Cloud computing is the wave of the future, according to many tech experts. So I decided to try the free online operating system (OS), icloud beta, which runs directly in your web browser (IE 6 or 7, Windows only), to see what all the hype is about.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I logged onto icloud, which is built upon XML and Ajax. Each program runs smoothly and built-in features with this beta release are enough to keep you coming back to icloud for your computing needs.
Here’s a video demo of the program at work:
icloud is open source and customizable, so you can drag the shortcuts and icons around and develop your own XML applications. There’s also a built-in office suite (which strangely lacks a Word type application), file storage (it doesn’t save to your computer, but to the cloud!), real-time collaboration with other users and it works online and offline. icloud also has its own web browser, for quick browsing while using the cloud. It is no frills, but gives you the basics that you need to enjoy surfing your favorite websites.
I am waiting for the ability to upload preexisting files into my icloud environment, but I was able to make a PowerPoint-esque document, as well as a text file.
Check out how you can use the icloud presentation software:
Dayplan is its Outlook look-alike, and icloud even has a built-in music player. I balanced my checkbook with “Money Manager”.
All of these programs, plus a built-in web browser and others included with icloud are free and open source.
Because icloud runs via Internet Explorer, you can get flash, Shockwave, etc. running without any difficulties. No additional downloads needed!
Since cloud computing is pretty new, I wasn’t expecting a pretty web application, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that icloud is VERY pretty! It reminds me a lot of my Windows Vista Home Premium desktop.
The glossy colors, rounded corners and clean design make me want to leave icloud open 24-7, just so I can get a glance every now and then. You can further personalize your icloud by changing the widgets, wallpapers and sidebar properties. icloud is not a cookie-cutter cloud OS offering!
Take a look at some additional screenshots of icloud and videos and if you’d like immediate access to this dynamic and innovative addition to cloud computing, leave a note in the comments! I have five (5) invites available for immediate use, or you can signup at icloud.com.
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