December 31, 2011

Cloud Computing Explained

Let's say you're an executive at a large corporation. Your particular responsibilities include making sure that all of your employees have the right hardware and software they need to do their jobs. Buying computers for everyone isn't enough -- you also have to purchase software or software licenses to give employees the tools they require.

Whenever you have a new hire, you have to buy more software or make sure your current software license allows another user. It's so stressful that you find it difficult to go to sleep on your huge pile of money every night. Soon, there may be an alternative for executives like you. Instead of installing a suite of software for each computer, you'd only have to load one application. That application would allow workers to log into a Web-based service which hosts all the programs the user would need for his or her job.

Remote machines owned by another company would run everything from e-mail to word processing to complex data analysis programs. It's called cloud computing, and it could change the entire computer industry. In a cloud computing system, there's a significant workload shift. Local computers no longer have to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to running applications. The network of computers that make up the cloud handles them instead. Hardware and software demands on the user's side decrease. The only thing the user's computer needs to be able to run is the cloud computing system's interface software, which can be as simple as a Web browser, and the cloud's network takes care of the rest.

December 1, 2011

Your New Facebook Status: 63,206 Characters or Less

Twitter, as everyone and their tweeting dog knows, limits your status updates to 140 characters. But Facebook? Facebook laughs in the face of such limitations. On Facebook, 140 characters is barely clearing your throat. In a blog post Wednesday, Facebook’s Journalist Program Manager (and Mashable alum) Vadim Lavrusik announced that the limit of Facebook status updates has now been upped to “more than 60,000 characters.” When Mashable asked, Lavrusik explained what that meant, exactly: You can now post a status update measuring 63,206 characters.

But not one character more than that. Sorry, would-be Facebook novelists; you’ll have to split your prose into multiple updates. (As Lavrusik points out, an average novel will now require nine status updates.) This also goes for group messages and posts on your friends’ walls — so you can now annoy the heck out of them with unreasonably long catch-up messages.

Facebook update character limits have been expanding almost as rapidly as the social network itself. Until March 2009, the limit was barely bigger than Twitter’s, at 160 characters. Then 420 characters marked the end of your post’s potential. This summer, it jumped from 500 to 5,000, and now the limit has hit the stratosphere.
So much for social media keeping things short and sweet. At least one Facebook user has already attempted a status update with 60,000 characters of nonsense words, but he’ll need to add 3,206 more to hit the limit.

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