By M. Grant Winston, Managing Editor

Every day, at least one salesman gets through my call screening somehow trying to sell me "the cloud". It is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and without it my company is a dinosaur. That is what they always tell me.

When you try to get one of these sales slicksters to explain what "the cloud" is, they don't know either. You can count on them giving you a made up BS answer, or treating you like a child asking a stupid question. The term conjures up the image of data flying around on wireless networks, eventually finding its way to the Internet, not actually being stored anywhere, but in perpetual motion. It must be some form of black magic that brings data back to you when you ask for it. That isn't literally what's going on, but that is how it sounds.

In truth, all "the cloud" means is that you are buying space on servers at some other location unknown to you, rather than on your own hardware. Sometimes, a remote machine is even running your software for you. That requires a lot of trust, something I don't give away easily. Most salesmen trying to sell cloud computing don't work for the company that stores your data in the first place. They are middle men. The guy they bought it from is also a middle man, and maybe so is the one he bought it from! No one has any idea where the servers actually are, how reliably they are connected to the net, or who is in charge of security. It reminds me of trading derivatives and credit default swaps; a big juggling act with things that may not even exist. No thank you. "The cloud", much like the term "web services" a few years back, is ultimately just a buzzword. Buzzwords don't mean a damn thing.

Uncoveror.com does not use "the cloud". Our tech types know exactly where our web server is, and what kind of a connection to the net it has. We like it that way. Our staff write stories using software and storage right there on their desktops and laptops, not out in the open where some sneaky snooper can steal a story from them. I plan to keep it that way.