickr, Yahoo Mail, Google Docs, etc., you are “on the cloud”. Any computer or web-friendly device connected to the Internet can access the same pool of computing power, applications and files in a cloud computing environment.
The only problem that arises with the usage of cloud computing is the issue of privacy. In a time and age when hacking is as ubiquitous as corruption, the concept of a shared portal where you can find all the requisite private information for each user seems rather risky. Shared servers can link one person to another person’s personal database, which, if accessed by someone notorious, can be manipulated in a harmful manner. Although there have been successful experiments undertaken by various school in the US so far, cloud computing is still relatively new for us to allow us to pass a black and white judgement.