When we start to store our information, documents, records, photos, and books in digital format, we begin to accumulate CDs and DVDs. This made our room occupied by a shelf full of these discs. Today this has changed: it is rare to go to any house and see a tower of CDs. In a short time, we have gone from the culture of having to the culture of accessing the contents.
The most hustlers quickly realized that it was better to have it all together on a hard drive. The problem was that the players were designed for
optical discs, not for content stored on a computer’s hard drive. What if someone designed a special hard drive aimed at saving videos, photos and other multimedia content?
Multimedia hard drives, the Swiss army knife for storing content
Over time, multimedia hard drives became more popular, which were already prepared to connect to televisions and play the files. With them, all our digital memories were in one place.
The music was converted to MP3 format and little by little the shelves were emptied. The Discman and walkman did not take long to be replaced by MP3 players, with the advantage that music, being digital, could be purchased directly on the Internet.
In addition, the most anticipated duplicated the files as a backup. With the first incident we had, where a hard drive broke down, many of us learned that it is best to have a copy (even with a cloud of our own ) of all the files that we also stored on our computer. Or, at least, a backup of the most important.
This is precisely one of the disadvantages of saving all the files: if at any time a hard drive fails and we cannot fix it, we may lose information. If we do not have duplicate data on another side or a backup, the truth is that all our multimedia content goes to the landfill next to the damaged hard drive.
Enjoy the contents and not worry later
And I do not want to be worried about these things, what I want is to listen to my music and have it always available. I want to watch my movies wherever I want and whenever I want or just know that I will always have on hand the photos of the weekend paella to show off in front of my colleagues.
All this is what has come to solve the cloud, which is nothing other than having all these digital files accessible from the Internet, whether they are in a photo storage services (such as Flickr ), on a virtual hard disk (such as Dropbox ) or in Spotify in the case of music. These are some of the most used examples of services, but there are still more.
There are also intermediate options, what they do is synchronize the content we have on our computer with the cloud. An example could be Dropbox for files or Google Music, for songs. If we talk about mobile phones, we have iCloud on the iPhone and SkyDrive on our Windows Phone.
The cloud, that ethereal concept that we access from the Internet
What is the cloud? Where are my data? Can anyone access them? What happens if tomorrow closes a service where I store them? These are usually the most frequent doubts in relation to the cloud, which in reality is still a data center. It gathers thousands of servers to store where information is stored and which end users can access from the Internet.
In addition, the information is usually replicated in several centers, so if one is inactive for any reason, we can continue to access it. Unless there is a collapse, as has happened on occasion, the information is always accessible.
If we talk about the cloud, for many of us it is synonymous with Google. There we have our email, we store files in Google Drive, the images in Photos or we have Google Music to be able to save on the Internet more than 20,000 songs that we also synchronize with a folder that we have on our computer.
It also helps us to save the applications we download for our Android phones, the movies we buy on Google Play or our contacts, valuable information for us and that makes changing from one phone to another within this platform is a mere process.
Something similar can be said of Apple with iTunes, where music and files are stored and available to join our iPhones or iPads, so that we have in the cloud-stored a large digitalized multimedia catalog of music, photos that we have taken with our phones, files that we upload so that they are always available, etc.
If today we have a multimedia gadget, it is certainly the smartphone, and here nobody like Apple has understood the need of users to consume content so that they are always accessible. iCloud also guarantees us the possibility of having a backup copy of them so as not to lose songs and images that are actually part of our memory and our memories.
But there are also other independent actors without whom the cloud is not what it was. Dropbox and its virtual hard drive have become a “must” that everyone uses. It serves, for example, to synchronize the photos we take with the smartphone and automatically save them in the cloud. What do you want to have the same files on your computer, your mobile, and your tablet? With this program, you can synchronize them and even share them with other users.
But if we talk about photos, it is impossible not to mention Flickr . Without a doubt, the possibility of storing up to 1 TB of images is sure to be very attractive to you, but also the improvement of your mobile applications or the ease to create our own photo albums and organize them. Today one of the best resources we have on the web to access our images.
Finally, Spotify has not only revolutionized the world of music but also the way we access it. You no longer have to worry about how much space your collection occupies or who has left your favorite CD. Now you simply know that you can access your music and your playlists with a simple click.
My digital legacy, whose are my digital files?
Another issue that we must consider if we buy and store music or movies on these cloud platforms is whose digital files are. There is no doubt with a book or physical disk: you have it at home, it is yours and you can do whatever you want with it. But what about something that is digital?
In most of these platforms we have the right to usufruct, that is, we will enjoy the contents for life, but for example, we cannot leave our music collection to our children. This is usually a source of controversy and even Bruce Willis started a dispute against Apple so that his children could inherit the songs he had bought.
With everything, I see more advantages than inconveniences to the cloud. If not, the next time you have to make a move, think about the time and back pain you would have saved if your books, music, and movies were only on the Internet.