The “Cloud”

A lot of times techies use phrases that are like a second language to them but may be foreign to others. Let me explain. It is 2013 and I still see the occasional Facebook post proclaiming “Inbox me your number, I lost ALL my contacts.” Well, one of my commandments is to never store DATA on your phone (i.e. contacts). The solution to adhering to that commandment is one of those terms you may not understand, called “The Cloud”. At the moment, the only thing you may know about The Cloud is that Apple has one. Ironically, called iCloud.

The best way I can describe “The Cloud” is to put it in the context of your bank. If you want to find out your account balance or to see what transactions have posted, what do you do? Do you go to the same bank location every time, like on the movie It’s a Wonderful Life? No, silly! You can go to the bank in your neighborhood (unlikely) or  log into your account on your mobile phone (more likely). What about when you need to get some cash? You can go to an ATM at your bank, another bank’s ATM or withdraw $25 from CVS… and “they” ALL know your balance and what you have available to withdraw. News flash: your bank account information is available everywhere all the time!! How is that possible?? It’s MAGIC. j/k The reason this is possible is because of “The Cloud”.

The Cloud” basically means storing information or data online so you can access it anywhere, anytime, from multiple places/devices. Accessing your data is protected (you must enter a password or pin) and anyone/company can create their own cloud.

So, back to those contacts… you probably already have your Google/Gmail or iCloud account set up on your mobile phone? The easiest thing to do is to go into Settings and turn ON services other than mail for your account: Contacts, Calendar, Photos, Safari (for bookmarks). Go ahead and do that now. Now you can try it out: make a change to one of your contacts on your phone, then check it on your computer or iPad (may take a couple seconds to update). Once you enable these services, all your data is tied to your account. So the next time you lose your phone, all you have to do is add your account on your new device and your data will “magically” appear.

Welcome to “The Cloud”!