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Explain the Cloud Like I'm 10

“Todd, can you explain ‘The Cloud’? What is it?” I was asked this question at lunch by Joe, a fellow tour member on a recent trip Linda (my wife) and I took to France.

It was not a question I was expecting on vacation, but with many years of experience as a programmer, a lot of it spent in cloud computing, it’s a question I should have been able to knock out of the park.

Except I didn’t. My answer stank. I hemmed and hawed. I stuttered and sputtered. I could tell that nothing I said was making any sense. I gave a horrible answer, and it has haunted me ever since.

While talking, I noticed a lot of other people at the table were interested in my answer as well. It seemed a lot of smart people were confused about the cloud.

When I got back home I did a lot of research. I was trying to redeem myself by finding the perfect book to recommend. I couldn't find one! So I decided to write Explain the Cloud Like I'm 10. It's the answer I wish I'd given Joe in France.

Here's what I came up with:

  • What Does the Cloud Look Like?
  • Why is it called a ‘cloud’ anyway?
  • If You Use Online Banking You Already Understand The Cloud
  • What is the Cloud?
  • What is a Service?
  • What is a Cloud Service?
  • Facebook Messenger is a Cloud Service. How does it Work?
  • What isn’t a Cloud Service?
  • What does Stuff Mean?
  • What does Stored in the Cloud Mean?
  • What is a Device?
  • What is a Program or App?
  • What is the Internet?
  • What is a Datacenter?
  • What is Cloud Computing?
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Cloud Services
  • Kindle: Amazon’s Cloud Service for Reading Ebooks
  • iCloud: Apple’s Cloud Service for Syncing Data
  • Google Maps: A Cloud Service for Navigation
  • Cloud DVR: TV in the Cloud
  • Netflix: What Happens When You Press Play?
  • Fighting the Ecosystem Wars in the Proactive Cloud
  • Does stormy weather affect cloud computing?
  • If I say Something is in the cloud, do you know what it means?

Beginners will find the cloud explained from the beginning. Little prior knowledge is assumed. I use lots of pictures, lots of examples, and many somewhat questionable analogies. We build our way up to understanding the cloud idea by idea.

At the end, we'll use what we've learned to understand the inner-workings of Kindle, iCloud, Google Maps, Nest, and Cloud DVRs. You will understand the cloud and what it means for something to be in the cloud.

I also think even intermediate level people will learn something. I cover a lot. You can read an example chapter at Netflix: What Happens When You Press Play? 

If you are someone or know someone who could use a good book on the cloud, then I'd appreciate giving Explain the Cloud Like I'm 10 a try. And please write a review. That would really help.


Reader Comments (10)

Stand back, I got this..... listen this is simple.

There is no cloud, it's just someone else's computer.

December 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHam Solo

Strange that I can't download it on Kindle store...

December 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChing

That's strange Ching, I haven't had a problem. Hopefully it's just a transient problem.

December 18, 2017 | Registered CommenterTodd Hoff

I can't download from Kindle store. The Amazon Kindle store says: This title is not currently available for purchase

I'm from Singapore, btw.

December 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVincent Nguyen

Thanks for letting me know Vincent, I'm looking into it.

December 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterTodd Hoff

Hey Vincent, I did get a response from Amazon, but it's not as helpful as I was hoping:


I received an inquiry on your behalf and it will be my pleasure to assist. The query didn't provide much information to go on. It simply stated that a customer, who is in Singapore, is trying to purchase the title "Explain the Cloud Like I'm 10 ebook". I checked your title and it is live and available on all marketplaces. I was able to download it without any difficulties. The file is fine. The only thing I can think of is that the person was trying to purchase the title using a mobile device via the Amazon app. If someone accesses's the Kindle store using the app, it won't let them purchase it. They can download a sample, but the actual purchase of the book will not be available. They can, however, access the Kindle store using their phone's browser (i.e safari/chrome) by going to www.amazon.com. This method will allow them to purchase your book.

I know that this is inconvenient and not clearly explained. I apologize for any problems that this might have caused. This is a major pain point with customers and it has been submitted as feedback.

Please feel free to respond to this email if you have something further to add to your query.

Thanks for using Amazon KDP!

December 22, 2017 | Registered CommenterTodd Hoff

Oh. I access the store via Chrome browser and Safari. Here is my screenshot: https://ibb.co/hLz04m

Even when I access the store from my Kindle Paper White, the result is: "0 titles found"

December 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVincent Nguyen

Could you make this available on Google Play Books if it is easily do-able? Let us know if you are thinking of doing so. That way I can get it there instead

January 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBoba Fett

Please don't hunt me down Mr. Fett, but the book is on KDP Select, which is exclusive, so it can't be anywhere else. I am looking into making a dead tree version, which can be handled by other distributers.

January 3, 2018 | Registered CommenterTodd Hoff

Hi Todd, a really nice book. Loved it.
I wished to know what book should I pick up next?

July 6, 2019 | Unregistered Commentershray

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