Skies clear as Bill and I talk about the ‘cloud’

The other day I saw a link in Google News to a New York Times story about enhancing cloud-computing capabilities and said to myself, “Whoa - enough already.”

I keep hearing about this cloud thingie, but all I know from clouds is that they are puffy white things in the sky.

What could a cloud possible have to do with computers?

So I decided to call my friend Bill out in Seattle. He’s a world-class computer geek, so if anyone could tell me, he could. “Hi, Bill,” I said when I had him on the line. “It’s me.”

“Hey, man - how ya doin’?” Bill said.

“I’m good, bud. How’re you? How’s Melinda? How’re the hamsters?” I asked.

“We’re all good. So what’s shakin’?”

“It’s this cloud thing, Bill. I keep hearing about it, and I’m clueless. What’s a cloud?”

“Hey, that’s easy. It’s a puffy white thing up in the sky.”

“Funny,” I said.

“What’s funny? Ever hear David Gates sing ‘Clouds,’ with Bread?”

“Any relation?” I asked.

“Who, Bread?”

“No — David Gates.”

“Oh. No, I don’t think so.”

Somehow we’d gone off on a tangent.

“It’s cloud computing I was calling about,” I said, trying to get the conversation back on track.

“Oh. Well, why didn’t you say so? Cloud computing and cloud storage are the latest big things. See, there are these great big servers in the sky ... ”

“Hold it right there,” I said, cutting him off. “I don’t buy servers in the sky.”

“I didn’t think you would. No, they’re actually in my basement. Well, some of them are anyway.”

“That I believe. Wait — ‘some’?”

“Yeah, some. Google has some in its basement, Apple has some in its basement. There might be some in garages too.”

“What are they for?”

“No one actually knows yet. We just figured it would be another way to separate people from their money.”

“I can’t believe you’re telling me that.”

“Ah, well, you’re not going to tell anyone. And if you did, who’d believe you?”

“You have a point,” I conceded. “OK. Hey, we still on for the barbecue this weekend?”

“Sure. We’re gonna smoke a pig in a poke,” he said, and with that he hung up.

I sighed and went to my computer, not feeling enlightened.

I was just about to type “cloud” into the Google search bar when the phone rang.

It was Bill, and he said, “If you decide to look it up, don’t use Google. Just sayin’.”

I Googled “cloud” anyway, mainly because I didn’t think I could Bing something, and found out everything I wanted to know and more about cloud computing and cloud storage.

What I didn’t find out is what would happen if the cloud became full.

Would it start to rain data?

I also didn’t see word one about those puffy white things in the sky.

Good thing I learned about them back in grade school.