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Piggin’ out on The Cloud

Tech and Innovation

Posted on May 25, 2010

4 min read

I’ve been tinkering at home in some downtime between units and I’ve been contemplating digital solutions for home storage again, which has led me to re-think my computing needs from ground up.

I think the first thing to get right is storage, and there are currently so many solutions making what should be an easy decision, quite difficult for the average geek.

The simplest solution for storage and backup is quite obvious – the portable hard drive. You can buy one at the supermarket these days, and at the time of writing you can score a terabyte for $100, which is ample for the average home. You can get into NAS (Network Attached Storage) which will let you connect to your content from any internet connected computer in the world, and we are not far away from 3 & 4TB portable hard drives which is more space than I know what to do with.

All of these things will allow you to back things up to a physical solution but what about up in the cloud? If I lose every physical device I have, say in a natural disaster, my data is gone for good.

If I use a cloud solution in that situation, my data is still safe. If a cheap hard drive fails, no problem, cloud data isn’t phased by that either. All those precious digital memories stored safely, device independently, up in the cloud.

As I get more used to the ways I can use it, it is becoming my preferred way to keep all of this content. I want to be able access it from a range of devices and I want the security of knowing that even in natural disaster my content is safe.

And herein lies the problem with my digital consumption habit. Why does it have to depend on which device I am using, and where I am using it? Even with a cloud solution I still struggle with version control and I have to be connected to the Internet to access my content, which isn’t always completely convenient, or practical with larger files like video.

Storage issues’ aside, having a laptop is great, but lately I’ve actually needed a more powerful desktop computer at home. That being the case then just maybe I don’t really need the laptop any more… but I do want that portability factor…

Hmm… you know I am going to start talking about the iPad don’t you. The iPad may not be the revolutionary device it is lauded as , but rather an evolution of device, and it may not be a digital content creators dream device, but I it could be the digital consumers dream machine.

Tablet computers in general blow the legs off any ideas about forking out for a Kindle because they are much more than just an eBook reader and it slots perfectly in between my magazine addiction, general nods toward the TV, Uni research needs, and the digital media era – take a peek at what could be possible for digital magazines in this mockup or think about the wildly popular Marvel comic application to get an idea of my consumption desires.

But if I’m serious for just a moment, I’m still only edging closer to my ideal digital evolution. We are not quite there yet. As Charlie Brooker says about the iPad I want one, why? iDunno. It’s an oblong that lights up.

If only I could hook into a device agnostic *something* and get all the power I needed for the right device that did everything I wanted with maximum simplicity. Instead of choosing a service to use, my device would know exactly what service I wanted to use and have it ready for me intuitively from the first few keys I pressed.

But for now it seems I am left teetering on the precipice of something amazing, still clutching 3 or 4 devices, feverishly tinkering with Android, OS X and object oriented languages, not quite sure which one will prevail, none of which will ever synchronise together completely, none of which I can profoundly hold up high above my head and yell ‘this is it!’ But Day of the Geek shall come. I think it’s known inner sanctum as June 7 in Cupertino.

How do you manage multiple devices, version control, home storage and digital security?