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Digital Universe

All about Information Technology

The Cloud

Digital Universe by

People often ask me, “What is the Cloud?” It’s kind of hard to define, but here are two aspects – Data Storage and Computing.

Data Storage

One aspect of The Cloud is for storing and accessing data.

For example, in the “Olden Days”, I would buy movies at a store or rent them from a place like Blockbuster. I had the movie in my possession as a physical thing – a VCR cassette or DVD.

Now I can buy or rent a movie from an Internet site like Amazon. While I have purchased the movie, the data that makes up that movie is stored on an Amazon server somewhere. I can access my movie anywhere and anytime, as long as I have Internet access.  My movie is “in the Cloud” and not physically stored in my living room.

The Cloud consists of digital data created by anyone from individuals, companies, hospitals, and governments, just to name a few.


Cloud Computing is another aspect that includes not only data, but software as well. The software and data are running off a computer and server at a physical location like a data center. I don’t have to install the software on my home PC, i just login via the Internet.

Remember back in the day, this Internet company called “America On Line” or AOL, and they sent out millions of CDs with AOL software on them. The software had to be installed on a computer to access the Internet, email, and chatrooms. Back then, everything had an installation disk to run a program off your personal computer.

Contrast that with the email provider, Gmail. Nobody has to “install Gmail software”, everyone just logs in at www.gmail.com, and views their email. All of your Gmail emails, SPAM, and documents aren’t on your computer (unless you save them), instead they reside in a data center somewhere.

The Cloud = Data and/or Software accessed via the Internet.

The Future is Digital.


From Analog to Digital – The First Digital Revolution

What is Data?

Data is any kind of observation, measurement, facts, calculation, or statistic that a person would use to make informed decisions.

So how about this weather?

Every morning, I check the actual current temperature and the predicted highs and lows for the day to determine how to dress – t-shirt?  sweater?  shorts/pants?  Layers? (This is South Dakota after all – I may need shorts and a parka – IDK).

The data in this example is the temperature values, and my brain (hopefully) processes that information based on previous experience, to make my decision on how to dress for the day.

Old School Sciencing

Here’s another example of data using the same measurement – temperature.  My dad wrote the morning temperature on the calendar every single day for years.

(Image credit: http://www.takepart.com/photos/7-alternatives-wrapping-paper/doilies-or-coffee-filters)

When my parents passed and we cleaned their house, we found years and years of calendars, and on nearly each day, my dad’s handwritten observation was present.  This added up to decades worth of data, but how can it be made useful in case someone wanted to look at all of the temperature values to look at trends, highs/lows, etc?

The First Digital Revolution

The temperature data my dad created was in what we would call “analog” form.  It still has value, but to really use those numbers, I would have to somehow standardize and put it into a form that can be easily manipulated.  I can read each date and type all the data into a spreadsheet or database – I will have recreated my dad’s analog temperature readings into a digital form – a string of ones and zeros (more later).  There is beauty in the analog calendars, but digitizing makes it easier to use if I have questions. Alas, my dad missed it because he didn’t make it past the Industrial Age, but he would have found it amazing what we could do now and learn from his daily notation.

This Digital Revolution of converting data from analog to digital made the manipulation, analysis, transmission, and storage of data much faster and efficient.  This kicked off the Information Age.

The Future is Digital – Welcome

IMAGE CREDIT: https://www.santanderpyme.com.mx/detalle-noticia/guia-uso-twitter-pyme.html

Build a Data Center

I propose that the SWO build a Data Center utilizing the settlement funds we recently received.

What is a Data Center?

  • A data center is a physical building that is connected to the Internet.
  • Inside the data center are multiple computer servers and other equipment needed to store, manage and process massive amounts of data.
  • The owner of the building (the SWO) then leases storage space to clients who need space to store their data.
  • Examples of clients could be large corporations like Microsoft, Amazon or Facebook; government entities like the State of South Dakota or federal agencies; and any other type of business or organization that will pay for secure, reliable storage that allows them to access their data 24/7.

It’s a cool concept, but complex. I will continue to write about the Digital Universe – including more about data centers, the future of digital data (massive growth projected by 2020 driven by the “Internet of Things”), components like hardware and software. There are a lot of things to consider and think about, but it would definitely put the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate at the forefront of technology and economic development.

We can’t afford to let the future pass us by, and the Future is Digital.


YouTube Video – less than 5 minutes long!



I found a cartoonist that works at a data center.  Check it out here: Kip & Gary.



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