A World in the Cloud

You have probably heard a lot about cloud computing in the past few years. After all, it is being lauded as the “new dot com” and “the biggest shift in computing in decades”. The promise of life in the cloud is very post-modern, where all your gadgets and electronics access all your information, all the time. Your car can call up the same files and music on your desktop computer or iPhone. You can monitor your employees’ productivity while trekking in Nepal, and very easily pay your bills online. Add to that, your precious data is secure and constantly backed up. Your life will be in the virtual space, where you tap into it at any given point.

In more technical terms, cloud computing is a system in which computing resources are provided “as a service” over the internet to users who do not need to have control over the technology infrastructure. One of the most commonly-used example of cloud computing is web mail, such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail. Since data is not stored on your local hard disk, many cloud computing applications offer users access to their data and applications from nearly any point of access to the internet, whether it is a mobile phone, a laptop, or virtually any electronic device with wi-fi or 3G capabilities.


While the cloud will definitely affect the way we go about our personal lives, it is our business dealings that are undergoing the biggest shift since Microsoft launched its Office suite in 1989. Oh, just count the ways: corporations can start cutting costs and head counts by using the services and infrastructures of specialized companies. Collaborative work applications increase efficiency at work. Technology that combines real-time analyses and complex, dynamic datasets will helping save lives, organize cities, and increase efficiency. Business opportunities in the cloud are already popping right and left. The cloud is big news for work.

Internet search giant Google was among the first to adopt an extreme cloud-based approach when it released the Cr-48, a laptop based on their browser, Chrome. It has minimal local storage, no file system, no print drivers, and no place to install applications. Google tossed the concept of locally-saved content and moved everything to the cloud, instead replacing the desktop with a browser. The world is yours—as long as it’s available on the Web. Other companies are following the lead. Desktop heavy weights like Microsoft, Skype, and iTunes are taking to the cloud. Apple’s Mac App Store is introducing even more applications, where app developers can easily place their softwares on the store for users to download and install.


The future is here, and it is a bright one — until trouble starts to set in. As most of us have experienced embarrassing situations where the Internet stops working at the worst of times, so it should be easy to understand how cloud computing is wonderful when it works but disastrous when it fails. The risk of a security breach or a service outage is high and costly, particularly in the enterprise space. There is also the case for data paranoia, as the legal framework for cloud computing is still evolving. As consumers and clients, we need solid assurances that our data is as safe as sound as the one we have on our own hard drives. Finally, especially in countries like Jordan, there is still a lack of reasonably priced, dependable high-speed broadband.

Yet, even with the short comings, the cloud is everywhere. It is all around us. Probably even now, in this very room in which you’re reading. You can marvel at its wonders as you pay your tickets using Jordan’s e-government platform, or read the newspaper online. You use it when you share a document on Google Docs at work, sync your phone with your computer, or stream a song through Pandora.

Welcome to the cloud, a matrix of the world’s data saved and served remotely, where your life is seamlessly connected with giant servers located halfway across the world. Whether you know it or not, you’re already plugged in.

[Originally published in Venture Magazine, August 2011. Written by Roba Al-Assi]

More Hyperlink articles:

It’s Time to Learn How to Surf
It’s Real Time
Start a Blog is NOT a Social Media Strategy
Advertising on the Information Highway
Social is the Word
The iPad Will Change the World
Does the Internet Now Speak Arabic?
Google You: Your Professional Brand Online
Left that Copy
Virtual Goods: A Dollar’s Worth of Pixels
Dial the Web
It’s a Wiki Wiki World
Tis the End of Software as We Know It
Revolution 2.0
Good Web Design is Invisible
How to Use Crowdsourcing to Change Your Business
The Age of Overwhelming Information
The Power of a Like Button
Another Social Google Attempt

هناك ضوءٌ لا ينطفئ

“There Is A Light That Will Never Go Out” is by South African artist James Webb.

I am obsessed with Darat Al-Funun’s latest installation, which proudly, loudly, and brightly proclaims that “there is a light that will never go out”.

Indeed, there is always a light. I found mine easily enough as a young teenager; the hazy white light of my online devices.

There is a light that never goes out.

Alaa Wardi’s Latest: Wenti Mastaneti

Can you believe the amount of Arabic pop culture posts that I’m posting these days? It can only mean one thing: the creative Arab class is finally rising.

Here’s another great number by Alaa Wardi.

Such talent! Brilliant job, indeed.

Ana kont fe makani sneen
Wenti mastaneti tagollek 3an 2e7sasi leek
Ana kont 3am ba3’ani feeki
Wenti masme3teeni 3’anetlek men jowa galbi
Weli weli sho gara7teni
Wenti Ma5aleteni 2arateb 7ayati 7awaleeki
Weli weli sho el 7ag 3alai
L2ani mastaneet 7abetk men doon tafkeer

Ya ba efhamni
Wenti mastaneti
Ana 6ab3i 3’eer
Wenti mastaneti
Lazem tensani
Wenti mastaneti
Wenti mastaneti

An sort 3am faker lab3eed
Wenti mahtameti 3abalek 2shya2 2ekteer
7atetk ana been 3nay
Wenti kasheti shakli 5ashet shmal feki
Ttzakeri sho 7aketi le
Ennek bt7ebini bet7ebeni
Aslan ana walla mo za3lan
Ana mabedi ana mabedi

Ya ba efhamni
Ana mabedi
enta 3’eer 3anni
alsan mabedi
3endi 7ayati
Lek walla mabedi
Yaret et7el 3anni

Ya bay…

Zeid and the Wings, Live Tonight at the Citadel

Don’t miss out on Zeid and the Wings, live tonight at 8:00. They have a special place in my heart because Y is one of the wings. Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while should have read many conversations with Y, as she happens to be one of my favorite people in the world.

Here are some of my favorite Zeid and the Wings songs:

Zeid and the Wings are opening for Mashrou Leila tonight. Concert starts at 8:00. Tickets are for 15JDs, and they are sold at the door.

Event organized by ArtMedium.

Akher Zapheer: The end of it is a melancholy tune – اخرتو لحن حزين

وخدني بعيد عن عمان بعيد برا…
وسوق فيي شوي شوي عليمين، ولعواميد علشوباك بتتوالا.
هادا الطريق أخرتو لحن حزين، والسيجارة نستني نستني.
نستني وشالتني وحطتني وقلبتني من جوا لبرا
خلتني حزين، أنا وياك احنا التنين.
وهلأ صار الوقت تزيد سرعة، سكر عيونك وزيد سرعة.

There’s something really magical about musically experiencing the familiarities of your marginalized life. Magic is in the details, they say, and something weird happens when these details transcend into song.

It’s about the choice of words and the sentence structure. It’s about the unfamiliar feeling of hearing your accent in a tune, as opposed to English, Lebanese, Egyptian, Bedouin. It’s about the scenes of the city; the white stone, the nostalgia of sitting with a friend in that same coffee shop, the black beetles and the gas stations. There’s no Hollywood dazzle, no artificiality, no extensive experience. It’s about the familiar faces; strangers you often see in Turtle Green, people you went to school with, friends sitting out of focus in the background.

“Akherto Lahen Hazeen” is the latest single by Jordanian band Akher Zapheer, and a very good one at that. The music is definitely different, and the video is awesome.

Great job, guys. I hope you borrow a few pages from the likes of Radiohead and Mashrou Leila by offering the music as free MP3 downloads. It would also be fantastic if there is a write up of the lyrics.

It brings up memories of driving out of Amman with friends, with loved ones, with parents, with strangers. It reminds me of the pine trees scattered in random thin lines. It reminds me of staring out of the window, of conversations in the city, of laughter, of pain, of loss, of love.

وسكر عيونك، واسمع الهوا… طلعنا الهموم الجواتنا… أنا حر مش مجبور علطاعة، والسيجارة نستني، نستني.

Translation for the non-Arabic speakers:
“Take me away from Amman, take me away to the open,
Drive me around slowly on the right lane, with the poles fading away in the window,
The end of this road is a melancholy tune, and the cigarette helps me escape,
It sends me into oblivious, lifts me up, puts me down, flips me around inside out,
it made me sad, both you and I,
Now is the time to increase your speed, close your eyes, and increase your speed,
Close your eyes and listen to the wind, let all your worries slip away,
I’m free, I don’t have to obey,
and the cigarette helps me escape.”