60-something Mother Schools 30-something Son on The Cloud

Before Google+, there was a steady stream of blog posts, tweets and general discussion about Apple’s new iCloud service. It’s not that new; it’s the new MobileMe which was the new .Mac.

Remember .Mac? Seems most people don’t, and understandably so.

I remember it, though. I was a sophomore or junior in college at the time, had a Mac in my dorm room while most of the campus had PC labs. This was before laptops, and before computers were pretty much a requirement for incoming students. The best way to work on a paper during a long break between classes was to carry around a floppy disk. There were a couple of computer labs that also had a few Macs. As long as none were in use, I could pop in my floppy disk and work on a paper or project. I just had to remember to pop the disk into my computer in my dorm room, transfer a copy and then transfer the updated version before the next day. You can imagine, perhaps remember, the large room for error and version confusion, not to mention simply forgetting the disk in my dorm or, perhaps worse, in the computer lab.

Enter .Mac. As long as I kept a copy of my paper or project on .Mac’s iDisk, I could mount it on a computer lab computer and get work done. Transferring the latest version was fairly simple, and left little room for version error. In a computer lab, I could make some final edits before class, print it and hand it in. Heck, I could even make final edits and email the final copy to the professor! It was awesome.

Granted, .Mac wasn’t without its shortcomings or failures, but it beat having to carry around..check that, remember to carry around, a disk and hope the lone Mac in a PC lab wasn’t in use.

All this talk of iCloud reminds me of how far cloud computing has come, and an “ah-ha” family tech moment from the Christmas holidays.

I work from home, which means I’m easily accessible when my parents have tech-related questions. Facebook. Email. Transferring photos from one device to another. What keywords to use to search for something. Enough questions have been asked and answered over the past two years that I’m giving serious consideration to writing a little self-help manual for them, complete with a dictionary.

Apparently I underestimated the amount of technical information my parents have been absorbing.

Back in December, my eldest brother was home for the holidays. We both conduct a fair amount of business from our smart phones, and at the dinner table or standing around the kitchen, we seem to have an informal contest on who checks their smart phones the most in less than five seconds. Most times ended in a draw. He does, however, far out number me in text messages, both sent and received.

From his business travels across the globe for five straight years, he’s acquired more friends and experiences than anyone else I know. I may have snowboarded Whistler, but he has been skiing in Dubai. Can we say sibling¬†rivalry? At any rate, I’ve always considered him “with it.”

So one evening, my brother mentions an email from a friend about a senior position opening up in Chicago.

“Apply,” Mom said.

“I will,” my brother said.

“Go upstairs! Go send in your resume.”

“My resume is not on that computer.”

“So?”

“It’s on the computer in my apartment.”

Without missing a beat, my mother asks: “You mean you don’t use the cloud?”

The Cloud! My mother, in her 60s, understands “the cloud” and is completely mystified how my 30-something brother does not use it to keep something like his resume handy.

I was impressed, and found myself thinking hey, if my 60-something mother understands the cloud, then anyone can. Apple, with its launch of iCloud, seems to be thinking the same thing.

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