Lost in the Cloud – NYTimes.com

Op-Ed Contributor – Lost in the Cloud – NYTimes.com.

This is an interesting article by Harvard Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain about cloud computing.

I’m not ready to entrust my photos to the cloud yet. Quite possibly I never will be. I use Flickr and Picasa extensively but they are not the repository for my pictures. They are on an encrypted hard drive and some other places.

Professor Zittrain makes good observations about the security and accessibility of the cloud. I don’t think they’ll ever be completely solved.

I’m old enough to remember programming using punched cards. In my first job in ITT Business Systems (IDEC) in Cockfosters, London they were starting to convert from punched cards for the source of our software to storing it in a library on what IBM called DASD – Direct Access Storage Devices – aka Winchester Disks.

I recall the old timers did not trust the new fangled online systems. They kept their source backed up on punched cards – boxes and boxes of them. The biggest incovivenience was that a lab of about 50 engineers had to share a few IBM 3270 terminals. We were still meant to give our source written on coding sheets to data entry operators and the shared 3270s were meant for minor corrections.

As a young know-it-all straight out of university where we has used an ICL online system and ample Teletypes, I scorned the old timers. One sprinkler leak would turn all their cards to papier- mâché I chortled.

Now I am about the age of those old timers. Mike Ritman and Dave Butler, where are you now? Hopefully in a happy retirement. But I’m wondering if my attitude to keeping my photos on a hard drive or DVD that I can see and touch is akin to their attitude, 30 years on?

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