You know where your stuff is on your computer. The programs you buy and the data you create with them are stored somewhere on your computer's...

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You know where your stuff is on your computer. The programs you buy and the data you create with them are stored somewhere on your computer’s hard drive.

You may even have more than one hard drive, but they are all still there with you and your computer in your room.

In some cases, you may have a network in your home or office, so it’s possible that the hard drive may be somewhere nearby.

None of this really applies with something called “cloud computing,” and many of its advocates are hoping that more of us will be using it in the near future.

Internet outer space

The cloud-computing concept is simple. Basically all of the applications and the data you create by using them are somewhere on the Internet.

These ethereal applications are typically run by using your Internet browser. You just surf to the Web site that contains the application you wish to use at the moment and that’s pretty much it.

From there, you start doing the job and when you’re finished, you just log off. Nothing you did or created is where you are. It’s all just out there in the Internet “cloud,” and you can access all of it from anyplace that has a computer connected to the Internet.

Cloud computing is becoming more popular, especially with our increasing accessibility to the Internet and our high-speed connections to it.

Why would you want to do your work this way? The reasons are many, but I’ll introduce you to a few.

Let’s take a typical calendar you might be keeping to stay on top of everything you plan on doing on a daily basis. Your business appointments are noted there, as well as the events you plan to attend and what you intend to accomplish.

Perhaps there are some shared resources you may need to bring along with you, such as a projector. But your business also relies on everyone else on your team to be aware of your schedule.

If everyone in your group can see the same calendar, you can coordinate dates and times together. Everyone can see what’s planned at any given moment. If something is added, changed or deleted, everyone sees it immediately. A centralized, online calendar can do all of that.

EZWebCalendar (www.EZWebCalendar.com) is an online calendar that can be accessed from anywhere by anyone who you’ve given access to your account and their own password. Depending on how much access you give to each person, they can add, change, update and delete the information displayed there.

Another important benefit to cloud computing is that your data is safe from destruction if your computer is attacked by a virus, burned in a fire, stolen or subjected to any other kind of physical damage. Your data simply isn’t there to be ruined. It’s out there in the Internet cloud.

Of course, it’s a good idea to check on the service to make sure they have sufficient backup protocols.

Check out Google for free cloud-computing applications. Google has its own Web-based calendar, plus several other applications that you can run in the cloud.

In fact, if you use Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or any other Web-based e-mail service, you’re already using a cloud-computing application and you may not have even realized it. The e-mail program and the e-mail itself aren’t stored on your computer, and you’ve been perfectly fine about that, right?

Now just take it to the next step and check out the many other applications just waiting for you in that really big Internet cloud.