Cloud Computing then and now; a look at how far we’ve come

About a year ago (specifically last February), “Cloud Computing” was a fairly new techno-buzzword. In fact, when Jori blogged about it then, we got a fair few comments asking what it was. At the time, the “cloud” was a nebulous thing true to its name; when something went into the electronic “cloud,” just where was it going and how were you supposed to get it back?

For those who don’t know: the “Cloud” is the general name for the dynamic, functional space on the internet (so on servers all over the world) where data can be stored and accessed by anyone through the web. Think of your Gmail account; your messages live online somewhere, and when you log into Gmail to get them, you go out to the web instead of the messages coming to you. The same functionality can be applied anywhere, and we see it being used more all the time. Apple’s MobileMe (formerly .Mac) essentially rents subscribers a chunk of space on Apple’s servers to post photos, host a website, send and receive email, etc. Practically, the user doesn’t really do anything she or he didn’t already; you still put in a username and password and there’s your stuff, whatever it is–the difference is that all of that stuff used to have to be on a hard drive somewhere, and now it’s in the aether, floating around between computers, easy to access but impossible to locate-and for some, this is troubling.

But not everyone sees it that way; many respected institutions including universities, government agencies, and even corporations are beginning to see Cloud Computing as a way not just to maximize investment but a way to reach more people. In September of this year, the White House announced a multi-billion-dollar initiative aimed at streamlining the transition of much of its data into “cloud-accessible” form. Even NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) uses the Cloud, and in a way that would have been impossible without the architecture built by Google, IBM, Apple and others; Satellite data from multiple government agencies are aggregated together in “constellations”, or mini-clouds, so that anyone behind the firewall can see it all at once.

Speaking of making our jobs easier, I’d love to mention the success we’ve had at Ascend using Adobe’s Acrobat Connect, which in addition to being incredibly cool (think of a Wiki, only everyone can work on it at the same time), is incredibly useful. Ascend uses Acrobat Connect to hold online training sessions on Adobe’s own software–so now, thanks to the “Cloud” in which the class data and all the various users’ information can be temporarily housed, students in London can tune in and take a Photoshop class with students in Phoenix, which is good news, since most companies are going global faster than we can keep up.

Personally, I think the Cloud is awesome; I use MobileMe and Gmail for my email, PhotoBucket to share photos, and YouTube to express myself and get my daily dose of entertainment–but you know what? For the moment, I’m still making back-ups of it all on my external hard drive, and that sits on my desk…so I can keep an eye on it. Know what I mean?

For further reading:

White House unveils cloud computing initiative

Microsoft’s Azure

Adobe Online Training Classes

online-press-release999- by Jori Curry…

In addition to our hands-on classes, Ascend is now offering Adobe training online by Adobe Authorized instructors. Ascend is dedicated to providing companies a convenient, cost-effective training solution, and the Adobe Online division of Ascend Training offers an affordable and results-driven online solution.

Using Adobe Acrobat Connect, students interact with the instructor online for a user-friendly, interactive experience. Students can ask questions, and interact with both the instructor and the rest of the class. Benefits to Online Training: Live, interactive experience with Adobe Authorized Instructors,Elimination of travel costs, Delivered on a Macintosh or Windows platform.

Upcoming Online Training Dates:

Online: Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 Level 1, Beginner to Intermediate
Jun 17 – 19
Jul 29 – 31
Sep 30 – Oct 2

Online: Adobe Flash CS4 Level 1, Beginner to Intermediate
Jun 24 – 26
Jul 22 – 24
Sep 16 – 18

Online: Adobe Flash CS4 Level 2, Actionscript 3.0
Aug 26 – 28

Online: Adobe Photoshop CS4 Level 1, Beginner to Intermediate
Jun 11 – 12
Aug 20 – 21

Online: Adobe InDesign CS4 Level 1, Beginner to Intermediate
Jun 29 – 30
Sep 21 – 22

Online: Adobe InDesign for Quark Users Level 1
Jul 27 – 28

Online: Premiere Pro CS4 Level 1, Beginner to Intermediate
Sep 9 – 11

Online: Adobe Flex 3 – Developing Rich Client Applications, Beginner to Intermediate
Aug 10 – 12

Online: Adobe Illustrator CS4 Level 1, Beginner to Intermediate
Aug 5 – 6
Nov 9 – 10

Pano for the iPhone: A Mini Photoshop Photomerge App

Pano for iPhone

– by Jori Curry

While we all may be holding our breath waiting for some form of Photoshop for the iPhone,Debacle Software does a great job of mimicking Photomerge.  Upon launching Pano, you are led through steps such as taking pictures, and then save, delete, or retake it. One thing that Pano has that Photoshop’s Photomerge does not is a transparent overlay showing you were to line up your next picture. We have seen this kind of thing in the CS3 Clone Stamp tool, but Photomerge for Photoshop has yet to give us any kind of overlay options.

Once you are finished taking all your photos, Pano seams the images together and saves them to the iPhone Photo album. The results are really outstanding, especially when you put it together that all this was created on a mobil app. That and the $3.00 price tag are very worthwhile.

Adobe Photoshop Marketplace

A community based resource for all things Photoshop!


A community based resource for all things Photoshop!


– By Jori Curry

Adobe has launched “Adobe Photoshop Marketplace this week to present a comprehensive collection of Photoshop related services, products and communities. The goal is to offer a variety of rescources including learning opportunities, User Groups, plug-ins, or tips.

The goal is to create an online Photoshop community in which users can:

Search for products, offerings, services related to Adobe Photoshop, Share offerings directly from the marketplace and Empower users to rate and review postings.

    Photoshop Marketplace is a free offering for the Photoshop community to better connect with offerings that involve Photoshop. Registering on Adobe Photoshop Marketplace creates a profile that helps users promote their offerings that creates links and keywords directing users back to your website.

    In my opinion, this is a stellar outreaching by Adobe, to create more communities within the Adobe website. in addition to this Photoshop Marketplace, there is also an Adobe AIR Marketplace. One can only assume that a “Flash Marketplace” is not far behind.

    Ascend Training offerings are listed on this marketplace, such as Chicago events, online classes, and hands-on classes.

    Questions may be directed to: