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Knock. Knock.
-Who’s there?
-What’d you mean who’s there? Spring.

I check the calendar. Indeed! Spring has sprung. And my last post is from January. Oh, well, work, work, work, some travel, tons of pictures. Hang on – pictures are a great subject to write about! And writing is a joy with music playing in the background. So let’s put something pleasant on. And let’s start with music. Precisely.

Very few people can play a musical instrument. Even fewer can play well, but music is listened to and enjoy universally. Things are somewhat different with photography: a perfect shot may be as rare as a masterly performance of Chopin, we’re all shooting pictures in spades. The reasons are obvious. First, in order to play well, you have to have the skills, and skills don’t just happen. OK, you can spend years learning photography, but pressing the shutter button is no great feat. Besides, not everyone has a piano at home, but almost everyone has a photo camera of one sort or another and can snap away to their heart’s content. Not to mention the fact that we don’t go on holiday without a camera, though we can dispense with the piano. And so, all is clear.

We like to take a lot of photos. No doubt about that. In the past, a few rolls of celluloid film were all we had to remember the holiday by. Today a week is enough to fill – without a second though – your memory card full of photos, which is an equivalent of a sackful of 36 exposure rolls. Indisputably, digital photography has its advantages, doesn’t it? This suggests some faint analogy with music – in both cases we are dealing with files. Often, quite large files. And files, which are a repository of value for us, need to be stored. What’s more, they can’t be stored just about anywhere because, if we are so attached to them, we wouldn’t fancy losing them.

It’s amazing how little we care about such important things. After all, we have all lost at some time or other some files – photos on the hard disc, our favourite tunes on an external memory device. I wouldn’t believe anyone who said they hadn’t. Of course, people fall into two categories: those who are backing up their files even as we speak, and those who say they will back them up. But does this solve the problem? I’d be surprised! Have you never met anyone who had backed up their files and yet lost irretrievably photos they had been collecting and editing painstakingly for years? I have.

Personally, I think there is only one sensible solution to the problem. It’s called the cloud. OK, OK, I can hear the jokes flying now: somebody’s got his head in the clouds, they are in cloud-cuckoo-land, from a big cloud comes little rain. It’s true – in Polish clouds don’t conjure up positive associations. In particular, clouds don’t imply permanence. But the English cloud computing is completely neutral, and the rather unfortunate literal borrowing from English does not change things. The cloud is by far the safest place under the sun. And it is not its only advantage, by any means.

The cloud provides a different safeguard than the backing up of files. Some of us back up files, some say they will, but we have all been in the cloud for a long time, however little some of us may realise this. Actually, there isn’t all that much to wonder about once we come to terms with this mysterious cloud. The cloud is simply disc space that we can use online without a limit. Disc space and applications. Each time we open our email box, we get into the cloud. When we check our friends’ latest posts on the social media , we end up in the cloud. We download a tune onto our phone – where from but the cloud? In none of those situations, does the actual location of the discs matter. They can be in another city or on another continent. The important thing is that we can access them easily: from our computer at home, from a laptop on a train, from a phone on a tram. At any time of day or night. That’s the power of the cloud.

Coming back to my point, everyone has lost some files they had kept on the hard disc or on an external device. Right? However, can you remember losing any emails from your email box, photos of transaction history on an auction website? I doubt it. And what’s the conclusion?

Safety, as I said, is not the only advantage of the cloud. Of course, if we want to keep our precious files handy at any time, we can carry them around on a portable disc. The question is: what for? The copies of our files in the cloud are exactly what’s on our portable disc, except we don’t have to carry it around with us, it is not liable to getting damaged or lost, and, what is more, it can be accessed by someone with whom we can share our photos, for example. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I emailed some pictures to someone. Pictures? Emailed? In the days of the cloud, it is a bit like taking along the piano on holiday.

The piano? On holiday? What for?

Exactly. What for?

The title of this post echoes that of a famous album by Marek Grechuta. After all, I have given a lot of space to music.

Since I have mentioned masterly performances of Chopin’s music, I may as well say that such performances were heard during the latest International Chopin Piano Competition. In the course of the whole event the Korean pianist and winner of the competition Seong-Jin Cho did not play a single false note. His note-perfect renditions were officially released by the Fryderyk Chopin National Institute.

Where to keep data in the cloud free of charge:

The cloud – what is it?

Statistics are available practically exclusively for the application of the cloud in business. Here are some by Eurostat.

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