Mr. Dozier good to see I can read what you have to say on a blog now. As exciting as this cloud/crowd computing is it makes me wonder who has power over whatever outside source this information might all be stored in. “is stored in bits and bytes outside of the personal computer or mobile device, but it is all accessible. All the time.” What if it crashes or something? And what does this do to personal computers. Don’t know if what I’m saying makes sense and maybe you have the answers.
Thanks for reading and commenting!
If I had all the answers I wouldn’t have to go to the meetings — but I think you’re talking about two important aspects of cloud computing that I think have slowed its growth. The first is redundancy of information. To take on something like what Google, ESRI and others are talking about requires not just a redundant back-up system, but several mirrored systems that have to be available with the same data all the time. NASA is famous for having a three-layer system of backup when they began their space exploration; they had the system, the backup, and the backup of the backup. That prevented all but the most catastrophic failures. (Houston we have a problem.) The capacity for this is finally becoming attainable; affordable storage is not the problem anymore. The engineering is there as well. The real challenge going forward will be power needs.
The second part of your question — who has control over the data — is the more interesting one. I think people are by-and-large very skeptical of things they can’t touch; I know I am. The intangible seems less “real”. There may also be some inherent skepticism about the accuracy of the information, as well as the motives of those that store it. I suspect that as the “clouds” mature we’ll answer those questions — or just get used to the concept, as we have with debit cards and email and other technology advances that usher out the old way of doing things.
If I could see in my crystal ball where all this is heading, it might show me this: a world where our personal computing device (whether that be a cell phone, a key fob, a swipe card, or maybe a nano-device housed on our person) can activate public terminals that give us the same experience as our personal computers do now. There will be our settings, our data and our software, all accessible through the cloud. We will just use the tools and not worry about the back end. It will creep me out, but like most things, I’ll probably get used to it.