Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Whither OS (homage to Monty Python's Whither Canada)

Google announced their Chrome OS today:
“We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the Web in a few seconds.”

A couple of years ago, my kids' computer was infected by a virus. They said "oh, just re-image it, we don't need anything on the disk."

I'm slowly repairing a goof on my music collection where I erased all track numbers, not a huge deal, but time consuming. But I look at that time, then at my wife happily using Pandora, and wonder why bother.

Where is your personal data? Mine, currently, is mostly on a server hosted on the opposite side of the country for dirt cheap. I ran a server in my house for a decade, but the hassle became far more expensive than the cheap hosting available. So is the data really mine anymore? Probably not, the hosting company has access to it, though that would be outside the terms of service. I still have my old server, with tons of pictures and music, too expensive to host remotely.

Ancient history: the behemoth computer that ran jobs constantly, and mere mortals could only have jobs run during the wee hours of the morning. Your data was on punched cards, and you got more data back in the form of a print-out. Then time-sharing came along, and instead of waiting overnight, you sat frustrated at the terminal hitting enter and wondering how many other damn people were using it. Your data was in an air-conditioned room somewhere, perhaps on a disk drive looking like a washing machine with a label on the front saying "don't place anything on this disk drive, it will break if you do." Then there was the personal computer, and you didn't have to wait for anyone else, but it couldn't do very much. Your data was on floppies, or maybe a 10 megabyte hard drive.

Then networking came into the picture, and where data lived got confused. At first, it was pretty clear. When you got an e-mail, it was downloaded to your account or PC and removed from the server. But then, laptops and multiple accounts came into the picture. I want my mail available no matter where I am, or what computer I am on, and of course I don't want anyone else to read it. I have a cool music playing program at home, why can't I use it at work? Or at the coffee shop? I can get to my bank account from anywhere, why not music?

Where is your personal data? What is your personal data?

How is it backed up or saved from loss?

How is your privacy protected?

Why would you buy a desktop system for home use?

These aren't rhetorical, I'd like to know. For me - my data is on my server, or my old server. It is websites, e-mail, notes, music and pictures. It's backed up by various means, including RAID. It used to be privacy was protected by me being the only one with access to my server, but that's no longer true. Now I don't know. And I don't think I'll ever buy a desktop system again. The only reason for this would be because I needed a lot of CPU power, memory or hard disk space, say for software development (other people might want it for gaming or similar high demand applications). But right now I access powerful remote systems to do software development, I don't need the power at home.

1 comment:

Trisha Cloud said...

Thanks for the info it will surely help me a lot

custom papers