Getting Closer to the Clouds

Getting Closer to the Clouds

I decided to write a post about cloud computing, because I am using less and less of my own resources and more and more of what is freely and cheaply available on the internet. It saves time, money and space.

You may be using the cloud without knowing it. If you use webmail like Gmail, an App like Picnik, or host your blog at or Blogger, then you are using the lower levels of cloud computing. You are taking chores and storage and moving them from your computer to a place online where you can access them from any computer and as time goes on, from your phone also. I host my own blogs for the sake of control but I really on Gmail to hold all my database backups.

Of course, cloud computing gets a lot more complex than this. In fact, most of the times the term is used, it is not used for webmail. It is used by developers who build apps on top of platforms like Google App Engine. Or for Amazon Web Services which does everything for you except serve the resulting data in html form.

I have been a little afraid to release all of my data to the cloud. But then again, I can't say that I have had pristine success at storing it myself. I've deleted things on accident, had Thunderbird crash and overwritten things. So maybe it's time.

Today I had an issue on this blog. The two longest link lists I have disappeared from view. Now, I don't know how long this has been this way, but I had to find a way to fix it. I went to edit them and the links were there, but when I looked at the source of the finished post, nothing from within the Wordpress loop showed. Most likely a plugin to process something in the loop timed out. After 400-600 links I would think it would.

First I thought I would give more processing time to PHP. Then I thought I might find the plugin causing the issue. At one time I wrote a lot of code. But the new internet landscape with web apps, open source software, and cloud computing has made my job easier. So I looked for a way around the issue. It's not effecting anything else. They are abnormal posts. I went to Zoho. I have two accounts. One for me and one for All About Doors and Windows.

I imported the data in a minute or so and grabbed the code to embed it in the following two pages:

Not only did I fix the problem but I made my life a lot easier. No more editing the posts, copying and pasting, etc. I change the data in the Zoho app and it changes here. In fact, the software I wrote to check the links will connect to Zoho and update it. So there is no reason really to go back and edit the app.

But that is not all. Here are some other things I have done with Zoho:

Although I focused on Zoho here, there are a lot of apps that will save you time. Any one of the forms created above could have taken hours. I look forward to seeing where technology like this goes in the future. Because this is small potatoes.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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