To the cloud!
The world today is just too darn complex. There is so much stuff going on that we just don’t understand and depend on. Complex isn’t exactly right either. Today everything is simple. You can be plugged in where ever you are. When I was a kid, only Dick Tracy had a telephone that he could carry around. These days everybody has one. And that phone has more power than the mainframes businesses used back when I started working. I don’t pretend to understand the iphone and although I do own an Android smart phone, I only use it as a calendar. People tell me that I can run spreadsheets on it and create graphics although they never explain why I would want to do these things or how to keep from going blind working on a small screen,
There is apparently no limit to what you can do with a mobile phone these days. I am constantly amazed at how completely dependent people have become on their phones I can go for days without getting a call (weeks if you only count calls I want to get). For me it is nice to have the convenience, especially as pay phoned disappear but why do I want to go through life with a phone stuck in my ear? I’ve still got a life.
One of the developments that enable all those capabilities on a tiny device is the cloud. You just don’t have the room to store things or install programs on a device you can carry around in your pocket but the creation of cloud computing allows those complicated and bulky activities to happen some where else. All you need is an internet connection. So today we can run complex activities from portable devices. You can watch movies, play video games and run elaborate software without providing much infrastructure.
All this stuff happened long before anybody bothered to tell us about the cloud and by the time we learned it was too late. We were already there. These days people are trying to catch up and put all their activities into coordination because there are many cloud platforms and they are not completely compatible. As one pundit explained, the cloud is like the electric company. When you plug in an appliance, you have no idea where the electrons running the appliance originate. You have no idea how to produce them, manage them or transport them. But you don’t care because the electric company agrees to have them available when you want them. No muss. No fuss.
In the US we expect the electric company to be reliable, meaning that the electrons will be available when we need them. They call it reliability and most everywhere, reliability is so good that we seldom think about it.
In the cloud , it is much more difficult to evaluate reliability because first, we don’t know what cloud supplier is responsible for what activity and second we think it is all being done on our device. Failure in the cloud is still unfamiliar territory but expect to see it become more of an issue as more and more of our activities move to the cloud. Big news this week was a cloud failure. It got fixed but the impact of the failure reveals how much we have become dependent on services that we cannot control. Did you notice?
Clearly we all need to become more cloud savvy even when we are not selecting and purchasing cloud services for ourselves. More and more of what we do will be cloud based and knowing what the cloud is will be increasingly important. And also understanding what it is not.
Getting out of the cloud and back to earth, we like to think that America is still a land of rugged indepent citizens fighting for individual rights against the increasing tyranny of big government. It is looking more and more like an old fashioned fantasy. We are turning into sheep. Does anybody thing that speed traps are a tool of a good and responsible government? Of course not. They are cash machines for the inefficient bureaucracies to feed their power addiction. Still you find people who just aren’t ready to wimp out.. People who know what is right and are willing to do what they can, where they can to fight back. Like this woman in Houston.
We may not be a police state yet. But we get closer every minute. Just wait until those Cops get on the cloud.