September 1, 2014
Moving to the Cloud
Everyone seems to be moving to the cloud these days. So here at Ranch & Country Magazine we have decided to join the crowd. As part of this move, the digital version of our Fall 2014 Quarterly Issue is on the cloud in a new way. (Take a look: www.RanchAndCountryMag.com)
But what exactly is the cloud? Those of us who came of age in the ‘60’s know that Judy Collins concluded, after looking at clouds from both sides, that she really didn’t know clouds at all. Her song may have heralded one of the biggest phenomena of the 21st century – cloud based computing.
Back in the old days (the early 1990’s) when a large number of people began buying desktop personal computers, the focus was the hard drive. We bought software and installed it on computer’s hard drive. With the software we created files and saved them on the hard drive. We knew where our files were physically, and where the software program was that created the files. The cloud is rapidly changing this approach to computing, replacing the hard drive’s role with software applications that are accessed online and files that are saved by uploading them, to somewhere in the cloud….
Actually, the cloud began through the internet. Early internet websites displayed content that was from somewhere other than the viewer’s hard drive. The internet itself, was, and is a cloud. As the internet became more popular, a new feature known as web 2.0 allowed visitors to certain websites to interact with the website. By creating a user name and password, a person could upload things to a website – photos, comments, etc. The interaction between user and storage/service provider was the beginning of cloud computing. This led to the introduction of large cloud platforms for both data storage and applications, and the massive genre of social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, etc.
Most of us use the cloud every day. But few have an answer for where the cloud is. For example, Amazon Web Services, launched in 2006, which provides cloud services for not only the world’s largest online retailer but also for Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and various other large enterprises, has server storage locations in Virginia, California, Oregon, Sau Paulo, Ireland, Singapore, Toyko, Beijing, and Sydney. And as for what the cloud is, it is something somewhere in the ephemeral link between data and application through which we can, almost as if by magic, access things that we want to access. Once again to echo Judy Collins, I really don’t know the cloud at all.
When we began publishing Ranch & Country Magazine in 1995, our first in-house computer was a Mac with 500 megabytes of hard drive storage. Our magazine print files were stored on an external hard drive, affectionately named “Dark Wing.” But today, we are adjusting to the reality of cloud dominance. For example, the software we use to create our magazine files, Adobe Creative Suite, is gradually phasing out availability of the software in a box, in favor of a cloud based program, Adobe Creative Cloud, accessed by subscription.
www.RanchAndCountry.com was launched in 1996. It was a static display of our logo and an image or two with text descriptions about the magazine. There was no interactivity platform for our customers. But it was a start.
In 2004 www.RanchAndCountry.com was re-designed using a web 2.0 platform that allows our customers to interact with the site, to upload photos and information about their listings into an internet-based search database, thereby enabling visitors to the site to search for and view the properties. We were officially on the cloud well before the phrase “on the cloud” had gone mainstream.
But Ranch & Country Magazine has always been a separate entity. With its graphical flair and tabloid size, it is and has always been meant to be printed, to be picked up and held and read as a hard copy. For a number of years we have been posting a print file of each issue of the magazine on the website so that our viewers could view the magazine online. In that regard, Ranch & Country Magazine has been on the cloud for some time because it has been on the internet, but only as a print file (PDF)
However, beginning with the Fall 2014 Quarterly issue, the digital version has a new format. Go to www.RanchAndCountryMag.com, click on the cover, and you’re off to the cloud! If you like the new look, please let us know. Email RanchAndCountry@gmail.com. And by the way, if you’re reading this on the cloud, sending us an email is only a click away!