In this particular case it's more of a company-owned cloud with a lot better security than some of the more public ones (or so I'm told). The advantage to the company is two-fold. One, when they want to upgrade the software they can just do it and not have to hope that the distributor network follows the procedures and actually does it. Two, in the case of someone leaving the company they can shut off access immediately without wondering what's going on with the laptop in the mean time.
Good question Jack. As long as there are no security breaches and up-time is always (and I mean always) there, I think it is a good option. However, in talking with a colleague who actually owns a company that provides cloud services, he is kept awake at night by the threat of security breaches. He tells me that once this happens and it goes public, the backlash from the marketplace that he services will be huge and costly.
So again, I think that the initial work apps you are using will be fine for now. I'm just cautious to keep sensitive data off the cloud and watch the news for any potential security breaches or downtime problems.
OK - I see where your coming from Greg. Just out of curiosity, what would you think about an eventual move to the cloud? I was previously opposed to that altogether, but after using some work apps, I'm starting to change my thoughts.
Not knowing @TJ's particular situation this might not apply, but my workplace has a "no cameras except with a camera pass" policy which is routinely ignored by everyone who has a cell phone of almost any sort. They don't check, of course, so it's something of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
But I wonder how many of these policies are relics from the day when designs were drawn out on E-size sheets of paper and photographing them with a spy camera to steal the design was a big deal? Now, with designs in my business (VLSI design) being gigabytes of data on a computer, it's much more of a risk for someone with a thumb drive to slurp up the design and walk out with it in their pocket. Even an iPod (which can be used as a mass storage device) would work, but we don't have a "no thumbdrive" or "no iPod" policy (the latter would cause a revolt among the rank and file!).
There are situations where photography should be banned, but for the most part I think it's silly and a waste of everyone's time ... and money.
Fast, high resolution, tablet computers like the iPad will, most certainly, become increasingly powerful, making the need for cumbersome, slow desktops and notebooks obsolete. Currently, my smart phone handles many tasks more quickly than my office-based and portable systems.
Warren, though I tend to agree with your arguement I am reminded back when I started in this field of the old-time draftsmen arguing the same points that new-fangled AutoCAD Release versions will never replace a good board drawing.
First off, traveling is not a good design environment, despite the long hours on airplanes and hotels.
There's the hotel soap, etc. with writing so small, and with such lousy contrast that you often wash your hair with mouth wash!
But worst of all, as we progress in our careers, we are also aging. Our eyesight is degrading. It ain't so easy lookin' at things no more!
Even on my laptop with glasses it is not an easy task to see your work. Even on a medium-sized schematic you can only see a partial view with a 17" screen. And, as you know, that 17 inches is not square but squished in the vertical. It is far from ideal, and largely a pain in the neck.
I applaud their efforts, but until the screen size improves, and airplane seats get bigger to accommodate them, I just don't see mobile devices helping anyone over 21.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.