Tag Archives: cloud computing

More Clouds On the Horizon?

We were talking here a little while ago about the Slacker’s cloudy furure.

Well, folks… it has taken a turn for the cloudier. I officially fired up my very own Dropbox this morning. I’ve been running images and Mozilla profiles back and forth between my lappy and my desktop using a thumb drive. Well, that’s just so 2008. Know what I mean? It was time for a newer more efficient method of sharing between my systems.

Dropbox is the slickest damned things since stuffed-crust pizza. I like it! I’m still a bit paranoid about this cloud stuff. I even encrypt my .mozilla profiles before uploading to Dropbox. I don’t want Yuri and his friends to hack into my saved passwords and form data, you know. 😉

This was a breeze to install in Slackware. There was a SlackBuild already available on the SlackBuilds.org servers. Also, Alien Bob has an older version on his SlackBuilds server. Note: there is only a 13.1 version at SlackBuilds.org, but it compiles and runs fine on 13.0.

Once you’ve installed it, you’ll get a neat little Dropbox folder in your /home directory (or wherever you choose to put it). Here’s a screenie of mine:


Anything you put into your Dropbox folder is then uploaded to the cloud and accessible by you via the website or any of your Dropbox sych’d systems. In other words, I can see what’s in that Dropbox directory from my desktop or my laptop. Furthermore, if I went to my brother’s house and logged into Dropbox’s web page on his computer, I could also access my Dropbox files. It’s COOL!

Drop me an email an I’ll send you a Dropbox invitation. Yeah… you earn stuff (more space) if you get folks to sign up.

Have FUN… and learn something. It won’t hurt you none.

Until next time…


Future Cloudy for the Slacker?

OK… call me a hypocrite, but I had to do it. I had to stick my head in the clouds.

My first foray into cloud computing… well, sort of… is my new favorite tool, Xmarks. What is Xmarks, you ask. Well, grasshopper… let me tell you all about it.

As many of you know, I run numerous distributions of GNU/Linux on my desktop system and I also run Slackware/MS Win 7 on my laptop. Keeping bookmarks and other browser-related baloney synchronized between platforms and operating systems is becoming problematic for me these days.

The solution? Online storage and auto-synchronizing of my browser stuff. COOL idea, huh? You may not see it for what it is, but it’s a form of that dreaded “cloud computing” that I’ve been ranting about here and there. My biggest worry about cloud computing is security. In this case, though, I’m not too worried.

I’m only using the service for bookmarks storage and synchronizing. I’m not using the saved passwords or browsing history options; mainly because I don’t need them. However, that bookmark synchronizing is slicker ‘n snot on a glass doorknob. I’m here ta tell ya’! It works between FF and IE like a charm.

I went this route because I found recently that IE is not capable of importing my FF bookmarks because of some silly-assed ancient name length restriction. Oh well, I got around that issue by using Xmarks. It’s easy-peasy to download, install, and set up. Figure 1 shows the Xmarks settings window that you access via Addons –> Xmarks Preferences in FF and by using the icon in the system tray in MS Windows.

Figure 1

Click for bigger pic

In Figure 2 below you can see how I added a couple buttons to my Firefox tool bar to access my bookmarks at Xmarks online or to synchronize manually.

Figure 2

What made me choose Xmarks over Google Bookmarks or Yahoo Bookmarks was the fact that both of those services want you to install their browser toolbar to manipulate your bookmarks. I didn’t want another damned toolbar on my FF at the moment, so Xmarks was the way to go for me.

I read the TOS and the Privacy stuff. There was nothing to scare me off in there. I was impressed with Xmarks dedication to protecting your data and keeping it private. I’m sure that Yahoo or Google would be just as good at husbanding your stuff, but Xmarks just seemed more sincere for some reason. Maybe it’s my ingrained aversion to mega-corps. 😉 Speaking of corporate stuff… if you’re interested, you can read more about Xmarks here.

It took me about 30 minutes all told to install and set up Xmarks in Slackware (primary OS) and Debian (secondary OS) on my desktop machine; and Slackware (primary OS) and MS Win 7 (experimental OS) on my laptop. Easy-peasy… like I said. 🙂 Hey! It even works in Ice Skunk… er, I mean Ice Weasel in Debian. Whaddya’ know?

And that’s how the ol’ Slacker ended up with his head in the clouds for the first time. I’m lovin’ it! Next up: I’m transferring all my tinfoil hat designs to Megaputer, Inc’s super-servers in the sky. I sure hope Steve from New Delhi is available to walk me through that one.

Have fun no matter what you do.



Image credit: Xmarks logo –> Xmarks.com

Note: This article cross-posted on Nocturnal Slacker v2.0.

Ubuntu Headed to the Clouds?

Hmm… I should have seen this coming.

Friend Alain Baudrez wrote a fabulous review of the upcoming “Unity” Ubuntu. Reading it and seeing the screenshots that he provided immediately struck me that the folks at Ubuntu are aiming for the clouds… cloud computing, that is. We’ve ranted… er, I mean discussed this here before, if you remember.

Head In the Clouds and Head In the Clouds Follow-up

I’m still a firm believer in keeping my head (and my data and apps) on my own desktop on my own media on my own systems. I just don’t trust cloud security at this time. Yeah… I keep my money in a bank. I even do online banking. However, since I rarely have more than $18.53 in any of my accounts, what’s the risk? But man! I don’t want to lose those tin-foil hat designs or my mp3s. You know what I mean?

Read Alain’s article, though… good stuff.

Until next time…


Head In the Clouds Follow-up

Previously, in THIS article, I wrote about my thoughts concerning cloud computing. You may remember that I wasn’t too hip on the idea.

On the heels of my article, James Maguire published a fantastic article at DataMation entitled How Cloud Computing Security Resembles the Financial Meltdown. Mr. Maguire basically rips cloud computing security with much more precise and informed language than I used in my original article. You gotta’ read this guy.

Maguire begins:

When they make claims about their nearly absolute level of safety, should you just…take their word for it?

Hello suckers!

He continues:

Goodness no, say the vendors, we’ve got a third party certification to back up our claims. Specifically, they point to their SAS 70 certification. SAS 70 is a set of auditing standards used to measure the handling of sensitive information.

Oh? But wait… there’s more:

Guess who writes a check to the SAS 70 certifiers? Believe it or not, it’s the vendors themselves. If you were a cynical, non-trusting type (which you should be if your company’s data is at stake) you might wonder…isn’t that a conflict of interest? Don’t accounting firms have a vested interest in granting SAS 70 certifications to those cloud computing vendors who can pay for them?

Ooooh! Gotcha! This is just un-effing-believable to me. It would be like letting the U.S. Congress police themselves… er, wait… we do allow them to do that. Uh-oh! Seriously, if this is what security is going to be like in the cloud, I’ll just keep my fat arse here on the ground.

Read Maguire’s entire article. It’s worth the effort. Good stuff!

Until next time, folks…


Head In the Clouds?

More twaddle from the crotchety old geek, who needs to get with the program here. Or does he?

OK, here’s the scenario… Mr. Honor N. Integrity decides that he’s going to offer a service to folks. He prints up some flyers, places a few ads here and there, and rents a big safe that he has delivered to his new office in the strip mall on Mercantile St. You can’t miss him. He’s right in between Joanie’s Retro Punk Dress Shop and Bubba’s Jailhouse Tattoos.

So, what service is Mr. Integrity offering? Well, lemme tell ya’ about it. For a nominal fee, Mr. Integrity is going to take possession of your wallet or purse, your personal papers, your childrens’ personal papers, your partially finished draft of that really cool detective novel you’re writing, grandma’s will, and weird uncle bob’s tinfoil hat designs. He’s going to catalog them and store them in that big safe for safekeeping. You can have access to it any time, as long as the electronic lock on the safe isn’t being updated or oiled. Cool, huh? Yeah… right.

This, folks, is pretty much what the newest craze in the techie world is all about. It’s called cloud computing. What happens when you’re computing in the cloud? You’re sitting at home in front of what has basically devolved into a dumb terminal. All your applications, games, personal data, pictures, illegally ripped MP3s, copies of weird uncle bob’s tinfoil hat designs, etc. are stored on a server owned by Megaputer, Inc.*, a wholly owned subsidiary of ShadowSystems, LLC*, located in Bangladesh.

You’ve paid your yearly subscription fee for this service. You’ve read the TOS and EULAs. You have spoken with support tech “Steve” in New Delhi, India about the Super-Dooper Ver. 5.2 security system they have installed on their servers. You’re comfortable with all this. Good for you, you dummy. I bet you’re the same type who believes everything the doctor tells you without even the slightest need to question him.

Here you go… you sit if front of your system with the intention of banging out a couple chapters of that detective novel tonight. You’re at a really good part with lots of shooting and stuff. You fire up your dumb terminal and navigate using your Megaputer browser to your login screen so you can access YOUR STUFF. Oopsy! Page Not Found. Whaddya’ gonna’ do now, hmm? Call Steve in New Delhi, huh? OK. Steve tells you that the server is down for maintenance, but the real fact of the matter is that a 13 year old cracker named Yuri Titov has won a 1000 ruble bet with his buddy Vasily by breaking the Super-Dooper Ver 5.2 security system. COOL, huh? By the way, Yuri stole all your illegal MP3s and uncle Bob’s tinfoil hat designs. Hope you had those patented.

Sorry folks, computing in the clouds just ain’t for this old geek. I want MY STUFF on MY SYSTEM. Y’all are free to make your own choices.

Until next time… remember, doctors fork up too.


*These are fictitious companies created 100% within the warped mind of the author. Any resemblance to real companies like Google, IBM, or Microsoft is purely in YOUR own head.

Additional reading:

Linux on the cloud: IBM, Novell, and Redhat – ComputerWorld

Cloud Computing – Infoworld