01 April 2011

Cloud Computing

«The cloud» is all the rage in computer circles these days, aggressively pushed by computer companies as a great solution to «never lose» data and have access to all your stuff where ever you are and on whatever device or operating system you are using. Sounds fantastic!

There are advantages to cloud computing. Mobile devices have limited storage and most people never back up at all, never mind enough. Forgetting to bring the powerpoint file to the meeting would be a thing of the past. You would be able to buy software once and use it across computers without the complicated and draconian agreements all software producers require these days.

However, I personally do not want my computer info in someone else's hard drive and I don’t want some «Cloud» having complete control over my data. I like my Mobileme service for transferring large files, sharing short videos and syncing my calendar and contact info across my devices, but that is as far as I want to go.

«The Cloud» can crash (or dry up), I’ve already lost and screwed up data with the simple Mobileme setup.. imagine if all my work was on there. I work in video and in print, files can be HUGE (liked 100’s of gigabytes) no service will be able to handle that for a long time in a way that will be functional. Not everyone has unlimited super fast broadband service and this will mean service providers will have another way to gouge you for more money. There is also the unavoidable fact that no one is able to be connected to the internet all the time in every circumstance. What if the software producer decides to pull the product and they erase it from your storage so you no longer have access to it? This already happens with books in Kindle and the App Store and is justified with the «you were only renting it you didn’t really own it» line... despite having paid good money for it. A cyber attack on one of these cloud systems could be disastrous for the everyone. Hackers could get into sensitive work documents. Heaven forbid you have porno on your computer, some right wing Tea Party nut job in the United States or elsewhere could decide to prosecute you (after watching it no doubt). Music and movie companies would have a field day harassing people they feel have stolen their intellectual property or just decide they want to charge you another fee for having bought it already.

So, in my mind this service, interesting and useful though it is in a limited way, is for too dangerous and intrusive in many, more serious ways.

Keep your head out of the «Clouds» .
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