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Author Topic: Leave me in the clouds  (Read 4248 times)

Tuxman

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Leave me in the clouds
« on: March 17, 2011, 09:40:06 PM »
It took me a while to get there, but now I made it:
I'm in the Cloud.

Some time during Summer of 2010 I bought some Android smartphone, just for teh lulz. I didn't really need it, I already had two mobiles (one with a flatrate, one with a pre-paid SIM), but I had too much free time on my hands, so I needed some new toy. I could not imagine what that would mean for me.

I did all of my "home office" stuff with pen&paper and a laptop before I made the decision. However, it took me a couple of months to understand what is wrong with writing short memos into an "analog" notebook and copy them into a note-taking and another todo list managing application on my laptop later.

As some of you might already have noticed, I am a paranoid person. I try to avoid using software that stores stuff about me on a server I can not control. (No Google-Anything, that is.) However, while I sat on a raw draft of a web service for an AIR-based todo application I wrote a while ago and tried to manage that draft in my local Keynote-NF database (great application BTW), I stumbled upon "wunderlist", some free todo web service with Windows and Android clients, in a German magazine article about the Cloud. (Now that's ironic.) This moment was the moment I decided to give the Cloud a try. (Having to pay before actually having tested the particular product for a couple of weeks is not my preferred attitude.)

Long story short: My Dropbox account, used as an emergency backup fallback, is now in a row with my wunderlist todo list and my - also new - Evernote notes storage. Being able to share my thoughts with all of my devices is just great. (Although I still prefer to use a classic notebook for blog posting drafts. Typing long texts on a smartphone sucks.) I never wanted to do that (you know, paranoia and stuff), but it has got me. I walk the clouds.

Any discussion? Or sympathy at least?


Topic title taken from here:


zridling

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2011, 10:06:39 PM »
It seems inevitable, doesn't it? I'm not paranoid, but I am a control freak -- at least over my own data and system. I want things how I want them -- almost always "at hand." The cloud allows that. But it's a Faustian bargain. I have to cede some control to Google's server farms. And like any corporation, they fail at times. I've lost my own data a couple of times (not too far from the last backup after the 1992 personal disaster), but I don't cut a corporation the same slack. Such a hypocrite. But at least they should know better.

Good luck, Tuxman. You'll soon find that concision is a virtue. My advice? Open separate accounts and backup your backups to a separate corporation, just in case they go all Oracle on you.

Renegade

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2011, 10:16:44 PM »
It's not being paranoid or control freakish. It's just being prudent. I'm certain that I'm not the only one to get burned by "being in the cloud" and having a disaster there.

Syncing desktop and cloud data is a prerequisite for a safer computing experience. However, locking you into the cloud is better business... Catch-22.

Still, things are better now than they were in the past, so I'm planning on moving some things into the cloud as well.

I would like to see more software that helps to integrate things though. I'd love to be able to do some things that right now I would have to code them.

How do you like your Android phone?
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Tuxman

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2011, 10:34:03 PM »
It is fine, although its successor, the SGS2, is about to be released...  :)

IainB

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 11:09:18 PM »
@Tuxman: I can't see that you are necessarily paranoid from what you say. I was trained to make absolutely certain about data backup/preservation and security whilst doing programming work in a consultancy that had contracts for VHS (Very High Security) and hush-hush type military defence projects in the UK, many years back.
I carried that training with me when I went to work in an organisation that was a data processing central clearing house for a group of trading banks in another country. Now they were an organisation that was pretty secure, but actually they were sloppy by comparison to where I had been trained up.

Over the years I have lost count of the number of instances where I have heard that computer operations people - who really should have known better - had been religiously doing backups, but had never thought to test on a regular basis that they could actually run a recovery successfully from the backup data. So when they had to actually run a recovery after a major data loss - Oops! - look, all backup had been corrupted. Oh dear what a pity never mind. There are good reasons why it's a good idea to have at least two copies of backup data, stored geographicaly far apart.

What you seem to call "paranoia" is really just good practice and prudent data management. It's the rest of us who do not follow good practice (because we've never been taught to).

I do think you might be taking a potential risk by going into the cloud. Presumably you are prepared to take those risks - whatever they might be. Crossing the road can be a potentially risky business. I don't know to what extent you are aiming for 100% built-in redundancy of backup, but if you don't have that, then I'd recommend that you at least try to get there. The thing that will kill you or your data is statistical variability brought about by human error. For example, like the Google Gmail outage affecting a few thousand users the other week. Apparently it was caused by a bug (human error) in a system update implemented by one of the Google engineers. Oops.

You cannot eliminate human error unless you can automate the process that allows for human error. I forget whether it was a NASA Mars or Venus satellite landing probe that slammed into the target planet at zillions of feet per second a few years back, because there had been some accidental confusion in the satellite's programming relating to calculations involving speed/acceleration - mph having been mistaken for kph, or vice versa. Oops.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 11:10:56 PM by IainB »

Tuxman

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2011, 11:23:34 PM »
Basically, similar thoughts made me decide that my Cloud life will only be with todo lists and (not confidential) notes.  :)
Not sure if my Dropbox account (with a couple of private image files) would be considered "public"; probably I should zip and encrypt my backups there. Good idea, actually.

Renegade

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2011, 12:36:59 AM »
It is fine, although its successor, the SGS2, is about to be released...  :)

There's no winning that game.

Actually, buying the latest release just before the Zombie Apocalypse hits lets you win that game. Too bad you're too busy scrambling for brains to use the phone though... :P
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

f0dder

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 12:53:29 PM »
(one with a flatrate, one with a pre-paid SIM)
Zomg! You must be a terrorist!

:p
- carpe noctem

40hz

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2011, 04:49:39 PM »
I offer my condolences, having gone through something similar about this time last year.

Back then, I posted a comment where I talked about my gradual and reluctant acceptance of the inevitability of me personally using cloud based technologies. I was speaking mainly of Google at the time. But there's nothing that's since happened that makes me feel it applies any less to iDrive, DropBox, ReadItLater, Wunderlist, and all the other cloud services I have accounts with.

all_your_base.gif

Quote
I'm one of those people that doesn't really like the idea of doing all my important things up on the web. I could write an essay on why, but most people here are savvy enough to see the obvious risks (security, accessibility, service downtime, etc.) that there's little point in writing about what's already well understood.


One line in Lankton's article, however, triggered what amounted to an epiphany (of sorts) for me. In answer to why he finally embraced Google Apps he said:

Because my need for synchronization finally outweighed my need to be a software connoisseur.

And the truth found in that simple statement forced me to reevaluate my entire way of thinking about web-based technologies. Lankton chose to use the word "synchronization." But what I think he was really getting at was the need for something I prefer to call ubiquitous access.

Ubiquitous access is the unrestricted ability to get at "your stuff" without regard to access platform or the technology employed to store your data. Think of it as "Anything-Anytime-Anywhere" and you've got it down.

We used to be told that it wasn't necessary to know everything so long as you knew where to go to find the information you needed. Ubiquitous access has a lot in common with that philiosophy.

The Cloud...It's here. It's now. And despite any paranoia or misgivings, it's far too useful to ignore.

---------------------
Note: You can read the original post here if you're interested.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 04:54:15 PM by 40hz »

4wd

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2011, 07:42:46 PM »
(one with a flatrate, one with a pre-paid SIM)
Zomg! You must be a terrorist!

:p

Geez, what does that make me then:
1 x $1/month 3G SIM (TPG - mainly for the data, 50MB free)
1 x $5/month GSM SIM (Telstra - my normal mobile with international roaming)
1 x Pre-paid 3G SIM (non-expiring credits - she who must be obeyed emergency phone)
1 x Pre-paid SIM (UK Tesco - for when we're over there for months on end)

On another note, I have to stand up and admit: I bought an Android Smartphone  :-[

Naturally, already rooted and modified Android installed  :Thmbsup:

At AU$99 I just couldn't resist a new toy: Huawei U8150 (also rebadged into the T-Mobile Comet)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 07:45:07 PM by 4wd »

Tuxman

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2011, 08:11:38 PM »
Naturally, already rooted and modified Android installed  :Thmbsup:
Yep: Voodoo-based kernel. Install an app and done. :D

zridling

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2011, 09:52:25 PM »
I should say: it was primarily cloud services -- and a few mainstream cross-platform apps -- that lured me to Linux from Windows around the time of early Vista. The OS was no longer central to how I worked, since by 2006 most of my work day was spent using a browser to access, send, receive, and share data.

Whatever one's reasons for using Windows, OSX, or Linux wasn't as important. Now the same thing has occurred with browsers. To steal a phrase: It's the data, stupid.

Renegade

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Re: Leave me in the clouds
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2011, 12:43:18 AM »
If you were to shift everything into the cloud right now, do you have an Internet connection that could support it?
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker