Puff the Magic Dragon…. Meet Cloud Computing

Reader Contribution by Cam Mather

What are people smoking when they think about using “The Cloud” for
their computing? Really? Am I the only one who sees how this is going
to end? My guess is that it will all end in tears.

“Cloud” computing is the concept that you use other people’s servers
and do all, yes “ALL” of your computing on their computers. You store
everything on THEIR computers. It’s the new big thing and it proves to
me that our species is doomed.

Let me get this straight. You want me to give up all control of my
software and data to you, and store everything on your computers. Why
would I do this? Well, it’s cheaper. The provider does all of the hard
stuff. They keep everything upgraded and they pay for all the
electricity in their warehouses full of servers. It allows businesses
using “the cloud” to cut back on their IT Departments. I think any
business that does this is asking for a compost heap full of problems.

Why would anyone give up control of his or her data, especially a
business? Now to a certain degree many already do, by having other
companies host their websites. The company that hosts our business
website www.aztext.com
has multiple server facilities where they have back ups of our website.
So if somebody on a backhoe cuts a major cable in New York, or
wherever the current server is that runs our website, they switch to
another server bank that mirror backups our site so it should keep
going. As companies become more and more dependent on their websites it
can be a catastrophe if their website is down for an extended period
of time. It’s one of things I remember about the movie “The Social
Network” where Mark Zuckerberg is so paranoid about “The Facebook” ever
going off line. Because if they do, people will jump to competing
services. Ah, customer loyalty in the age of the internet.

But we keep a backup of our website here and if we ever had to
restore it, we, with the help of our web guy Jaeson, could do it. When
it comes to completely giving up control of my accounting and computing
to an outside service though … no thanks.

We use “Gmail” as a backup to our email program Eudora. I have my
emails forwarded to my Gmail account for those times when I am having
problems with the server that administers my Eudora accounts. Eudora
saves all of my emails, ingoing and outgoing, on my computer. Lots of
people have said to me “Why do you use Eudora, when Gmail is free and
you don’t need to store all of your emails on your hard drive?”

Well here’s why. Recently on Huffington Post there was an article entitled “Gmail Users Report All Emails Disappear.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/27/gmail-reset-emails-deleted_n_828863.html?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=022811&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NewsEntry&utm_term=Daily+Brief

This might just be internet chat, and the emails might have been
restored, or they may be gone, but it confirmed to me to that giving up
control of this stuff to someone else is not a good idea.

But then again, I’m not a big fan of giving up control in other
aspects of my life either. I make my own energy from the sun and wind,
and I grow my own food. I heat with wood I cut from my own property. I
depend on some gasoline to do that, but I have a back up plan that
would allow me to heat even if I couldn’t get gas for my chainsaw. It
would be a lot more work, but by the time gasoline is hard to come by, I
think growing our own food and staying warm will be how most of us
spend our time so it won’t be a problem. In fact it will be a welcome
relief to me.

This technology-based world has burned me out. We want to provide
more of our books electronically, so I’ve just upgraded my Adobe
Creative Suite to version 5, and I went with the Premium version which
includes Flash Catalyst and Dreamweaver so I can do more with the
website. I started working with computers in 1982, almost 30 years ago
and I have to tell you, I’m not enthused about learning all this
software. Of course they’ve even changed the software programs that I
am familiar with! I know using your brain is what keeps Alzheimer’s
away, but frankly, the complexity of everything gives me a headache. A
few years ago we invested a couple of thousand dollars in Final Cut
Pro, which is basically like having a million dollar video editing
suite on your computer. I invested many hours in learning it and now we
produce our own DVDs. But all this technology is a young man’s game
and I’m rapidly burning out on it.

I just want to grow potatoes and garlic and fill up my root cellar
every fall and read novels all winter when I’m not cutting my firewood.
But it doesn’t matter how old I get, I will not rely on someone else
for my power, and my heat and my food. And I will never, ever, give up
control of my computing to some guy floating around on a cloud. I’m
confident they don’t want misanthropes like me on the cloud anyway, and
I’m pretty comfortable with that.

For more information about Cam Mather or his books visit www.cammather.com or www.aztext.com.