Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cloud. What cloud?

All our computer files are stored "in the cloud".  Well, I'm a very literal person.  Not so literal as to look up in the sky and wonder which cloud has my files in it.  But I do picture something cloud-like when I hear or read that comment.

In the editorial section of Sunday's New York Times was an article about the cloud.  Surprise. There is no cloud.

There are hundreds -- yea, thousands -- of fiber optic cables all over the country, although there is wifi, as we know, the information get carried and stored on  cables.  No one is entirely sure where all those cables are.  They know that several exchange points exist where many come togehter in such a way as to send on information. But these cables are vulnerable to disaster -- earth quakes and man-made disruptions, things like ship anchors being dropped on a stretch of cables in the bottom of San Francisco Bay and severing some or many.  Like, of course, vandals, terrorists and so on. Severed cables that disrupted data flow could stop small and many very large systems.

I'm a lover of metaphors, but a great many metaphors we come across are inaccurate, give a mistaken idea of what a thing is like. So I'm muttering to myself this week ... what cloud?  No cloud.  Oh, oh-oh.

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