Well, that was quick. I guess.
As I tend to ramble on about here, I am a fickle indecisive mess when it comes to how to best manage all of my digital data. I have been pushing more and more to "The cloud", cloud services, cloud hosting, cloud cloud cloud.
I secretly hate the phrase "The Cloud" by the way. I despise it. It’s "Online" or "The Internet", the cloud is a really annoying buzzword. I believe it stems somewhat from The internet being depicted as a could on line diagrams. This comes from drawing network maps and wanting an easy way to represent the World Wide Web. The Internet isn’t a cloud really at all. It’s basically a huge clump of fibers and copper hooked between a shitload of routers of various sizes transmitting flashes of light and electricity between each other. The Web is a better analogy then the Cloud but spiders are creepy. Hell, calling it "A Series of Tubes" is actually more accurate than a cloud. Even the RF involved with WiFi isn’t a disperes clump of like molecules floating in space. Those transmissions are still a "virtual series of imaginary tubes" at their core.
The point is, I have been heavily advocating the use of the Internet for a while. Maybe I’m just getting tired of it, but I find lately I care less and less about it. This has permeated all aspects of what I do for my hobbies and non work life. Despite the best efforts of loads of Internet Citizens, the web is slowly transforming from the crazy fun Wild Wild West into some sort of locked down internment camp.
There are ads everywhere. i keep getting emails about "leaks" and "hacks" at websites that I’ve used in the past. There is increasing tension around the idea of corporate and government surveillance of the bits in the name of stopping piracy or terrorism. It’s just quickly becoming a scary mess.
Then there is the closing of Google Reader.
I’ve experienced sites being closed on me before. I generally don’t care since it’s a service I never used (most likely because no one else was using it this, why it was closing). I’ve even experienced this via Google. I used to use Google Tasks and Google Wave, both have been gone for a while. But Wave was gimmicky and a limited option and was eventually superseded by Google Docs. Tasks wasn’t a major loss, there are probably a hundred different Tasks Manager methods and programs out there, many of which are superior to Google Tasks.
There are no good Google Reader alternatives. Maybe there will be, but there isn’t anything quite as good. I do not want to use Google Plus or replace my RSS with a bunch of cluttered Twitter and Facebook feeds (which often contain extraneous microblog posts and clutter my own stream).
I also really like and need RSS. I like small time blogs. i don’t have time to regularly check to see if Bob’s Toy Blogger updated it’s once a month update, but I can add it to my RSS feed and wait for an update to slide in. i feel like Google’s killing of RSS not only hurts the people who rely on it to get news, but it hurts the small time people like myself who rely on it to make it convenient to get their posts out.
I can see where Google is going here. It’s all Google+ now. Reader will be replaced with a cluttered filtered Google Plus stream that is useless. The real take away I’ve gotten is even Google, whom i relied on above all else, is not reliable to be there.
It makes me question my current online backup strategy completely. I’ve already consolidated a lot fo my document level data into Evernote. My Google Docs is empty, I feed news articles I want to keep into Evernote. I store bits of code for the few times I ever do any coding. I save stories and my own writing there. It’s all there. I realize this is kind of an "all in one basket" mindset that may not be good either. There are several ways to backup Evernote however and, more importantly, Evernote is in the business of selling note taking software. They don’t have social ads and email and virtual drives and video hosting and a thousand services, they pretty much just do <hankhill>Evernote and Evernote Accessories<hankhill>.
Also it means less data in the hands of Google, which is becoming increasingly less trustworthy.
There is some residual distrust created as well. I’m using Skydrive to backup files, but Windows 8 is universally loathed and Office 365 is just as overpriced as normal Office. I know Microsoft is a huge company that probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but I do foresee them floundering a bit in the coming future as the wheels come off the mistake that was Windows 8. I can see a service that is probably mostly a money loser like Skydrive hitting the cutting room floor when the shit hits the fan over there.
I’ve been pretty loyal to Flickr for years and I’ve found some tools to automate bulk uploads to use it as a secondary backup but Yahoo is a company that’s more of a mess than any other large tech company I can think of and Flickr is a definitely money loser for them (high bandwidth + dwindling user base is always a problem).
So one additional little bit fueling my Cloud distrust comes from my recent push to get more organized with my data. I’ve been going through my thousands of book marks, sorting them into an online Delicious clone I set up or clipping them to Evernote for archival. This of course leads to some dead links. It’s a subtle reminder that this data will not be there forever.