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Into the clouds (or not)?

April 19th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

I love all the gadgets, widgets and services that social software can provide us. Google Fusi9on table sis wonderful for sharing and displaying data. Dropbox shares my files with others (and across my devices). Google docs is great for co-authoring and crowd sourcing ideas. And then there are Flickr, Diigo, Slideshare, Youtube,  Vimeo and all the rest. I have lost track of how many accounts I have created.

But – are there thunderstorms building in the clouds. Google managed to wipe out my account earlier this year when it wrongly linked two accounts together. And today I have had no email due to the stuttering Apple iCloud (Apple claim this is only effecting less than 1 % of users – it just seems that everyone i know with an Apple cloud account is part of that 1%).

And even the wonderful proved an nonviable solution for a recent web site due to the restrictions on embed codes.

I don’t buy into the argument that because these services are (sometimes) free we cannot complain. In one way or another we are paying for these services – be it through a fee or advertising or whatever. Google and Apple don’t just give things away. The free accounts are tied into their business strategy and at the end of the day their balance sheets.

I read a blog by Doug Belshaw the other day who was trying only to use paid for services. I don’t think that is the answer – paid for data and services can be just as insecure or unreliable than free ones. Come to think of it – Apple’s .mac and .me (paid for) services were always flaky. For web sites, we already host install on our own servers. But saying our own we are merely renting those servers (and one of them is in the cloud). I really don’t want the hassle of running an email server – and certainly don’t want to operate a streaming server.

So I really don’t know the answer to this issue. I think you just have to make judgements on a case by case – app by app – basis of what best does the job and what seems to be a decent service and who is providing reasonable Terms and Conditions of servce.

2 Responses to “Into the clouds (or not)?”

  1. I’d like to learn more about peer to peer networks, and how we might established cloud like services between people’s computers, rather than, or as well as, cloud based servers. I’m quite impressed with bit torrent file sharing, as a basic example…

  2. Doug Belshaw says:

    “I read a blog by Doug Belshaw the other day who was trying only to use paid for services.”

    Not quite. Open Source first, paid-for second. 🙂

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