more and more businesses are trying to sell you on this idea of “the cloud”. what is the cloud?
before “the internets“, our computers used to be loners. they didn’t really want to talk to anything but printers and mice and keyboards. programs and files were directly installed to the computer hard drive. if you wanted to share a file you’d put it on a disk and hand it to your friend in person (an idea called the “sneakernet”)
fast forward 15 years: we are multi-computer families with home networks and hi-speed connections. the actual location of our files, websites and programs can be anywhere. “the google” offers google docs, a series of applications that you can use online instead of word, excel or notepad. for web developers, there are websites for image cropping, html validating and programs to build full websites. this year h&r block is offering a free simple 1040 online. upload your entire music collection online to grab it from your pc, phone and workplace.
not to mention all the online applications for custom printing, travel routes (anyone remember the cd’s of microsoft maps you used to get with your speedy 750mhz PC?) and even online gaming. nothing to install, just head to their websites.
so what does this mean? will the future of computing revolve around a tiny personal device that has very little memory and storage space? notebook pcs and mac airbooks are leading the trend and very well become the norm in 20 years.
services offer to store your digital everything “somewhere else”.
my advice: use these services wisely, but ALWAYS make sure you have access offline. keep a copy of your files and programs close. storage is cheap, so save away. do you want to trust your files somewhere in the cloud? what if the internet goes down? what if that great startup that offers you 1 terrabyte of storage for $1 a month flops? then what do you do?
you may think that the cloud is a place for storage and a place to live, when in reality you should treat it as BACKUP, not your primary source.
just think of how many times you’ve been disconnected from the internet. power outages, net congestion or failures. how do you retrieve your forgotten password to get back online if your can’t get back online.
food for thought.