Are you living in the cloud yet?
I am not and don’t plan to exclusively. I am too concerned with how volatile online companies are to going bankrupt or even worse, a government agency shuts the site down. This recently happened to Megaupload, a file sharing site that’s service was used in good ways and bad ways apparently. Let me clarify, some users used the site to back up files and provide on the go access to their data, but others used it to share licensed software with unlicensed users, music, and other DRM data. By shutting the site down, piracy goes down a little, but there are innocent casualties in the firefight. Many of Megaupload’s users are separated from their legitimate data now.
“Megaupload’s legal team is working hard to reunite our users with their data. We are negotiating with the Department of Justice to allow all Mega users to retrieve their data,” Kim Dotcom told TorrentFreak.
According to this post on TorrentFreak, the US Government has many users that were using Megaupload’s services. That seems par for the course.
Let’s say you move all your 100% legal digital music up Google Music, delete your local copy to save drive space, and something happens where you lose access to this account, or even worse, the drive it was stored on in this cloud wasn’t backed up right and crashed? You lose everything. It’s just music, but what if it were photos you could never replace? The smart solution would be to keep local copies of everything, but not everyone thinks like this. You trust companies to protect your data from being lost, but ask Dale Coffing about that. Dale Coffing ran one of the best Pocket PC Websites out there and lost it all in an instant when a hosting company he trusted didn’t do what they were supposed to do. Years of great content and a lively community flew out the window in an instant.
With companies like Box, Dropbox, Microsoft’s Skydrive, and a rumored competitor from Google offering large chunks of data storage “in the cloud” for free, it’s easy for mobile users to sync their phones, laptops, and desktops to the cloud to share data with all their screens. With this comes two problems that I see. The 1st problem is having a local backup of files we are uploading manually or automatically with our phones. If the data is being shared automatically, there is a good chance that you might forget to archive that data locally. I’ve done it a couple of times already. You snap that photo, upload it to a site, the photo gets deleted from your phone, and a year later I forgot where these photos were uploaded to. Now I try to limit my uploads to one particular service to eliminate this problem, but I am also making local backups of everything.
The other issue I have with living in the cloud is data consumption. Unless you have access to WiFi the majority of the time, streaming videos and music from the cloud is not very cost-effective. When I asked Microsoft why there was so little internal memory on Windows Phones and no plan to offer expansion memory slots, they replied that we have Skydrive and other cloud services to stream our data from. Well Microsoft, not all of us live in a place where WiFi flows freely like the sodas in the halls of your campus. With most US Carriers charging a premium for data, I would rather have my data, even if it’s just a portion of all my data, right there on my phone. I have been looking into using a solution like Kingston’s Wi-Drive to handle this issue for me. I load up 16 GB of movies and music and throw it in my bag and I can now access this data on any device (Android or iOS) via Wi-Fi, costing nothing in data consumption usage. I have one that I will be testing out soon.
The point is, don’t live in the cloud without backing up here on Earth. Too many people are trying to get data back after services go away for one reason or another.
Are you living in the cloud without a net?