The Cloud

This would make my day: PCs, Macs, and other operating systems/platforms with an option to add a Cloud account just as one would add a POP3 email account, Twitter account, or what have you. It has become clear that cloud computing, or at the very least cloud storage, is the way of the future.

The goal here is to have applications that can store your files in any of these cloud architectures. Already, we are seeing some apps that use, for example, iCloud or Dropbox as a storage/syncing point. This is fantastic, and paves the way for some truly awesome interoperability between, say, PCs and Macs. It becomes less about the hardware or even the OS you are using and more about the app. Running Evernote on Mac, but also on a work PC? No problem, your notes are all there.

The only downside to this is the times when a developer goes under, and suddenly an app is no longer supported. Now you have, say, all of your Evernote notes in a format that you cannot use. You must rely on another app developer to pick up the slack and say “import your orphaned data into our app!” — and so the cycle continues.

The problem of apps going unsupported and developers closing up shop is nothing new. I can’t recall how many times I’ve setup a chat or MUD client with my preferred settings, scripts, and whatnot… and a few years down the road, the application is no longer updated and will not function on <Newest Operating System Here>. On these occasions, I have to suck it up and re-configure a new piece of software how I like it. Not a huge problem, unless we’re talking about documents, family photos and movies, music libraries, and other data that one cannot so easily “let go of.”

This is one reason why I have right along stuck with a “major player” like Microsoft or Apple for these sort of items. My documents have been in Word format since the dawn of time, it seems. My email has been in Outlook PST files. I will admit, though, that I was bitten by this when I imported my CD library to the Zune software… only to have Microsoft eventually kill off the Zune players. I didn’t see that one coming, and it’s a perfect example of the problem I mentioned above. Here I was with a ton of music, some of it DRM-locked because I purchased it from the Windows Media store, on a platform that became unsupported. It was possible for me to buy another brand of mp3 player and hopefully use the majority of my WMA files there… but by that point, I wanted to regain stability, and I ended up buying an iPod as a result.

And thankfully, I was able to convert most of my WMA files to AAC. I am betting the farm on Apple keeping the iPod and iTunes technologies running until the world ends… and this is just the sort of certainty someone will want with not only a cloud-based storage service, but also the apps that plug into it. With luck, we will get there.

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