Silicon Beach: Refresh Miami January Meetup

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The year kicked off with a Refresh Miami meetup at the University of Miami's University Center student lounge. The presenter was Miami techie Peter Martinez (@orical), who is cofounder of Pikchur, a photo-sharing service.  Martinez enlightened the audience about the "cloud," which is basically geek speak for doing stuff online instead of your own hard drive.

Most of us are familiar with using online services such as Google Docs, for example. But on a larger scale, companies can host websites on the cloud and save money.

For web developers like Martinez, however, it's a little more complicated than that. "People think the cloud is supposed to save your company tons of money and magically do everything -- from hosting your files to washing your car," Martinez explained. "It probably can do a lot, but it's not as easy as the delightful name would lead you to believe."

The cloud, according to Martinez, refers to three major systems -- infrastructure, platform, and software -- all as a service. There are certain benefits and disadvantages to using cloud computing, which Martinez detailed in his presentation.

"As infrastructure, it's relatively inexpensive, fast, and provides on-demand services," he said later in a personal interview. "But if

something goes wrong, recovery could be harder. Also, check for hidden


Still, it's a viable alternative for business seeking

easier scaling, and it can help reach customers faster. Martinez

recommended the following providers for cloud computing: AmazonAWS,

Rackspace Cloud, and vCloud Express by Terremark.

Martinez's own program, Pikchur -- which he cocreated and maintains with fellow Miami geek Emmanuel Pozo (@jewgonewild) -- runs using cloud services. Pikchur is free and great for sharing

photos to Twitter and Facebook from your mobile phone. You can also

upload and edit photos. Support your local geeks by signing up.

To learn more about geek meetups, click RefreshMiami.org.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.