Head in the Clouds (of computing)

Catching up with Dad, conversations turn to the beta of Windows 7 and whether or not he would be downloading the beta for experimentation. For reference, Dad makes his living developing custom software for the unfolding and plotting of sheetmetal piping. Touch interface in the realms of plotting has artistic, though not practical applications. After all when you’re a drafter, you’re not about moving a line with your finger; you want to type in coordinates and be assured that your design won’t collapse on somebody’s head. But something that we had divided opinion toward – Dad ambivilant, me doe-eyed optimistic – was the Cloud Computing trend (in both evolving pattern and in the ‘fad’ sense of the word).

Duncan and I had a bit of a running debate over the merits/flaws of holistic programs such as SAP over X-Mas where Duncan’s arguement is firmly grounded in education and practicality and I’m all about the imagination and possibilities. Wish I could remember more but I suppose I should be thankful that it didn’t devolve into the inevitable conclusion of him making annoying sing-song rhymes and me getting him into a headlock.

Anyway, one of the things that came up was how cloud computing was going to look in the classroom/lab at schools and tertiary educational institutes. My thinking is that the ghost installations of preset software, normally an embuggerance for the neophyte, becomes something of a simpler chore. More so than that is the retail/licensing of software and the ability for a student to access work (and the tools/software) from outside a campus setting. For someone like, say, Delia who needs access to Photoshop, Maya and other programs (perhaps not the best examples at the point of time in writing this) how much better would it be to not have to que up in a computer lab rather than, say, buy a license that lets her access her current work from home or a capable laptop with the software and work conveniently located on campus supercomputers?

And if you’re spending 3 or so years of your life working under this system, how long before, post graduation, do you convert the working world into your method of development?

Dad’s program has more commercial benefit, in terms of licensing, operating under a cloud computing model but I also believe that there is potential for more lateral application, given the decentralised location of a designer’s computer in relation to a steel cutter or fabrication workshop…

There’s also a correllation between the development of cloud computing and the online presence and social networking that has been prevelant in this generation but my train is about to stop…

Think on that a while.

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