Here’s the latest from the technology corner: In the near future, we will store all our data in the Cloud and use lighter computer devises.
By Joel Bernbaum, Family Lawyer
Most of you have by now heard of the latest advancement in technology, cloud computing. Apple introduced iCloud in 2011 with the release of iOS 5 and has updated it with the release of iOS 6 and the iPhone5. Microsoft, Google and Amazon and other technology companies have similar features that are available or will be available soon. Cloud Computing allows a user to access data, stored on another computer or server, over the Internet through a Wi-Fi or other connection. Simply put, you store your files, settings, music, photos or other data off-site and access what data you need when you need to use it. Apple’s version, iCloud, allows real time synching of data between all your devises running some form of Apple’s operating system, including, iPhones, iPad’s, MAC book’s and iMac desktops.
Technology Corner: Old Wine in New Bottle?
This concept is not new and has been used for many years. It is being repackaged, renamed and remarketed to the consumer in order to increase its use and also in many instances, increases productivity and saves storage resources on local computers. Companies like Mindshift Technologies have provided distributed services to Law Firms and other companies for many years. As a sign of the future, Best Buy has recently purchased Mindshift Technologies. All of the settings, files, software and other data are stored on servers offsite from the Law Firm or Company. Each workstation or individual onsite computer is connected to the offsite server by hard wire (Ethernet) or Wi-Fi. This allows for better security (backup) of the data, software, etc. It also allows for easier and faster distribution of system upgrades. For example, if Microsoft Office issues an upgrade, this is installed on the offsite server and then distributed to the individual client computers onsite rather than individually upgrading each workstation.
When you rent a movie from Netflix, watch a video on YouTube or access Facebook, you are using cloud computing. The movie, video or data is stored offsite on the mother ship and sent to your computer over the Internet. There are many sites such as Dropbox.com that host files, data backups, photos and music that allow you access with multiple computers over the Internet.
Apple Raises the Bar and Allows Users to Store Data on its Servers
Apple and other companies have raised the ante. Rather than store your music, videos and other data on your individual or local computer, you can now store that data on Apple servers. This allows the data to be accessed by any computer or iOS device (iPhone or iPad) that is registered to the iCloud service. For example, my laptop and phone did not have the capacity to store all of my photos and music. So I had to load and unload albums and photos in order to fit them on my iPhone and iPad. Now, if I am connected to the Internet, I can access my entire library of music and photos from all my devices. This also frees up storage space on all of my devices since the data is stored offsite on Apple servers. I can also store all my files offsite and access them through my iCloud account.
Versions of Cloud Computing
Google and Microsoft have versions of cloud computing that allow you to compose, store and share PowerPoint presentations, word processing documents and other data. I prepared a PowerPoint presentation for a CLE Workshop. I uploaded it to a Microsoft website and provided settings to allow all my speakers access to the presentation files. They were able to view and comment on the presentation during a conference call. The revised presentation was made available the same way and many hours of work were saved in coordinating the workshop. Additionally, I was able to use the presentation from the Internet as a backup in case something happened to my files or my computer.
Google Docs is a free suite of programs from Google that includes a word processer, presentation program and spreadsheet. All of the programs are maintained by Google, offsite on their servers, i.e, in the cloud. You can access the files from any computer by logging in to your Google account. Go to Google’s website and, look for the More selection at the top of the home page and investigate Google Docs.
In the near future, we will store all our data in the Cloud and use lighter computer devises like the iPad to access and simplify our workplace and home computing experience.
Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq. joined Timoney Knox as a Partner in 2010. His practice is concentrated in family law. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and served as President of the Pennsylvania Chapter. Mr. Bernbaum is a former Chair of the Family Law Section of the Montgomery Bar Association and is currently Chair of the Association’s Technology Committee.
Family law professionals answer questions about the impact technology has had on their practices, and share their predictions for the future.