Friday, April 15, 2011

Black Clouds

The coming thing in computing was supposed to be “cloud computing” your precious files were to be stored off site (i.e. not on your computer) and your software was to be provided off site as well by the software manufacturers. The model sees computer service as being like a utility. Google in many devious ways is pushing this model.

Being a Luddite I have always been suspicious. Security is an obvious issue, so is cost (if the computer geeks are saying it is good for all of us then no doubt more money will flow to Google or Microsoft).

Examples of cloud computing are the various photo programs like Pisca, Flickr and, of course, Fotpic where photos could be stored and shared. Like many of these there was a free account option and then more deluxe accounts required payment.

Everything was fine until a black cloud emerged around the 8th March 2011 and it went off line. By the 31st of March it was established that the site’s owner Snappy Designs Ltd had gone bankrupt. It is not clear how the owners of the images can recover their images if indeed they can. The phrase “the lawyers’ picnic’ comes to mind.

I only post copies of my images on Flickr and keep originals at home. I feel really sorry for those who have lost their original images especially as they thought they were safe on Fotopic.

The whole saga should result in a revision of the cloud computing model – what does happen if the site goes down; how do you get your stuff back; indeed do you have a legal right to get it back? Which law applies?

I’ll take my risks with my home set up.

2008 11 21 Al and Maud 006