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The Cloud Part 3 -- Centralized Storage versus Distributed Storage

Do you ever wonder where your data goes when it is stored in the “cloud?” When it comes to online backup, many companies store all your data in one centralized place. While this approach is simpler for the company, and may make access quicker and easier for the customer, what if the centralized storage fails? If a server crashes, or a storage hard-drive dies, having all your files in one place means losing everything. This completely overrides the point of having a backup system in the first place. As we discussed in our last blog post, what if someone hacks into the data center? This has happened at Citibank, Sony, Amazon and Visa.

Digital Lifeboat uses automated distributed file storage – breaking your files into small fragments, replicating and encrypting them, and sending them out into the cloud to be stored in multiple locations. Think of it as putting your eggs in a few different baskets, or diversifying your stock portfolio. Case in point: if you only schedule a back…

The Cloud Part 4 -- Rent versus Own -- Dropbox versus iCloud

Capex vs. Opex - The Costs of Storing Your Data

One of the great debates in cloud computing involves business economics and the inherent expense that stocking and running a data center entails.  You may even hear the phrase "Capex vs Opex" in this debate.  This phrase refers to the trade-offs of investing in building and operating your own data center (Capital Expenditure and Operating Expenditure) versus using someone else’s data center (Operating Expenditure) on a pay-as-you-go or rental model.  It's important to consider the financial implications of both approaches in the long run - especially since “renting” costs less in the short term, but the investments in data centers will ultimately be passed on to the end users, making that approach more expensive.  
Owning and stocking a physical data center requires capital expenditure (Capex), large amounts of space filled with computer hardware, and the cash flow to pay the power bill.  Many "cloud-based" data cen…

Social Media, Consumer Behavior and the Internet

For more and more aspects of our lives, the Internet is the "everyday
answer." For travel, almost everyone uses the Internet over a travel
agent or calling an airline directly. Surprisingly, financial services
have overcome privacy and security concerns and now most people bank
online. This follows the acceptance of the ATM in lieu of branch
visits, so perhaps is not too surprising. We see that people are
managing their careers online, whether with job search (Careerbuilder)
or resume management (Linkedin). Even finding love (Match.com) or
other relationships (Craigslist or hookup.com) is more and more the
mainstream. We read that most people buy goods in stores, but Amazaon
and other shopping sites are generally accepted. Most people do not
use Skype to call, but more people adopt it for one-on-one connections
with distant friends and family.

The power has certainly shifted over the past decade. Comfort with the
Internet has grown dramatically, as fear has subsided. Usage i…

Why are Brands Obsessed with Youth (and why should we all be)?

What is youth? Why does it matter to marketers? The following article addresses both of these questions, and in doing so, will provide an introduction to some of the strategic brand thinking we do at Tangible Worldwide. This discussion is not about marketing to young people. Quite the contrary, we are exploring why so many brands targeted at adults consistently draw upon elements of youth to present their brands.

So let us begin by considering what makes youth so appealing to adults. Why does youth have such a tremendous emotional appeal to all human beings? We are naturally drawn to babies or toddlers and even adolescents. We obviously love the real thing, but we are also drawn to images of youth, and are fundamentally moved by what we perceive youth represents. I believe there are five fundamental reasons why we are attracted to the image and reality of youth. These are:
The innocence of youth – also known as naiveté; the lack of sin; the curiosity and inquisitiveness of th…

Everything old is new again...

A friend of mine was recently in London and visited a “Steam” museum, and Bletchley Park, and a conversation wandered into old computing devices.
We talked about the first computer electrical computer Colossus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer and then to the first conceived mechanical computer a Difference Engine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Difference_engine
It struck us as pretty amazing how old computing technology really was. Including the original binary storage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquard_loom
Of which there is a working loom at Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan. I learned from a wizened old volunteer about the loom and its influence on IBM punch cards. This reminded me that I had read about an implementation that was developed in Little Big Planet, and found some blog posts and videos, which just blow me away: http://agreatbecoming.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/little-big-computer-a-modern-day-difference-engine/

This brin…

The Cloud Part 1 -- What is "The Cloud?"

You may have heard by now that Digital Lifeboat offers cloud-based online backup systems. But you’re probably wondering just what is “the cloud” and how is it better than backing up to an external hard drive, for example?
Let’s start with how your PC works. You open an application, like Microsoft Word, and you type a letter, and save the content on your hard drive. The application (Word) and the data (your letter) are on your PC. Cloud computing is an approach which involves the creation and deployment of services and applications over the internet, supported by a coordinated infrastructure. When you open your email, the application is “in the cloud” and when you send the email to a friend, the email is stored “in the cloud.” Lots of services like search engines, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook operate this way.
The popular buzzword, “cloud” simply means storing digital files on someone else’s computer and accessing it by internet.
What people like about “the cloud” is that they can acce…

The Cloud Part 2 -- Hacking the Cloud: When Your Data ISN’T Safe…

If you’re a Play Station “fan boy” (or girl), you probably received an email from Sony offering you free games (in exchange for something about account security). The PlayStation Network shut down it’s cloud after “an external intrusion” that resulted in the theft of personal information belonging to 77 million customers. In fact, PSN said they’re moving their network infrastructure and data center to a new, more secure location.

Or, you might remember when Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud and Elastic Block Storage platforms were offline during an April 21 outage that had major websites unavailable for three days.
Outages and security breaches like these have inspired fear that the Cloud may not be secure – or is less secure than a traditional data center; however, eWeek.com points out that major security holes are not unique to cloud services. PSN uses both cloud services and traditional data centers. Amazon’s outage drew attention to data availability issues and reliability. Secu…