Buzzword of the year – the cloud

Now everyone does programming for ‘the cloud’. That is the ultimate place to be with your ‘app’ (another buzzword) – go visit the cloud. I was once lucky enough to assist to a salesman praise of the cloud. It’s horrific – I love it. The cloud has magic properties – you can do anything, achieve everything, f*** up nothing. Because, well, it’s the cloud.

Now let’s get things straight. The cloud doesn’t exist. It’s a bunch of computers put together. Google does that, Microsoft does that, Amazon does that, everyone does that. No magic – a bunch of computers put together. No superpowers granted – no super-technology. This was done since a lot of time. Now it’s only a bit more ‘public’. Around 1940s some dudes were talking about providing ‘computer power’ to everyone around an entire city and, why not, the world. 1940, no clouds, only dreamers. Now cloud, yet no computing power for everyone, just bullshit. Just some means to collect your data.

And while your information runs away from you  (because, well, it’s in the cloud, why should I be more than an ignorant moron when I have ‘the cloud’) we sit back, relax and enjoy the new buzzword. Because everyone will take some more time from themselves, and the cloud will know them better than anyone. How does that feel? a bunch of machines know you better than you know yourself? But enough cyberpunk.

Anyway, fear the salesmen that throw the cloud at you. It’s not a new concept – it’s merely a name for the same things that happened since a lot of time.

PS: This post is now ‘in the cloud’. It was once in social media. once, it was web 2.0. Once it was HTML. Once it was AJAX. Once it was on the net. Once it was online. My blog just can’t settle, you know?

11 Replies to “Buzzword of the year – the cloud”

  1. Anonymous

    Computers do not exist. They're a bunch of electronic components – mostly transistors – put together.

  2. Dorin

    Computers DO exist. They exist every since I saw my last Z80. They are made up of transistor finely crafted and put together – but they exist. Not only they exist, but they are everywhere around us – from the Tv Set to the phone, from the microwave oven to the washing machine.
    Is that helping you identify more non-existent items? 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    I never said you didn't see a Z80, or a microwave oven or an invisible pink unicorn. What I'm saying is that Z80 is just a bunch of electronics put together. The term "computer" was just a buzzword invented by some clever salespeople back when the world was still mostly black and white. I mean come on, we all know computers existed before and they were a bunch of flesh & blood people with thick glasses calculating ballistic trajectories for the military.

    When I talk to my colleagues about these so-called "computers" I always say "You know, those electronic thing-a-magicks that have a programmable CPU and an internal memory and so on". And of course I never use the term AJAX, I just say "You know, that techique that enables JavaScript to initiate HTTP connections back to the server".

    And „the cloud”? Yeah, it's just a lame abstraction of a computer, except that it may run on more computers… or even less than a computer sometimes. But who's ever used the term cloud being used for such abstractions? Well, except for some people who regularly draw the whole Internet as a cloud in diagrams, or my old calculus teacher who had this masochistic ritual of drawing a cloud on the blackboard and declaring: "so this is an R^n space". But of course this doesn't have anything to do with anything and the term was just invented by marketers. I propose that we say: "elastic cluster of (usually virtual) machines sold as a service and charged by the actual resources consumed". That ought to do it…

  4. Dorin

    Well, Mr. Anonymous, I am sad to say you're wrong on the definition of computer. "Computer" is the first name of the computing system, including all the components – sure, the computer term has been applied to so many various things that you cannot count. But it's still the original term that is applied to such system, therefore it's not done to be a buzzword.
    I'm sad to inform you that computers do exist.

  5. Raluca

    @Anonymous: We call them computers because we need a label. It is not a marketing ploy. The computer is the ensemble of all the components that make it an entity, an object. As human beings, it is normal for us to label things, to give them a name. That name is a symbol not for a particular object, but for all the said objects. You do not think of a specific tree when you say tree.

    Also, by your logic, trees don't exist. They are ensembles of different components, which put together form the object we call tree in the English language, copac in the Romanian language or arbre in French.

    We need these symbols to categorize and put order in the world around us, because otherwise we have chaos and the human mind does not deal with chaos very well.

    So yeah, a computer is just a word, a symbol to describe a bunch of components put together, but calling it the thingie with a processor and transistors and RAM memory is taking the philosophy too far.

    Also, if you are passionate about this kinds of stuff, you should study some linguists and semiotics. Fascinating fields. I recommend Umberto Eco, he is one of the best in the fields of linguistics.

  6. Anonymous

    That wasn't *my* logic you're talking about. I suppose I forgot to put the tags around my posts.

    Yes, computer, Ajax, the cloud etc are all "labels". And useful ones too.

    Of course there's always going to be a bunch of idiots who say hey, my application is a useless piece of shit but at least (pick one):
    – it's on the web
    – it's DHTML
    – it's web 2.0
    – it's Ajax
    – it's in the cloud
    – it's NoSQL
    – etc

    That doesn't mean all those things do not exist, or that they're not relevant or useful, or that the terms themselves are not useful.

  7. Anonymous

    In my previous post: "I suppose I forgot to put the [sarcasm] tags around my posts." Blogspot filtered out my made-up HTML tag. 😀

  8. Dorin

    The things that you list there have in common the fact that they are not something new that required a label, but technologies that existed and were bumped by adding a buzzword. Web-> Internet was already there. DHTML, Web 2.0, AJAX are pretty much the same thing, in various forms – DHTML is late 90s, AJAX is early 00s, Web 2.0 is cca 2004+, if I remember correctly. But the same boring thing.

  9. Anonymous

    See, if you don't have the proper labels you confuse things.

    The Web is not the same thing as the Internet. It's just one of the services that run on top of the Internet (the thing that happens in your browser). But the Internet is much more than that. It's also mail, chat, file transfers, etc.

    DHTML = pages that are changed dynamically by a client-side script (usually JavaScript). At the time this didn't mean any asynchronous connection back to the server. It simply meant stupid animations, stupid menus, stupid rollover buttons etc.
    Ajax = pages that can actually retrieve data from the server behind the scenes. Google Suggest and Google Maps being among the first.
    Web 2.0 = more of a cultural phenomenon than a technological one. Sure it was backed by Ajax, but it was more about social connections, replicating desktop application functionality in the browser, Beta labels, names with some vowel dropped from them, rounded buttons, huge fonts and pastel colors.

  10. Dorin

    Your corrections may be true in each detail – but DHTML and AJAX are just the same thing. Nobody renames the Win32 APIs just because their focus changed from low level system access and moved to GUI or anything. It's not named differently if it's the same thing. DHTML, AJAX, Web 2.0 are not innovative – Neither the cloud is. They rename something already labeled. The web – the rename is also a buzzword – it just caught a lot better. But you know, when I hear people telling me that HTML and JS are not enough, we have to use AJAX, I tend to tell them that they are bullshitting – and unfortunately, I feel that such names are bullshit too.
    But, you know, be innovative, use AJAX5 (Oh, sorry, I have to find an alias for HTML5) 😀

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