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The Read Aloud Cloud. An Innocent's Guide to the Tech Inside. Edition No. 1

  • ID: 5179163
  • Book
  • October 2020
  • 176 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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What is “the cloud”? Is it here or there? Should it be allowed? Should I even care?

Have you ever imagined the internet as a giant Rube Goldberg machine? Or the fast-evolving cloud computing space as a literal jungle filled with prehistoric beasts? Does a data breach look like a neo-noir nightmare full of turned-up coat collars and rain-soaked alleys? Wouldn’t all these vital concepts be easier to understand if they looked as interesting as they are? And wouldn’t they be more memorable if we could explain them in rhyme? Whether you’re a kid or an adult, the answer is: YES!

The medicine in this spoonful of sugar is a sneaky-informative tour through the past, present and future of cloud computing, from mainframes to serverless and from the Internet of Things to artificial intelligence. Forrest is a professional explainer whose highly-rated conference talks and viral cartoon graphics have been teaching engineers to cloud for years. He knows that a picture is worth a thousand words. But he has plenty of words, too.

Your hotel key, your boarding pass,
The card you swipe to pay for gas,
The smart TV atop the bar,
The entertainment in your car,
Your doorbell, toothbrush, thermostat,
The vacuum that attacked your cat,
They all connect the cloud and you.
Maybe they shouldn't, but they do. 

As a graduation gift (call it “Oh the Places You’ll Go” for engineering students), a cubicle conversation starter, or just a delightfully nerdy bedtime story for your kids, “The Read-Aloud Cloud” will be the definitive introduction to the technologies that everyone uses and nobody understands. You can even read it silently if you want. But good luck with that.

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Chapter 1: What is the Cloud

Visual language: minimalist. Cartoon characters on white background. Images are goofy and memorable, such as a Roomba chasing a cat Content: Covers the ubiquity of the cloud in real life (connected/smart home devices, online services, etc) and sets the tone for why we should care that a book is dedicated to this topic. Asks the big questions that will be answered throughout the text: What is the cloud? How does it work? Why should I care? Now that I know that, what should I do?

Chapter 2: Evolution of the Cloud (A Prehistory)

Visual language: This section will take place in a prehistoric jungle. Tangled vines, volcanoes, dinosaurs, etc. Content: Covers the background of computing, from mainframes through the client/server era up to virtualization

Chapter 3: The Internet: A Series of Tubes

Visual language: A steampunk mad scientist’s laboratory, with lots of Rube Goldberg-esque tubes and gears Content: Covers the basics of how data gets from you to the cloud and back again, including remote servers, DNS, IP, etc.

Chapter 4: Cloud Architecture

Visual language: A construction job site. Bricks and mortar. Think Bob the Builder Content: Covers the core building blocks of cloud architecture. Cloud storage, databases, compute. High availability, scalability, and elasticity. Explains why these things are desirable and, in some cases, revolutionary.

Chapter 5: Cloud Security

Visual language: Noir (black and white, heavy shadows, stark silhouettes) Content: Covers some of the key risks associated with placing your data in the cloud, both personally and professionally. Uses a fictionalized breach to illustrate what can go wrong

Chapter 6: The Internet of Things

Visual language: Cubist, non-representational Content: Explains the Internet of Things, including why a smart device isn’t always better (lower security, risk of it not being supported)

Chapter 7: Artificial Intelligence

Visual language: Used future. Think Blade Runner or Terminator. Red-eyed robots, smog, and neon Content: Covers some basics of how the cloud accelerates AI and machine learning through the centralization of data. Gives examples of when that’s good and when it can be bad (for example, reinforcing conscious or unconscious biases)

Chapter 8: What Now?

Visual language: Minimalist (same as the opening section; ties everything together) Content: Looks ahead to the future of the cloud, particularly increasing levels of abstraction like serverless, voice programming, and automation. Strikes a hopeful tone and finishes by encouraging the reader to go out and build a better cloud.

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Forrest Brazeal
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