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Make more of your internet connection with our guide to the best cloud computing resources
We live in a world where more and more of us have very fast connections to the internet. As connections get faster, more opportunities to use and work with the internet start to present themselves. The term 'Cloud Computing' has come to mean any service that you access across the internet where you use the resources of a remote computer. Where this remote computer is physically located is for the most part unimportant, all that you need to know is that its resources are available to you. This means that computing resources around the world are now available to be shared and used by millions of internet users.
Advantages of the cloud
The advantages of having extra computing resources available on-demand to you shouldn't be too difficult to figure out. The biggest consumer use of cloud computing is in storage. Need a few extra gigabytes to backup your hard drive? No problem, there are several cloud storage companies that can safeguard your data. Of course, that's not the only possible use for cloud computing either. Perhaps your work demands that you travel frequently. Perhaps because of this you have a desktop PC at work, possibly another one at home, a laptop and maybe even a smart-phone too. Is keeping all your work in sync between your machines a hassle? In that case why not try one of the cloud computing office packages, such as Google docs or Microsoft Office 365/Live Mesh? With these services, your work is available anywhere you have an internet connection.
Disadvantages of the cloud
There are, of course, several drawbacks to using the cloud to store your data. Data stored in the cloud is essentially stored at some mystery location, usually several mystery locations around the world. While this is great for backup, it also means you have to trust your data to a third party. Even if the third party is trustworthy, data in the cloud makes a tempting target for hackers, who may steal your password or simply hack the computers on the internet to gain access to customer information. Keep security in mind when you use cloud services and pay particular attention to how companies store your information as well as how sensitive it is in the first place.
On this page we'll be presenting some of the best and most useful cloud computing services. Hopefully these tutorials will inspire you to use your computer and internet connection in more productive ways.
Diigo - Bookmark, Highlight and Share the Web
Diigo lets you keep your web bookmarks in the cloud, we cover its use in our Power Surfing tutorials.
Need to share large files or folders across the internet? Want to synchronise your work folder between home and the office? If you do, you need a Dropbox account.Tutorial 1 - Installing Dropbox
Tutorial 2 - Using Dropbox
Tutorial 3 - Sharing files using the public folder
Tutorial 4 - Sharing folders
Gmail, or Google Mail, is a cloud-based e-mail service that offers several advanced features for accessing and organising your e-mail.Tutorial 1 - Reading, replying and sending e-mails
Tutorial 2 - Managing and e-mailing contacts
Tutorial 3 - Using labels and filters to organise your e-mail
Tutorial 4 - Adding attachments
Evernote is a fantastic tool for anyone who needs to improve their memory. With Evernote you can store notes, documents, web clippings or anything you need quick access to.Tutorial 1 - Introduction and installing Evernote
Tutorial 2 - Getting started
Tutorial 3 - Advanced Evernote techniques
Google Docs is an online cloud service that you can use to create, share and store documents, spreadsheets, drawings and more.Google Docs introduction
LastPass and Roboform
LastPass and Roboform are password managers. LastPass stores your password data in the cloud, backed by industry leading security. Roboform can also store your passwords in the cloud, or locally if you are concerned about security. See our Power Surfing tutorials for more information on these tools.
Windows Live Skydrive
Windows Live Skydrive gives you up to 7 Gigabytes of online storage space all for free. In these tutorials, we'll show you how to get started with this service.Skydrive Tutorial 1 - Getting started
Skydrive Tutorial 2 - Using SkyDrive on the desktop
Skydrive Tutorial 3 - SkyDrive fetch explained and demonstrated
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