I’m throwing in the towel. I’m conceding defeat. I really wanted to be able to prove that life in the cloud is as bountiful as traditional desktop computing, despite my expectation that this would not be the case. Cloud computing is showing all the signs of moving in that direction, but last night I cracked, and then resolved to remain cracked. I was hoping to provide an overview of task management in the cloud, and there are some good options out there, the most promising of which is in beta right now, and called Apollo. I just cannot tear myself away from the beauty, design and workflow of Things for Mac and iPhone, plus they are working on a cloud sync feature right now, so it’ll be the best of both worlds, right?
Overall, I’m very impressed with the strides Google is making with the Chrome browser, its own suite of apps and the syncing of data. The wealth of web apps just shows how fast this market is growing across all fields of business and services. I just don’t think we’re at a point where we can do away with traditional desktop applications.
I was in the coffee shop this week to do my devotional reading with the dudes, and the in-house WIFI was down. Panic! The glaring hole in the putty-like underbelly of cloud computing was exposed for all to see. I sat there just waiting for all my analog bible reading buddies to start jeering and mocking. Then I found a different free WIFI for downtown Nampa, provided by the city. I hopped on that and continued about my reading, writing and so forth. But just imagine if you’re reliant on the cloud for a critical business meeting and suddenly the cloud is inaccessible. Or imagine that there’s a service outage? If it can happen to Google, and it has before, then it can happen to anyone.
So here’s where I see things going – cloud interfaced, always synced, locally cached data. That’s one of the reasons I love Dropbox – I know it is synced, backed up and safe, but I also know that it is on my local hard drive and if the world wide interwebs decide to take a sudden vacation, I still have access to my files. I’m intrigued to see where Apple is heading with its much rumored “iTunes in the Sky” project. One thing is for sure, if Apple makes me store all my music in the cloud, I’ll rapidly be looking for a new way to play my digital collection.
One final thought here – there are some who think that cloud computing will simplify the digital life. By having everything in one place (the browser), users will have faster access, more streamlined functionality and better interoperability. This is a myth. When we move into cloud computing, we have the same amount of apps, functioning within the browser framework. In that sense, the browser becomes the new desktop operating system. The real advantage is access to apps and data from any modern browser, rather than being tied to one particular machine.
Three weeks into the four week experiment is good enough for me – now I return to the glories of beautiful UI design and full functionality.