General observationstechnology

Cloud computing and everyman

By May 11, 2009 No Comments

Cloud Computing Graphic from Wikipedia

The concept of  cloud computing has become an accepted phenomena, with those involved in technology at least. Click here to view the Wikipedia definition of cloud computing .  Tradition vendors, like IBM and HP are providing it as a service to their clients. But some companies we wouldn’t think about providing such a service are doing so; these include Google, Yahoo and Amazon.

I spent ten years at Sun Microsystems from ’85 to ’95. We were ahead of our time. Our tag line was “The Network is the Computer”. Certainly sounds like cloud computing to me. Here is Sun’s point of view on cloud computing.

It’s a shame to see Sun, once such a dynamic company, disappear. Here, from Simon Brocklehurst’s Technology Blog, is one point of view of the Oracle purchase of Sun. But I digress.

A couple of months ago I  became a proud owner of an Amazon Kindle. I love the device. Read all about it here. I keep all my business books on it. I also love my iPhone, as my post about my iPhone proclaims. I recently downloaded the Kindle App for iPhone from Apple’s App Store.

Here is where cloud computing for everyman comes in.  To my delight, Amazon’s  automatic syncing of these two devices in its cloud works exactly as advertised. Not only does Amazon back up my Kindle books in its cloud, but it keeps track of the furthest read page on each device. This allowed me to continue reading on my iPhone on the train yesterday morning exactly where I left off reading the night before on my Kindle.  Reader’s nirvana.

The natural next extension after that is to be free of our devices. To have our identity carried in the cloud and allow us to have access to all of our data, business and personal, independent of device and location.  Stop carrying laptops and all the junk that goes with them. Ahhh. Wouldn’t that be loverly?

Or would it? We are already storing our pictures and videos in clouds. Backing up our computers in clouds. Where would you draw the line? Would you be willing to have all your banking information in a cloud somewhere and trust that it is secure? Do we believe that no one will violate our privacy and not read about every nook and cranny of our life? George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighy-Four is long gone but it now seems just around the corner.

A friend and former Sun Microsystems colleague, Gerry Dube, is the CEO of ScreenWare, L.L.C. Screenware is dedicated to solving the problem found in the above scenario – how much privacy do you trade off for personal productivity and easy access to your data? Screenware promotes Wi-Fi Plus®, which is an infrastructure which allows you to plug a thumbdrive, or perhaps an iPhone, into an access port to identify yourself and then use a Wi-Fi Plus® computer, with a large screen and full size keyboard,  in a hotel room in Paris to access your data in your office, or home, in Miami. When you disconnect, Wi-Fi Plus® doesn’t know you were there. Access, productivity and privacy. Nice.

How do you feel about the implications of cloud computing in your personal life? What tools are you using to try to deal with this issue now?

Graphic Credit: Wikipedia Creative Commons.