Monday, May 16, 2011

Whose Stuff Is It, Anyway?

The one thing that bothers me most about the concept of Cloud computing is that total lack of control you have. Yes, you can have a paid account to your online storage and yes, it may be accessible from any computer.

The truth is, though, that this illusion of control is just that, an illusion. A few problems exist -

1. The belief that access to a network is universal. It is not, as there are several factors that could impede Internet and other Cloud access; geography, architecture, technical issues. If you need to work on a document but have neither access to the document or potential online applications (I'm looking at you, Google), you are effectively screwed.

2. The belief that access to the network is unimpeded. Don't think for a moment that some pissy body of souls out there, be it an access provider or a government, won't cut it off. It might one day be truly neutral, but we should never assume that it can't be shut off.

3. The belief that you own some of the apps. As this article at CNN points out, riiiiight. All your apps are belong to them, at least those that you acquire through "official" channels (app stores).

4. Whose OS is it anyway? Time to re-read those agreements.

So, no matter how cool and neat-o those mobile devices are, the idea of control that they offer is very much an illusion. What's to be done? Google, at least, is making some steps in returning control, even going so far as to include rooting tools in the upcoming Chrome-based netbooks. Our friends in Cupertino, though, don't seem to be as interested.

Which is really sad, and kinda sucks in a big way.

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