Outlook, mostly cloudy

We’ve got our heads in the cloud. Downloads, applications, files, storage, everything you need available everywhere you need it. It’s an incredible concept and there’s no doubt we’re all going to be using it more, much more. It’s useful, it’s functional, and it’s inevitable, but. . ,

what about physical hard copy and immediate local access not dependent on a connection? It’s good that iTunes keeps a record of all your purchases. If you experience a hard drive crash or file corruption on your computer, you can re-download at no charge. Cloud applications are always the latest version, and off-site file access and backups provide safety from home-based theft or disaster, but. . ,

what if the records of your purchases get corrupted or backups vanish in the cloud? Let’s not overplay the downside when there’s much to gain, new, never-before-possible possibilities are open to us with cloud computing. Having all your apps and files available in one “location” and accessible on any device, anywhere you happen to be is a tremendously convenient tool, but. . ,

what happens when the network is down, or the connection fails, or there is no signal, or. . ? We’ve come to rely (and that reliance is growing) heavily on networks, wireless, and wi-fi. They are very dependable, convenient and powerful, but. . ,

not invincible. The cloud is a glistening pastel, green and yellow basket, but. . ,

I’m not putting all my eggs in it.

There is no substitute for hard copy, redundant backups—physical, local, in your own hands, and immediately accessible without a connection. This goes for more than just computing. Every new technology has appeared to threaten and displace the old, but. . ,

Books haven’t replaced biological memory, photography didn’t supplant painting, the telephone hasn’t eliminated meetings, recordings haven’t wiped out live performances, TV didn’t do in radio. In every case, new technologies haven’t and won’t supersede established ones. They add to them and enrich them.

CDs dead? Libraries outmoded? Gathering to vocalize face-to-face with other respirating creatures of the same species defunct?

No matter what the outlook, no matter how far technology goes, humans are still essentially the same as they were ten years ago or ten centuries ago—same wants, same needs. No matter how hard we try to be with it, original and new, there’s always some inevitable (and necessary) connection to the past. As the old saying goes, “Everything old is new again.”

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