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Musings on The Cloud

Posted on: Sunday, 18 March 2012 @ 10:25pm
Blatting about

clouds (Photo credit: Extra Medium)

And Zemanta gives me pretty cloud pictures like this one.

I'm actually talking about that cloud computing "fad" (seen the term tossed around to describe it, wonder if it's a fad like Facebook and the internet in general is a fad).

A friend from work recently asked if I had a Dropbox account.  I didn't, so he asked if would create one so we could collaborate on some work I'm helping him out with (and as a bonus he'd get extra space for the referral).  The Cloud is something I've been aware of but otherwise generally ignored until I had it almost literally shoved in my face by my Android tablet asking me if I would like to sync contacts and calendars and files into the cloud (both from Google and from ASUS, I said no).  I ruminated a bit on it and then said yeh sure.

So he sent me an invite.

It sat there for a little while as while I anticipated being bogged down with work and stuff I didn't actually expect to get snowed under.  That went for about a week.  Then I got around to going to the website and installing the thing.  The first thing that amused me was how gamey it is.  You completed your recommendation! Have some extra space! And if you finish at least five of the things in the "get started" thing we'll give you something!

Image representing Dropbox as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

As I stared mindlessly at the Dropbox folder wondering how to make this thing work without breaking anything (most obvious answer: copy them into the /Sites directory and copy them back as required), my mind wandered as it has been doing lately on the issues with backup I'm having with AR at the moment.

The issue with the backup is that it's woefully inconsistant.  I copy the folder between computers (and tablet and iPhone) when I remember to do so.  Copying to the tablet isn't too painful, I can mount it as a hard drive.  Copying to the iPhone was a right pain in the system and now the folder is too big.  I don't really work it across computers so keeping what in sync isn't really a problem.  Most of the time it's just insurance against computers exploding (even though I've only ever had a Mac completely explode and die on me once in the 7 or so years I've been using them, let's call it habit learned from horrible experiences with Windows and general good practice shall we).

Josh eventually wants to set up a NAS (Network Attached Storage, not the American rapper I didn't know existed, thanks again Zemanta) now that we have a place to put one, and I'll be able to send backups there.  But there is still the issue of it's a good idea to have backups off-site.  I know of at least one friend who keeps a backup drive at their parents' place and another in a bank vault.  Having a backup at the in-laws would probably be viable, bank vault not so much as I generally try avoiding going to them if i can help it (in unrelated news, I'm in the process of switching to a credit union).

In that regard having a Dropbox or a Dropbox like thing seems pretty handy with the whole backing up off-site and syncing up and down and to the laptop and the tablet as well if so desired, so I could have copies everywhere.  Unfortunately I am paranoid and overprotective of this project and there are a number of files (pretty much everything except the finished art) that I don't really feel like putting in the cloud regardless of how secure people keep telling me it is.

So what's a bek to do?

I've been seriously contemplating turning my Lightwave dongle into a necklace.  Initially I didn't get around to it, and then when I got my new computer the thing's been pretty much living in the keyboard as Lightwave 11 is amazingly stable compared to previous versions (I can have it running for weeks and when it does crash it's more often because I've done something stupid than it crashing inexplicably).  I may need to get a new dongle as I occasionally have to take the thing out and re-insert it as Lightwave sometimes doesn't recognise it's there.  Developing that idea, I'm seriously contemplating acquisitioning a large thumb drive and making usb dog tags with it and my dongle.  Solves the off-site backup problem if I lug the thing everywhere with me, right?  Alternately I suppose I could be slightly more normal about it and hang it off my keychain like everyone else.

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