The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
On March 3 I published Part #1 of this article at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=24174 and it is still available there. Part #1 provides an explanation of cloud computing. In this new article, I will provide a bit of history of cloud computing and then will focus on genealogy-specific uses of the cloud.
In the beginning...
When home computers first appeared in the late 1970s, they were free-standing devices. Home computers in those days typically did not communicate with other computers. If you wanted to get information out of your computer, you or someone else had to first put the information into the computer and store it. In those days, information was usually entered from the keyboard or from audio cassette tapes that had been recorded on another, similar computer. In the early 1980s, floppy disks started to become common.
By the mid-1980s, modems became popular, and a home computer user could dial the modem to connect to another computer. We could even transfer files over the telephone lines. Using the 300-baud modems that were popular at the time, transferring an entire book might require several hours. Compare that to today's high-speed broadband Internet connections where the same book can be transferred in a few seconds!