Cloud Computing: Web-Based Applications That Change the Way You Work and Collaborate Online

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Overview

Cloud Computing: Web-Based Applications That Change the Way You Work and Collaborate On-Line

Computing as you know it has changed. No longer are you tied to using expensive programs stored on your computer. No longer will you be able to only access your data from one computer. No longer will you be tied to doing work only from your work computer or playing only from your personal computer.

Enter cloud computing–an exciting new way to work with ...

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Cloud Computing: Web-Based Applications That Change the Way You Work and Collaborate Online

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Overview

Cloud Computing: Web-Based Applications That Change the Way You Work and Collaborate On-Line

Computing as you know it has changed. No longer are you tied to using expensive programs stored on your computer. No longer will you be able to only access your data from one computer. No longer will you be tied to doing work only from your work computer or playing only from your personal computer.

Enter cloud computing–an exciting new way to work with programs and data, collaborate with friends and family, share ideas with coworkers and friends, and most of all, be more productive! The “cloud” consists of thousands of computers and servers, all linked and accessible to you via the Internet.

With cloud computing, everything you do is now web-based instead of being desktop-based; you can access all your programs and documents from any computer that’s connected to the Internet. Whether you want to share photographs with your family, coordinate volunteers for a community organization, or manage a multi-faceted project in a large organization, cloud computing can help you do it more easily than ever before. Trust us. If you need to collaborate, cloud computing is the way to do it.

• Learn what cloud computing is, how it works, who should use it, and why it’s the wave of the future.

• Explore the practical benefits of cloud computing, from saving money on expensive programs to accessing your documents ANYWHERE.

• See just how easy it is to manage work and personal schedules, share documents with coworkers and friends, edit digital photos, and much more!

• Learn how to use web-based applications to collaborate on reports and presentations, share online calendars and to-do lists, manage large projects, and edit and store digital photographs.

Michael Miller is known for his casual, easy-to-read writing style and his ability to explain a wide variety of complex topics to an everyday audience. Mr. Miller has written more than 80 nonfiction books over the past two decades, with more than a million copies in print. His books for Que include Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Computer Basics, Googlepedia: The Ultimate Google Resource, and Is It Safe?: Protecting Your Computer, Your Business, and Yourself Online. His website is located at www.molehillgroup.com.

Covers the most popular cloud-based applications, including the following:

• Adobe Photoshop Express

• Apple MobileMe

• Glide OS

• Google Docs

• Microsoft Office Live Workspace

• Zoho Office

CATEGORY: Web Applications

COVERS: Cloud Computing

USER LEVEL: Beginner-Intermediate

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789738035
  • Publisher: Que
  • Publication date: 9/3/2008
  • Pages: 294
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Miller is a successful and prolific author. He is known for his casual, easy-to-read writing style and his ability to explain a wide variety of complex topics to an everyday audience.

Mr. Miller has written more than 80 nonfiction books over the past two decades, with more than a million copies in print. His books for Que include Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Computer Basics, How Microsoft Windows Vista Works, Making a Living from Your eBay Business, Googlepedia: The Ultimate Google Resource, and Is It Safe? Protecting Your Computer, Your Business, and Yourself Online. You can email Mr. Miller directly at cloud@molehillgroup.com.

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Read an Excerpt

IntroductionIntroduction

Computing as you know it is about to change: Your applications and documents are going to move from the desktop into the cloud.

I'm talking about cloud computing, where applications and files are hosted on a "cloud" consisting of thousands of computers and servers, all linked together and accessible via the Internet. With cloud computing, everything you do is now web based instead of being desktop based. You can access all your programs and documents from any computer that's connected to the Internet.

How will cloud computing change the way you work? For one thing, you're no longer tied to a single computer. You can take your work anywhere because it's always accessible via the web. In addition, cloud computing facilitates group collaboration, as all group members can access the same programs and documents from wherever they happen to be located.

Cloud computing might sound far-fetched, but chances are you're already using some cloud applications. If you're using a web-based email program, such as Gmail or Hotmail, you're computing in the cloud. If you're using a web-based application such as Google Calendar or Apple MobileMe, you're computing in the cloud. If you're using a file- or photo-sharing site, such as Flickr or Picasa Web Albums, you're computing in the cloud. It's the technology of the future, available to use today.

How does cloud computing work? What does cloud computing mean for the way you use a computer? What are the top cloud computing applications? Good questions all, and all answered in this book: Cloud Computing: Web-Based ApplicationsThat Change the Way You Work and Collaborate Online. I don't pretend to answer every question you may have (the overly technical ones in particular), but I do try to give you a good solid overview of the cloud computing phenomenon, and introduce you to some of the more popular cloud applications—in particular, those that facilitate group collaboration.

And that's where cloud computing really shines. Whether you want to share photographs with family members, coordinate volunteers for a community organization, or manage a multifaceted project in a large organization, cloud computing can help you collaborate and communicate with other group members. You'll have a better idea of how this works after you read the book, but trust me on this one—if you need to collaborate, cloud computing is the way to do it.How This Book Is Organized

Cloud computing is actually a pretty simple concept, but one with lots of variations and ramifications. To help you better understand what cloud computing is and what it does, I've organized this book into four major parts:

  • Part I, "Understanding Cloud Computing," is the place for you to start learning about cloud computing. I explain how cloud computing works and examine which types of users can best benefit from this new technology.

  • Part II, "Cloud Computing for Everyone," examines the practical benefit of cloud computing for users in three different scenarios: in the family, in the community, and in the large organization.

  • Part III, "Using Cloud Services," is an overview of various types of web-based applications. You'll learn about cloud services for scheduling, contact management, project management, word processing, presentations, and other key applications.

  • Part IV, "Outside the Cloud: Other Ways to Collaborate Online," moves beyond strict cloud computing to examine other Internet-based tools for group collaboration, including web email, instant messaging, social networks, online groupware, blogs, and wikis.

Taken together, the 20 chapters in this book provide an excellent overview of cloud computing. If you're not sure what cloud computing is yet, you will be when you get done reading this book.Conventions Used in This Book

I hope that this book is easy enough to figure out on its own, without requiring its own instruction manual. As you read through the pages, however, it helps to know precisely how I've presented specific types of information.Web Page Addresses

There are a lot of web page addresses in this book. They're noted as such:

http://www.molehillgroup.com

Technically, a web page address is supposed to start with http:// (as in http://www.molehillgroup.com). Because Internet Explorer and other web browsers automatically insert this piece of the address, however, you don't have to type it—and I haven't included it in any of the addresses in this book.Cloud Services

I also list a lot of web-based applications and services in this book; after all, that's what cloud computing is all about. Know, however, that companies are constantly changing prices, coming out with new features, introducing completely new services, and discontinuing older ones. With that in mind, every service and URL listed in this book is valid as of June 2008; chances are, however, that something will change by the time you read the book.Special Elements

This book includes two special elements that provide additional information not included in the basic text. These elements are designed to supplement the text to make it your learning faster, easier, and more efficient.

In addition, I end each chapter with a sidebar—a chunk of text that goes beyond what is presented in the normal chapter text to provide additional information that may be of interest to you. I find these sidebars interesting but not necessarily essential; you may or may not feel the same.

***

Note - A note is designed to provide information that is generally useful but not specifically necessary for what you're doing at the moment.

***
***

Tip - A tip offers additional advice that might prove useful to the task at hand.

***
***

Caution - A caution warns you of a particular situation—be alert to the warning!

***
Let Me Know What You Think

I always love to hear from readers. If you want to contact me, feel free to email me at cloud@molehillgroup.com. I can't promise that I'll answer every message, but I do promise to read each one!

If you want to learn more about me and any new books I have cooking, check out my Molehill Group website at http://www.molehillgroup.com. Who knows—you might find some other books there that you'd like to read.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Understanding Cloud Computing

1 Beyond the Desktop: An Introduction to Cloud Computing

2 Are You Ready for Computing in the Cloud?

3 Developing Cloud Services

Part II: Cloud Computing for Everyone

4 Cloud Computing for the Family

5 Cloud Computing for the Community

6 Cloud Computing for the Corporation

Part III: Using Cloud Services

7 Collaborating on Calendars, Schedules, and Task Management

8 Collaborating on Event Management

9 Collaborating on Contact Management

10 Collaborating on Project Management

11 Collaborating on Word Processing

12 Collaborating on Spreadsheets

13 Collaborating on Databases

14 Collaborating on Presentations

15 Storing and Sharing Files and Other Online Content

16 Sharing Digital Photographs

17 Controlling It All with Web-Based Desktops

Part IV: Outside the Cloud: Other Ways to Collaborate Online 245

18 Collaborating via Web-Based Communication Tools

19 Collaborating via Social Networks and Groupware

20 Collaborating via Blogs and Wikis

Index

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Preface

Introduction

Computing as you know it is about to change: Your applications and documents are going to move from the desktop into the cloud.

I'm talking about cloud computing, where applications and files are hosted on a "cloud" consisting of thousands of computers and servers, all linked together and accessible via the Internet. With cloud computing, everything you do is now web based instead of being desktop based. You can access all your programs and documents from any computer that's connected to the Internet.

How will cloud computing change the way you work? For one thing, you're no longer tied to a single computer. You can take your work anywhere because it's always accessible via the web. In addition, cloud computing facilitates group collaboration, as all group members can access the same programs and documents from wherever they happen to be located.

Cloud computing might sound far-fetched, but chances are you're already using some cloud applications. If you're using a web-based email program, such as Gmail or Hotmail, you're computing in the cloud. If you're using a web-based application such as Google Calendar or Apple MobileMe, you're computing in the cloud. If you're using a file- or photo-sharing site, such as Flickr or Picasa Web Albums, you're computing in the cloud. It's the technology of the future, available to use today.

How does cloud computing work? What does cloud computing mean for the way you use a computer? What are the top cloud computing applications? Good questions all, and all answered in this book: Cloud Computing: Web-Based Applications That Change the Way You Work and Collaborate Online. I don't pretend to answer every question you may have (the overly technical ones in particular), but I do try to give you a good solid overview of the cloud computing phenomenon, and introduce you to some of the more popular cloud applications—in particular, those that facilitate group collaboration.

And that's where cloud computing really shines. Whether you want to share photographs with family members, coordinate volunteers for a community organization, or manage a multifaceted project in a large organization, cloud computing can help you collaborate and communicate with other group members. You'll have a better idea of how this works after you read the book, but trust me on this one—if you need to collaborate, cloud computing is the way to do it.

How This Book Is Organized

Cloud computing is actually a pretty simple concept, but one with lots of variations and ramifications. To help you better understand what cloud computing is and what it does, I've organized this book into four major parts:

  • Part I, "Understanding Cloud Computing," is the place for you to start learning about cloud computing. I explain how cloud computing works and examine which types of users can best benefit from this new technology.
  • Part II, "Cloud Computing for Everyone," examines the practical benefit of cloud computing for users in three different scenarios: in the family, in the community, and in the large organization.
  • Part III, "Using Cloud Services," is an overview of various types of web-based applications. You'll learn about cloud services for scheduling, contact management, project management, word processing, presentations, and other key applications.
  • Part IV, "Outside the Cloud: Other Ways to Collaborate Online," moves beyond strict cloud computing to examine other Internet-based tools for group collaboration, including web email, instant messaging, social networks, online groupware, blogs, and wikis.

Taken together, the 20 chapters in this book provide an excellent overview of cloud computing. If you're not sure what cloud computing is yet, you will be when you get done reading this book.

Conventions Used in This Book

I hope that this book is easy enough to figure out on its own, without requiring its own instruction manual. As you read through the pages, however, it helps to know precisely how I've presented specific types of information.

Web Page Addresses

There are a lot of web page addresses in this book. They're noted as such:

http://www.molehillgroup.com

Technically, a web page address is supposed to start with http:// (as in http://www.molehillgroup.com). Because Internet Explorer and other web browsers automatically insert this piece of the address, however, you don't have to type it—and I haven't included it in any of the addresses in this book.

Cloud Services

I also list a lot of web-based applications and services in this book; after all, that's what cloud computing is all about. Know, however, that companies are constantly changing prices, coming out with new features, introducing completely new services, and discontinuing older ones. With that in mind, every service and URL listed in this book is valid as of June 2008; chances are, however, that something will change by the time you read the book.

Special Elements

This book includes two special elements that provide additional information not included in the basic text. These elements are designed to supplement the text to make it your learning faster, easier, and more efficient.

In addition, I end each chapter with a sidebar—a chunk of text that goes beyond what is presented in the normal chapter text to provide additional information that may be of interest to you. I find these sidebars interesting but not necessarily essential; you may or may not feel the same.


Note - A note is designed to provide information that is generally useful but not specifically necessary for what you're doing at the moment.



Tip - A tip offers additional advice that might prove useful to the task at hand.



Caution - A caution warns you of a particular situation—be alert to the warning!


Let Me Know What You Think

I always love to hear from readers. If you want to contact me, feel free to email me at cloud@molehillgroup.com. I can't promise that I'll answer every message, but I do promise to read each one!

If you want to learn more about me and any new books I have cooking, check out my Molehill Group website at http://www.molehillgroup.com. Who knows—you might find some other books there that you'd like to read.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    Outdated

    I really wanted to like this book, however it is certainly showing is age. Most of the websites listed in the book are dead and the ones that aren't definitely are not the best options available.

    The worst part is that the book repeats itself unnecessarily multiple times and gets tedious to read in a very short time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Practical introduction to cloud computing

    In the information technology world, the clouds keep rolling in. But this is hardly a cause for concern. These "clouds" are not threatening thunderheads but Web-based applications and services, accessible from any Internet connection. For instance, many businesses today use Salesforce for customer relationship management and many people use Gmail. In either case, users access these applications through a Web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. However, the users' data (customer names, e-mails and so on) isn't stored on their computers but "in the cloud," the technical term - or geek-speak - for "somewhere on the Internet." Some applications target the consumer, some target the business user and some target the software developer. Whoever the targeted users are, cloud-based applications and similar technologies are the next big trend in IT and getAbstract assures you that Michael Miller's brief, basic and very enthusiastic guide will help you understand them even if you are a novice. Sometimes it's useful to have your head in the clouds.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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