Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why Cloud Computing?

(Scroll down for previous posts such as WV presentation slides)

Why is cloud computing the buzz word these days, and why should we care?

Cloud computing is running your applications, such as word processing, from afar, the cloud. The cloud consists of all those other computers out there and their interconnections.

In cloud computing you, and many others, run your work from a single distant computer which holds the intelligence to do your work and your documents, too.

But isn’t that what we escaped when microcomputers first freed us from mainframes and control which excluded us from access, usually by accounting entities, which considered computers for accounting only.

Some critics have even pointed out that cloud computing does not do even as much as before.

Yes, but times have changed.

Instead of having millions of computers running many versions of programs on millions of computers, all subject to problems, would it not be better for us all to run from a single remote computer at the same time, always up to date, and protected from data loss, viruses, frequent interruptions from updates, and breakdowns?

And, best of all, with all that processing power somewhere else, then with our very cheap computer?

Just two days ago a power surge crashed my computer and nearly completed tax return. I did have a backup of my data, but the tax preparing software was gone. I had to reinstall the operating system.

Would not have happened with the cloud. Remote computers are much more reliable.

Next time my taxes will be done from the cloud. Much of the data I need is there already. Mint accounting already gets my info and even budgets my expenses directs from banks without any input from me!!

Cloud computing is simply the future. Does not mean your laptop is obsolete---it can use cloud computing. But no more installation discs and big hard drives.

My prototype cloud computer from Google is elegant and small and does not need Microsoft, Apple, or any other support. It is lightweight and connects from anywhere, even a cornfield. It has no easily damaged parts such as a spinning hard drive. In anything happens to it, any other computer can bring up the same stuff, and in an instant.

The promise of cloud computing is to do away with many of the problems of the past, always be up to date, and bring down costs. Best of all, cheap cloud computers are coming. They are starting production in China.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Future Computer for Seniors

There arrived the other day a prototype computer of the future (below). Evaluating the very nice MacBook-Air-like Google CR-48 prototype laptop got me thinking. What would the computer of the future for seniors look like?

Well, it would simply address many of the concerns I deal with in helping seniors use computers. Seniors, by the way, are the biggest untapped market for computers. They also need to keep connected. And they can afford to.

The future senior computer would be a tried and true shape: a book. The size and shape of a book has proved itself practical over centuries. Thin computers are beautiful but the thinness places too much unwieldy weight in the center of the senior grip. Thickness is better for older grips.

There needs also to be a handle on the thing. Simple.

The keyboard would have full-size keys but shortened in width only from q to p. The same keyboard needs to toggle to an alternative keyboard in alphabetical order for those who never learned to type.

Within the added thickness there needs to be space inside for a small auxiliary mouse, tiny but loud speaker, earphones, mp3 player, maybe things like a hearing aid. Seniors need all this with them. Of course, the computer could serve as a hearing aid.

The touch screen would be the matt glareless KIndle screen but oolor. The down-to-earth ChromeOs with the simple app buttons would be the default. There might be be a dual boot with Ubuntu for those who need a heavy duty word processor (seniors do a lot of writing). There needs to be a hierarchical tree screen directory of app buttons to make it easy to find the app you want.

There would be a quick and simple way to load up your mp3 player. One window with the computer files at left and the player files at right. The device needs to serve as a cell phone. The ChromeOs was probably actually inspired by smart phones. Let it be one.

No reason not to include Google’s GPS navigator. Cloud printing would work directly with wireless printers.

The integral case would protect the device without another redundant outer case as well.

Now, that would WORK for seniors!! Maybe everybody else, too!

Your thoughts???

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

EVAL of Google ChromeOS Test Computer

Here are my initial impressions of the new Google ChromeOS in Google's ChromeOS Beta test computer I received from Google Monday, Feb. 7, 2011:

(Scroll down for previous posts such as WV presentation slides)

From: Martin Klaver at
February 9, 2011

First Impressions after two days exclusive use:

As a senior techie who helps seniors use computers to keep connected---as mobility, vision and hearing diminish---the following is my view. (Seniors stand stand to benefit from computers more from this OS and laptop more than any other segment of the population IF designed for them.)

Senior Needs:

support for reading, hearing, communicating, buying, handling finances, getting help, easy access to media


After two days with no other computer than the CR-48, here are my impressions.


webos “tuning” via icon bookmarks is great,most like a radio, and therefore more to the point than the alternatives of searching and finding
long battery life is great and essential---the user should not always be looking for an outlet
zoom of text is essential for most seniors
a loud internal speaker is essential for half of those 75 and older
chicklet keys are fine
exclusive cloud access is sufficient and really a benefit
cloud use avoids many os confusion problems for seniors, data loss, viruses, and so on
no printer setup needed


touchpad a bit too sensitive---I adjusted it and added a mouse
a dozen basic web apps should be preloaded
need a closer to kindle or book size (seniors love the Kindle)
therefore, keyboard should be full size but only q-p width
keyboard should toggle to alphabetical layout for nontypists
the weight needs to be less
Google Docs response is a bit slow, a bit too sensitive
need less gingerbread at top of screen except when cursor moves to top of screen
documents need iPad GMail feature to list EMails at left and display selected EMails at right
printing setup still a bit awkward


toggle to alphabet keyboard from qwerty for those who cannot type and don't know qwerty
bluetooth (hearing benefits to seniors)
GPS (seniors use GPS more than any other tech)
cell phoning
use tmobile unlimited data
low price for seniors
senior “tips” easily displayed
no fingerprints on keytops
delet key

Puzzled About:

webcam purpose and use
internal memory access
data plans