I Hope They Serve Beer In The Cloud

If you haven’t heard of the cloud, you’ve been living under a rock.  Over past years, this has become all the rage of the technology world.  We are slowly being completely surrounded by clouds of all shapes and sizes; as they collapse around us and force us into their depths.  Every major company has a cloud in the sky these days.  Apple’s iCloud.  Microsoft’s Skydrive.  Google Cloud/Drive/Docs.  Even on large-scale business enterprise platforms are providing cloud services, with companies like EMC, Commvault, Symantec, etc entering the arena.

Today, let’s discuss today’s impact of the cloud on users like us, and where it could be taking us.


Everyday Use

At its core, “the cloud” is really just a synonym for the Internet.  When data is stored in the cloud, it’s stored on the Internet.  Not locally to your hard drive.  Privacy, anyone?

If I bring my laptop home from work, it’s a matter of 30 seconds for me to log in and access all of my work files.  I simply VPN into the company network, and presto!—all of my files, virtual machines, and company networks are available to me.  In college, I lost track of how many times groups would work together on one large Google Doc in preparation for a test.  Granted, there were the freeloaders like me who would just let everyone else finish the guide; technologies like these probably haven’t helped our overall laziness as a society.

There is no doubt that cloud data storage has its place.  The ease of transferring files between computers, phones, tablets, etc from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection is incredibly efficient.

college cloud

Where We’re Going

Basic cloud computing and data storage is probably a bigger part of your life than you realize.  Use Dropbox to transfer things between computers?  Use Google Docs to help study for exams?  You’ll note that now, it’s primarily DATA being stored.  However, applications are starting to be run from a cloud interface now, as well.  Facebook is a type of cloud service.  You upload the data to it, and the application runs off of that data.  In no way whatsoever is “Facebook” stored on your local computer.  More than likely, applications will continue to be pushed to cloud interfaces over time.

The question I ask is, how far does it go?

cloud diagram

Theoretically Speaking

Let’s say you’re a Windows kind of guy.  Right now, you’ve got Windows 7 Home Premium running on your Dell laptop.  Think about your entire operating system, Windows 7, running off a cloud system from Microsoft.  Will computers eventually become such a bare bone that you actually log into a cloud to access your core operating system and its files?  If that is the case, then all of your personal documents would be stored there as well.

I, for one, can’t imagine a life without having my data locally accessible.  It’s nice to know that even if I were to unplug from the Internet, I could still access my basic photos, music, videos, etc.  Storing everything in an online space, where the ownership and rights of said data becomes cloudy (see what I did there?), simply seems like a slower, and less secure way of running everything.  Then you have to be trusting of these large companies to house your data, but it’s not like it’s private anyways.

My concern is, if it is more profitable for the technology giants of the world, eventually they will all push this upon us until we have no choice.  Technology moves so fast you constantly are in a state of uphill battle if you want to keep up.  If all companies push this kind of system upon us, what choice do we have but to conform to it?  Perhaps we are just at the mercy of these corporate giants, and they will just pull us in whatever direction they see themselves making the most dough.

Read Next: Privacy Is Completely Gone

35 thoughts on “I Hope They Serve Beer In The Cloud”

  1. ” Think about your entire operating system, Windows 7, running off a cloud system from Microsoft….can’t imagine a life without having my data locally accessible”
    I was part of the testing of the original cr-48 (Chromebook)..while nice to know that my data would be accessible from any device the key was there had to be connectivity. I still love my cr-48 when I know I will have connection but would never rely on it as my sole machine

    1. Correct, and while you think there’s connectivity everywhere, there’s really not. Example: I just moved my sister into one of the top California state schools and I had to buy her an ethernet cord for her dorm room. No wifi in a top university dorm room? Took ages to bypass all the ports and get her Netflix working on her Blu-Ray. I was ready to go cause mayhem at their IT department.

  2. Can only recommend using wuala as a cloud server. Its programmed by the ETH of Switzerland and they do not cooperate with NSA and alikes.

  3. Cloud computing seems like an Orwellian nightmare to me when it comes to privacy. When this is fully realized, there won’t be privacy anymore. Get ready for the man to come knocking on your door if you step over the line, a line which increasingly is paints us all into a corner as more oppressive laws become the norm. Getting and staying off the grid looks more appealing by the day.

    1. “Cloud computing seems like an Orwellian nightmare to me when it comes to privacy.”
      That’s only because it is, so it just comes across that way. Keep an old computer and copy of Slackware 9.1 around.

    2. I agree. When the net started becoming mainstream in the United States everyone was in an uproar about security and privacy. Now most people are willing to tell all in social media: when they were born, where they went to college, private facts etc. There is a reason why using Facebook is free to John Q. Public yet the founder (whole stole the original idea) is worth billions. It’s simply because of info sharing and I highly doubt it is limited to just marketing companies. I would not be surprised if government agencies were also pulling data from social networks.
      It’s shit like this that makes me glad I decided not to have children.

    3. I’m not fan of government spying(quite the opposite), but it’s absurd to think the guys in charge actually have the ability to catch more criminals by using such tactics. The problem with all of this data being collected is that as more and more data gets collected, it becomes harder to separate the noise from the signal. The complexity of the data explodes much more quickly than anyone’s ability to understand and decipher it, especially morons in government/central planners.

      1. Everything I’m saying can easily be shown mathematically. It’s also the exact same reason why central planner can’t engineer wealth creation even though they try as hard as possible to create “economic growth”. The linkages between all parts of the network explode exponentially. I actually think the linkages explode much faster than exponentially; I think the doubling time of these linkages, the information available, and the amount of noise actually approaches zero as time moves forward.
        The bigger worry would be if the guys in charge just target specific people who were speaking up against them. Then, they’d just dig up some bullshit to jail you/get you in trouble using all of these tools. I hope that their ignorance and stupidity makes them actually think they can understand all of this, which would virtually make sure that they’d blow themselves up given time.

        1. “The bigger worry would be if the guys in charge just target specific people . . .”
          As per your argument that is obviously what it is for, the post hoc pursuit of peoples desired to be declared criminal.

        2. “As per your argument that is obviously what it is for, the post hoc pursuit of peoples desired to be declared criminal.”

        3. I agree. I think they’ll probably find a way to blow themselves up, but that might take a while.

      2. “It becomes harder to separate the noise from the signal.” Then how does Google do it?
        It’s not about catching criminals as much as it is keeping us all in line.
        Type up a few keywords the government doesn’t like, and you’ll already end up on a list. And this is only the beginning of the delights that await us in the years and decades ahead.

  4. Call me a paranoid parrot, but i often think about this as well. Most of these thoughts made me put up a tails distribution on my 10 inch laptop, but i see they will manage to bypass all security measures one day with this cloud-based computing.
    All social networks i shut down long time ago.
    But hey, what if pirates put up their own cloud servers one day ? Where there will be good old anarchy we are used to for so long.

    1. “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” – John Gilmore
      That’s why they are now building the “security” features directly into the hardware. Not just your CPU and drives, but into your monitor, printer and even speakers as well.
      Smartphones make the whole thing easy peasy. You don’t watch your smartphone, it watches you. Even when you think it’s turned off.

  5. Well Dropbox DOES store your data locally as well. It doesnt matter if facebook stores your data locally, since the data only really makes sense in facebook context (“ikes, comments etc).
    Most applications can be run on a virtual desktop, so it in very near future, you wont need much of an operating system. The exception to this is of course graphic extensive games.

  6. + It will allow for a level of processing and rendering which would be impossible on a local machine.
    – It will make the free sharing of applications extremely difficult, a bad thing for the majority of the planet.

  7. Just to play devil’s advocate I highly doubt that any centralization of
    (what would normally be) local data to a server side solution would ever work.
    The internet is free (basically), and I tend to see less and less crime happening in real life and more and more crime happening on the internet. The sheer amount of pornography, theft, drug dealing, swatting, cracking, verbal abuse and radical thinking that happens on the internet is more than enough to blow your head away.
    Just visit some shitty website like TinyChat and get someone’s Skype, you’ll soon start seeing underage boobs. Then start Skype networking (meeting other people through Skype), nearly all of my friends on Skype were in one way or another, TOTALLY FUCKED in their life.
    One man defrauded Facebook and Twitter (he sold Twitter followers and Facebook likes), another was a crack smoker (witnessed this several times) who “took” (he emphasized the fact that he didn’t steal) other people’s drugs, he also got away with murder (or so he says), another man was found with a pound of cocaine in his car wheels and is awaiting trial (his other story is that he was found with a dead body in the back of his car, the person of which two men were trying to get money from), I also met the members of Lulzsec.
    There’s TOR, the deep web, torrenting, all this VPN and proxy shit, RATs, botnets etc.
    Google doesn’t know shit (or maybe they do), Microsoft doesn’t know shit. These internet gangsters however, are really really subversive and criminal, they’re intense, almost like liquor.

    1. There are upsides to it all though; I found ForeignBride in five minutes on VietnamCupid.
      And the internet allowed me to research the best non-elastic socks when I purchased a half-dozen pairs to evaluate. Finally settled on “Calvin Klein” brand and bought 50 pairs. It is my humble opinion that tight socks kill people. Or maybe it’s just my big feet. No more fumbling with 37 mismatched socks when I want to go out of the house.
      And I just got off the phone with my boss. I work remote and am in a different state. We were going to have a part I designed custom machined but can upload the model and get it 3D printed for next to nothing.
      We live in incredible times.

      1. Absolutely. I roll out of bed and “go” to work in my living room several days a week. Easy peasy.
        Even if things get out of hand (which I suspect will), I also suspect that we, as humans, will adapt as we always do. We will simply grow accustomed to the way of life, much like how our society has adapted perfectly to being a bunch of mindless drones on smartphones.

      2. I’m on the opposite end. I got a new laptop with Win8 foisted on me and all these lovely cloud-based services don’t do a hell of a lot of good from out in the ocean. I can connect through real-time sat at about $4,000 a day for my needs, or via a goddamned single sideband (HAM style) radio-based internet connection to a shore station at dial-up speed for about $2. The IT drones who visit us masturbate furiously about wanting to put real-time access to our internal ship’s network (this is for an oil tanker) so they can monitor engine performance and minutia from HQ and I’ve got to ask what the point is to all this connectivity? Seems like so much of it is being done for its’ own sake. You can already look up exactly where I am 24/7 with an iphone app (wonderful tool for pirates). They’re proposing being able to listen in to conversations on ships’ bridges remotely (no more talking about whores, personal matters and salary concerns) to assist in assigning blame for accidents. Your experience shows the value from a production standpoint, but at what cost does this come?

        1. A few weeks ago I visited an old friend who lives in a hillbilly shack on the wrong side of the tracks. He has never been on the internet or an aero-plane. No cable TV. He has had the same land-line for 30 years. Enviable in many ways.

  8. There a big chance of this happening since this could eliminate piracy for most users, meaning there’s a lot of money involved.

  9. Cloud computing is the triumph of hype and nothing else. The pre internet computers were just dumb terminals that logged on to a big central computer for a period of time. That’s right, it was originally “cloud computing.”
    But privacy advocates didn’t like the idea of someone else having all your data, and as the tech became available, voila, we had personal computers. Install whatever programs you want, encrypt your data if you want, it’s yours.
    Then a few years ago, corporations who wanted your money and your data came up with the name “cloud computing” because it sounds better than saying they wanted to take back all of the control over your data.
    And like idiots, even people who should have known better, jumped at the offer, saying it was more “convenient.”
    I have no sympathy for whatever happens. It is obviously a bad idea to give so much control over to strangers just to save yourself a bit of administrative trouble.
    We will get what we deserve.

  10. The cloud” is the pop-culture, buzzword du jour for a large array of technologies, most of which have been in use for the past three decades. The lack of privacy associated with data storage and service execution delegated to large datacenters owned by private corporations is really a non-problem. Most large companies and institutions have never trusted public cloud services and will certainly never store their critical information in a datacenter they don’t own and manage directly. That though doesn’t mean they haven’t or will never adopt at least some of the technologies which fall under the cloud umbrella, whether they’re about grid computing, big data (another fancy umbrella!), virtualisation or distributed network storage. In short: the cloud isn’t bad and doesn’t pose a security/privacy threat per se. It’s public clouds owned by the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Rackspace that may pose that problem. I hope this goes some way into clarifying TroubleMaker’s points further.

      1. I believe you. For most big corps, 80% of the information flow and processes are pure commodity and can be easily delegated to a company like the one you work for. You WILL have them as clients, guaranteed. The remaining 20% of their data will always be stored in private clouds, which may or may not mimick public clouds in architecture, topology and size, but are owned and maintained internally. Specific entities, a nanotech or biotech company, an investment bank or hedge fund to make a few examples, are probably choosing private clouds for 100% of their data, from daily risk reports to staff e-mail.

        1. Ah, I misread your original post. While that makes perfect sense, I sincerely hope the people managing the critical data are sharper than the ones managing the non-crit stuff (aka the ones I deal with).

  11. I’m one of the fapper cam guys on tinychat, hope they never post it with myfacebook in the cloud…
    It would be embarrassing if all the hajjibs and H1B’s I work with knew about that stuff…

  12. TroubleMaker, a good corollary article on this one and the previous would be an introduction to the Deep Web. I look forward to it!

  13. The future is not cloud computing. Technology keeps pushing out personal storage capacity and the network runs better when you can download files.

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