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Mistrust of Today's Technology 176

narramissic writes to tell us that Sean McGrath has an interesting look at a general mistrust of today's technology and draws a comparison to the proofreading of photocopies. From the article: "The constant availability of web services out there in the cloud is one such idea. Today, we do not trust the cloud and the services on it to be always available. Few of us can remember any incidences in recent time when, say google.com or amazon.com or live.com was offline but we still do not trust them to be always there and available. I predict that this day will pass. The day will come when outages of big commercial services on the cloud are as unusual as outages in the phone system or the electricity supply system. Sure, losing power will also lose you the services on the cloud but your business most likely has bigger problems to worry about when the power goes."
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Mistrust of Today's Technology

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  • Beta (Score:4, Interesting)

    by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:08PM (#16099285) Homepage Journal
    Considering how many useful services in "the cloud" currently bear "beta" tags, I think it's a pretty easy to argument to make that reliability will improve. Google's own search engine was "beta" the first time I used it 7-8 years ago.

    Of course, by the time Gmail is out of beta we'll all be salivating over ZMvnxjowi (pronounced "Leonard") mail, and the cycle will begin anew.
    • Re:Beta (Score:5, Funny)

      by Kesch ( 943326 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:21PM (#16099433)
      Of course, by the time Gmail is out of beta we'll all be salivating over ZMvnxjowi (pronounced "Leonard") mail, and the cycle will begin anew.


      Hmm... that's a strange way to pronounce ZMvnxjowi. My first instinct would be to pronunce it "Zee, Emm, vunks, jowee."
    • Jargon usage (Score:5, Insightful)

      by happyemoticon ( 543015 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:26PM (#16099478) Homepage

      I'm surprised that they seem to sprinkle this term "the cloud" around with such childlike glee, and I don't really know precisely what it is. Either that means I'm not in the target audience, who are probably conversant with this term, or that the author has a buzzword fetish. And "mistrust"? I actually had to look at one up to make sure it wasn't, like, place trust in something unworthy thereof, rather than a synonym for everyday, "distrust."

      Weirdo writers.

      Anyway, on a more salient note, I really don't like how Google's stolen the term "Beta." When you talk to a lot of people out there in "the cloud," or whatever the hell, they think "Beta" means that it's up 98-99% of the time, like GMail, and aren't really aware of the fact that beta software contains bugs, or that there is some inherent risk in using it.

      • by Rix ( 54095 )
        Mistrust is the proper word. I don't know where you picked up the odd "distrust".
        • This is probably just some weird, catastrophic oversight of mine. I probably preferentially hear/read distrust just because it's the term I prefer to use. As for which is proper, according to the Shakespeare Search Engine [usyd.edu.au], both terms have been in use for at least 400 years.

          This site [bartleby.com] claims they're rough synonyms, and that distrust adds an air of suspicion in addition to lack of trust.

          And I'm still not entirely sure what this cloud is.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Rix ( 54095 )
            The human brain is pretty good at interpretting things below a conscious level. I can't recall seeing 'distrust' before...

            The internet, or any significantly large network, is usually represented as a cloud on network diagrams. It's somewhat fallen out of use outside of a few technical areas. My bet is this guy heared it being used somewhere and decided to use it as a buzzword.
      • Re:Jargon usage (Score:5, Informative)

        by bladesjester ( 774793 ) <slashdot AT jameshollingshead DOT com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:44PM (#16099615) Homepage Journal
        My assumption was that "the cloud" was sort of in reference to the diagrams in Comer's book on TCP/IP. The sections of the internet (and of networks in general) that weren't really of interest for the sake of the discussion at hand were often represented with clouds which the lines went into and came out of.

        For example, discussing how something got from a desktop to a computer (at a really really high level) might be depicted as:

        Desktop -> Cloud (labeled as "internet") -> Server

        Given that the professor I had for internetworking and operating systems was a student of Comer's, I got to know the material and conventions used in the book pretty well.
        • That's very interesting. Thanks.

          • Not a problem. I actually enjoyed those classes. The material was interesting and by no means easy (my prof didn't tend to pull punches).

            As far as applied things at college went those two classes were in the four toughest. The other two were probably Programming Languages (done in Scheme) and the class I had in Assembly.

            The ones I never want to think about again, though are Algorithms, Stats and Probability for EE (Baysean distributions at 8am is just wrong), and Discrete Math (as taught by an anal reten
        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
          So what you're saying is that people who talk about "the cloud" are talking about something that's not really of interest?
      • by jthill ( 303417 )
        I don't really know precisely what it is
        So I'm guessing the phrase 'the Good Old Days, when the term "software" sounded funny' doesn't ring any bells?
      • Anyway, on a more salient note, I really don't like how Google's stolen the term "Beta." When you talk to a lot of people out there in "the cloud," or whatever the hell, they think "Beta" means that it's up 98-99% of the time, like GMail, and aren't really aware of the fact that beta software contains bugs, or that there is some inherent risk in using it.

        Refer to any EULA and you'll see that there is inherent risk in using pretty much any software, Beta or not. For example, I just found the following in the

      • by ninjaz ( 1202 )
        "The cloud" is networking terminology. For example, in a network diagram for two different offices, the ISP connection between the two is "The cloud" where who-knows-what goes on. The cloud carries the implication of being an untrusted network.

        To secure traffic over "The Cloud" on networks, we use VPN. The article is apparently using that as a metaphor applied to the idea of securely using untrusted third party e-commerce infrastructure.

    • by jd ( 1658 )
      Why should beta tags matter? Let's say you have a bank of servers, say 3xN of them. N are maintaining live connections that reach the outside world. Another N are cloning the connections and therefore completely in sync, should any of the original servers fall over (ie: zero latency/zero loss standby). The third are on some kind of hot standby status, so they can be brought up to speed within a few seconds. Oh, and they're all using LinuxBIOS, so reboot time is on the order of seconds as well. If a machine
    • And this is the whole failing of the article.

      We don't distrust new technology because we don't understand it (like the photocopiers), but because we understand it all too well.

      You'd think the writer had never installed version 1 of anything, never seen a website Slashdotted, Wanged, Farked or Dugg and never had his modem carrier drop in the middle of a session. I'd be willing to bet my life he's certainly never coded anything that relied on third-party libraries of variable quality, and he doesn't seem to
  • Why aren't some of these internet companies regulated/audited/etc like the Utilities (phone, power, water etc..). I would expect atleast root DNS server owners and the major ISPs to fall under the same umbrella as a SBC/ATT.

    This is why if SBC has a major phone service outage, the Feds can levy heavy fines... but if Google goes out... they lose some face and ad revenue but are not responsible to the gov't.

    • by needacoolnickname ( 716083 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:15PM (#16099366)
      When Google going down disrupts my ability to get the police, firemen, or ambulance to my place in an emergency then I will worry why they are not responsible to the government.

      Until then... I have other things I would prefer the government worry about.
    • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:18PM (#16099402) Homepage Journal
      I think the reason that SBC/ATT get more heavily regulated is because they made a promise to be reliable in exchange for local monopolies. If they fail the public trust, they haven't earned their monopoly.

      Google is in no way in the same position. There's no monopoly, no government subsidies, etc. And you, as the customer, are free to switch to ask/yahoo/msn at any time.

    • Even if they were regulated, a dedicated DDOS could kick just about any server/DNS offline.

      Even "bulletproof" hosting has its limits.

      The best that you can expect in the future would be localized outages.
    • If Google goes down, I just open up another search engine, or type in addresses myself, or god forbid, just do without. If a water pipe bursts, I can't just hook my tap up to another one.
  • by HatchedEggs ( 1002127 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:09PM (#16099296) Homepage Journal
    Sure we mistrust the internet. Why wouldn't we? Most of us have had broadband providers with poor service, or just good old fashioned blips in our ability to connect. It is hard enough as is to get what we need done on the local services we run on our computers today... running them from the internet when there are so many potential problems is sure to be a bit scary.

    I know that in many ways it is the future to move applications to the net. One that I respect a ton is salesforce.com, thats an amazing product.

    But still, I think that most people are skeptical, like myself, about the viability of it currently.

    Some things we do on our computers are extremely important... and the thought of adding in another variable can be disturbing. It will be interesting to see how these things are deployed and how succesful they are in the near future.

    Hrmmm, even my blog has crashed on me a time or two.
    • by znu ( 31198 )
      But it's a myth that local stuff is reliable. Really. Many people's computers are full of spyware. They don't have redundant hardware, they're living with the daily threat of Windows flaking out, etc. And people mostly don't have the technical knowledge to fix their computers when things go wrong, so they could be idle for days, and paying other people lots of money, to get back up and running. And most people don't even have backups. Even the people who are on top of their tech stuff occasionally have to w
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
        My Internet connection goes down a LOT more frequently than my computer does. Of course, I'm using a Mac.... ;)

        I'm going to be keeping my apps local for a long time to come if for no other reason than I like to take my notebook with me and do things from strange locales. Work from the park, fiddle with pictures in the mountains, things like that.
  • Power you say? (Score:4, Informative)

    by bladesjester ( 774793 ) <slashdot AT jameshollingshead DOT com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:09PM (#16099304) Homepage Journal
    The day will come when outages of big commercial services on the cloud are as unusual as outages in the phone system or the electricity supply system.

    Net services are more stable than electricity where I am at the moment. Storms have a habit of knocking out the power for short periods of time - generally 2-20 minutes. (not counting the 5 days that the power was out after an ice storm a couple of years ago).

    The power supply when I was living in town was so much more reliable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Surt ( 22457 )
      Indeed, power, phone, ISP ... all are much more vulnerable to failure because they typically have a long stretch of single path. Google has multiple datacenters, and the failure of one won't make google unavailable. All the serious internet companies are long over this hump.
  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:12PM (#16099337) Homepage Journal
    (Ok, so it was 2004, but it was the first thing that popped into my head reading the header)

    Heres the slash coverage [slashdot.org]

  • by complexmath ( 449417 ) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:13PM (#16099345)
    But my printer is out of paper.
  • Oy veh! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by writermike ( 57327 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:16PM (#16099388)
    Today, we do not trust the cloud and the services on it to be always available. Few of us can remember any incidences in recent time when, say google.com or amazon.com or live.com was offline but we still do not trust them to be always there and available. I predict that this day will pass. The day will come when outages of big commercial services on the cloud are as unusual as outages in the phone system or the electricity supply system.

    No no no no no no. It's not about them losing electricity. You're right! That doesn't happen much.

    To my mind, it's the same as what happened to S&Ls. People felt their money was safe there until the scandles broke and a bunch of people lost their money. Trust went away! The similarity here is that a tech company makes a big break on the scene, they chug along promising "forever" services, they experience problems, then they change their business model or shut down leaving users that depended on their services in a lurch. I'm not scared of power outages! I'm scared of companies simply changing their minds.

    So, go ahead and use an online backup service, but I'll never believe that they'll be around "forever."
  • This is a new one to me. I don't think anyone would think too much of it if Amazon went down. There's plenty of alternatives, including brick and mortar, for most of what Amazon is used for.

    The technology I see people not trusting are the ones we cannot control. Voting machines? With the punch card style we can still see where our vote goes. Most kiosk type services have withstood time (ATMs, for example), but people are still afraid of airplanes on a purely mechanical level. And when even pacemakers
    • by miyako ( 632510 )
      From what I understand, a few weeks ago amazon did go down for a little bit, and apparently it was a big deal to a lot of people (I know it was on fark, and I think some other more 'mainstream' places picked it up too).
      That aside, I'm not sure how much I agree with the rest of your point in general. I think a lot of the time people are more apt to trust a black box, because they can't see the possible failure points. This is a problem with a lot of things, especially computers- since if you're not an IT
    • Amazon is a bad example though. If Amazon went down...so what. All that would happen is you wouldn't be able to buy a book online from Amazon.

      The question is more pertinent to web "services" that one would presumably rely on day-to-day. IE. online banking (more specifically - banks like ING that don't have brick-and-mortar presence), online photo albums, or better yet: online word processors and spreadsheets. If any of these suddenly become unavailable whether due to problems with connectivity or sudden unf
    • ``The technology I see people not trusting are the ones we cannot control. Voting machines? With the punch card style we can still see where our vote goes. Most kiosk type services have withstood time (ATMs, for example)''

      I'm afraid that you will find people tend to take these systems they cannot control for granted, and trust them more. If you think about it, that's _really_ scary.
    • I don't think anyone would think too much of it if Amazon went down. There's plenty of alternatives, including brick and mortar

      It's a question of time. It won't matter much if the latest Harry Potter ships this week or next. Except to your kids. It will matter if your time-sensitive corporate calendars, collaborative documents, and inter-office posts, are sitting on a server you can't access.

  • I would have seen this article earlier, but our corporate internet just came back up after being down all day. Thank god that's a thing of the past.

  • I don't buy the power-is-gone analogy, because while a power out is really bad, how do you explain your customers you can't do business because you preferred to store your valuable emails/docs/spreadsheets/data at the last über-hyped dot com beta and it's down on maintenance?

    --
    Superb hosting [tinyurl.com] 20GB Storage, 1_TB_ bandwidth, php, mysql, ssh, $7.95
    • ``how do you explain your customers you can't do business because you preferred to store your valuable emails/docs/spreadsheets/data at the last über-hyped dot com beta and it's down on maintenance?''

      Or, for that matter, on a system that got hit by the latest malware? And you couldn't defend against it, because Microsoft/Apple/Ubuntu/whomever hadn't released a patch yet? Or because you were locked out by WGA?

      How about you couldn't get at your patient's records because you hadn't paid your proprietary s
      • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        How about you couldn't get at your patient's records because you hadn't paid your proprietary software vendor's outrageous (just increased manyfold) maintenance fee? Or you couldn't read an old file anymore, because its format is no longer supported by the current version of the software?

        These are all examples of things that actually happen...


        And are a great argument in favor of open source.
    • Simply say "We're running on MS tools". They'll buy that without even asking.
  • In recent years, AOL Instant Messenger [eweek.com] and MSN [microsoft-watch.com] have had widespread outages. Have no fear, people will not stop screwing things up any time soon.
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:21PM (#16099435)
    ...as power out at the datacenter. The whole reason that businesses park their e-commerce platforms (and web services, and increasingly their accounting platforms and messaging systems) out at a for-real datacenter is so that when their local office utilities puke, their customers can still "see" them online, send them an e-mail without it getting spooled up or bounced, etc.

    In the sense that a good datacenter's got local power generation covered, the failure of the larger cloud is the bigger risk. I know, not for all business profiles (like call centers, etc). But I'd say that the "we don't care if our cubicles are in the dark, as long as our web site is up" description probably fits 80% of my clients. Just sayin'.
  • ``Sure, losing power will also lose you the services on the cloud''

    Not for long, I think. Service providers already provide fault tolerance in the form of multiple data centers with redundant power and network connectivity. With the Net getting increasingly important to users, it's only a matter of time before backup power and Internet access become commonplace.
  • by bhmit1 ( 2270 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:23PM (#16099456) Homepage
    People mistrust photocopies because they didn't understand the technology. Now we just make sure there's toner.

    People mistrust new technology because they do understand them (to a degree), and all the moving parts, and what can break. Coding to handle an outage is a good practice of safe programming, not an excessive overhead.

    The only truth to this is that knowing how to survive in the future without google may be as pointless as knowing how to survive during a power failure today. Actually, there's still a good reason to be able to survive on your own.
    • ``The only truth to this is that knowing how to survive in the future without google may be as pointless as knowing how to survive during a power failure today. Actually, there's still a good reason to be able to survive on your own.''

      There's definitely reason to be able to survive on your own! You never know when or why power goes out, or when it will be back. The plant might be bombed to pulp, or someone might set something sensitive on fire, or snow might cause the power lines to collase, or there could
      • by Eivind ( 15695 )
        Knowing how to survive without power is just about having room-temperature iq. It's not as if it's in the sligthest hard.

        Infact, unless you're literally chained to some electricity-using machine it'd be pretty darn hard to die just due to lack of power, even if you tried to.

        Come on. You can't watch television. So don't. (won't kill you). You *may* not be able to cook food. So eat whatever you have that doesn't need to be cooked. This is literally 99% of the food in your house. Eating raw meat won't kill

    • Coding to handle an outage is a good practice of safe programming, not an excessive overhead.

      if(!power)
      turn_on_power();

      Doesn't seem like that'd be too much overhead to me!

  • ... but more along the lines that I mistrust the software driving the said technology.

    A tool is just a tool until there's human intervention involved.
  • The day will come when outages of big commercial services on the cloud are as unusual as outages in the phone system or the electricity supply system. Sure, losing power will also lose you the services on the cloud but your business most likely has bigger problems to worry about when the power goes."

    There hasn't been a significant regional power outage here since the Northeast Blackout of 1965 [wikipedia.org]. There hasn't been a significant regional POTS failure here since the Northeast Hurricane of 1938.

    When power doe

    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      here hasn't been a significant regional power outage here since the Northeast Blackout of 1965.

      I was without power for most of a week in March after the tornados hit. My cell phone wouldn't make long distance calls for a day or two, either.
    • by nebaz ( 453974 )
      What about 2003 [wikipedia.org]?
      • What about 2003?

        The Niagara region of upstate New York and southern Ontario (where the giant hydro plants are located) escaped the 2003 blackout.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:39PM (#16099588) Homepage

    In the entire history of electromechanical switching in the Bell System, no central office was ever out of service for more than 30 minutes for any reason other than a natural disaster. That record has definitely not been maintained in the computer era.

    Electric power system reliability in the United States is down, mostly as a result of deregulation. Rate-of-return regulation tended to encourage utilities to overbuild their systems, which was good for reliability. When there's a free market in electric power, no one bears responsibility for downtime.

    I don't expect things to get better. Not after Cleveland had a five-day outage [cleveland.com] and nobody went to jail.

  • by smilindog2000 ( 907665 ) <bill@billrocks.org> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:45PM (#16099631) Homepage
    The average person's experience of computing is that it's a crap-shoot. You back-up like crazy, because you never know when you might get a blue-screen-of-death. You walk into a coffee shop, and pray your computer will connect. You accidentally open the wrong attachment, or click on the wrong button on a web site, and you've got new spy-ware or worse. Most people need a geek friend to come over just to tell them if they have a problem (and they usually do). How are average people suppose to know if there a bot recording their credit card numbers and sending them to Russian hackers? Can they trust their computers with financial information? Can they trust a computer with an active wireless connection?

    Web sites record our visits. They leave cookies on our machines, and our computer records web-page visits in it's cache. They execute javascript and java applets, and show us tits when we wanted bits. We try and censor our children's access, and worry about pedophiles on myspace.com.

    I think trust isn't a word most people would use in the same context as anything related to a computer. Let's face it... we've kinda got these things working, but just barely.
  • by grassy_knoll ( 412409 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:49PM (#16099657) Homepage
    we still do not trust them to be always there and available.


    See, that's why you DOWNLOAD the pr0n. Don't just leave it on the web site. ...

    what?

  • by maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:54PM (#16099701)
    For a long time I have seen the push to try to get applications off the PC (ironically, after pushing them all out there from the mainframe days). All the usual cost benefits are cited: ease of maintenance, upgrading, compatibility, etc.

    I have been hesitant to adopt. For example, I still insist on a local email client that stores all of my email /on/my/computer/. I do not trust my email sitting on a server somewhere, for privacy and accessibility reasons. So to this extent, the article is right - I do worry about accessibility, probably irrationally in this day and age.

    But in the last year it seems that the real money push on the 'Net has been in not just PROVIDING content, but rather CONTROLLING content.

    So while in the past remote applications were pushed as a means to providing a better service to the customer, nowadays they seem to be pushed, unspokenly, as a means to provide better service to the PROVIDER.

    If you can lock someone into your DRM vehicle, you can make the customer dependant on you. If they stop paying for your service, oh, so sorry, you can't access any of your application data anymore. Or you can't share your application data with anyone who isn't running our application. Basically the service provider can use DRM to control what you can do with your data.

    My other concern with a remote application is privacy. Sure they /claim/ to be secure. But every week it seems there is a news story about someone else who has let slip with their customer's data. Maybe files on Service Provider X's computer system are in reality more secure than the files on my PC, but at least if they are compromised from my own computer it's my own damn fault. Anyway I feel like my files are more private stored on my machine generated on apps on my machine instead of on someone else's machine across the interent.

    So my biggest source of distrust these days for a remote application is not the AVAILABILITY of the service, but rather:

    * Being at the mercy of the service provider in terms of DRM.

    * Privacy.

    And finally, I just don't /need/ my applications to be remotely served to me. The two biggest applications I use are word processing and email. I'm still running Office 2000 for these applications, and they work just fine.

    Steve

    • by Ed Avis ( 5917 )

      I still insist on a local email client that stores all of my email /on/my/computer/.

      In what format? If it's stored as a big blob of binary garbage, you're just as much held to ransom as if it were on a remote server. You still can't get at your data except by going through the 'official channel', in this case running that particular mail program and hoping it doesn't crash or corrupt its data store.

      Insist on mail stored in a readable format like mbox files or maildirs!

  • I'm left wondering with the taste in my mouth of someone spewing smoke to sell me something.

    The connection between proofing photocopies (which just don't work that way -- you can get a smudge, but you CANNOT get the wrong character) and mistrusting Internet reliability (which CAN go down and DOES go down, albeit rarely) is specious. One is not understanding, and the other is understanding and knowing damn well that there are vulnerabilities.

    This is puffery.
    • I agree, regarding the poor analogy in TFA. People's mistrust of Internet reliability is more akin to the mistrust of optical character recognition rather than photocopying. Does/would anyone not proofread important documents scanned and interpreted by their OCR software?

      Although it's been awhile, some of us do remember outages at MAE-West (1998 [wired.com], 2000 [com.com], for example) which slowed the Internet to a crawl for many people. So, that mistrust is not without basis.

      Most importantly, though, it's not just availabilit
  • There's a fundamental difference in the basis of trust/distrust. We trust the power grid because the power company's a financially-stable entity that's not going to close it's doors tomorrow, and because we have a contractual relationship with them (that bill we pay every month). They're going to suffer financial and legal consequences if they just stop providing power for any length of time. And even at that, those of us who depend on having power don't put all our trust in the power company. Three words:

  • I'm 54 and I'm not old enough to remember photcopiers being new, but you know, they still screw up! I've had originals shredded by a photocopier, haven't you ever? I've had them copy half a page, etc. If I copy a stack of paper, I make sure I have all the pages, because I've been burned by NOT checking.

    The fact is, no technology, old or new, is perfect. I'm sure there were a few people who thought the machine "retyped it" like a secretary, but they were used to secretaries! It's like today with computers, s
  • Outages are not the main reason to distrust web service providers.

    Privacy is.

    And that is the reason I don't use them as much as possible.

  • reliable technology (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rpax9000 ( 916267 )
    I used to live someplace where the power was very unreliable (by U.S. standards) in that it was not uncommon to have one or two power outages per month that lasted from several hours to a day or two. It was out in the middle of nowhere (which means an electric pump to get wellwater, so no crummy tasting sulfur water during the power outages, either). To this day, even though I live someplace where the power has gone out once in the last three years (the northeast blackout a couple years back), I don't tru
  • Sure, losing power will also lose you the services on the cloud but your business most likely has bigger problems to worry about when the power goes.

    Yeah, like the fact that you're trapped in an elevator and the VOIP phones suddenly, mysteriously, stopped working at the same time as the power went out.

  • I mistrust something even more basic: Grocery stores. If gas prices get too high, then food is going to cost more. People on low income will have trouble buying food, or getting gas to work for their money. An all out fall out of society can occur if inflation starts to barrel out of control. Now there is not a whole lot of worry now, but with the national debt rising, its something that can happen in the next 30 years. Google, I can live without, but food I need.
  • I remember times when Amazon.com and Google.com were not fully available. And I certainly remember times when they weren't fully available *to me*, like last night when my terrible ISP had problems. Access to these services is not reliable.
  • This sounds like an urban legend, if not outright made up.

    I am old enough to remember the introduction of the Xerox 914, and while it was revolutionary, the only things revolutionary about it were the speed, the copy quality, the copy durability, etc. I never ever ever heard of anyone suggesting that the copies needed to be proofread.

    Similar processes had been available literally for centuries. There was nothing new about the idea of an exact image copy. The "Shovel Museum" at Stonehill College in Easton, M
  • My mistrust of 'the cloud' is justified. There have been many useful pages on obscure topics (like some old synthesizer's undocuments SysEx commands, or the tape encoding method of my old Coco) that just went when the website owner either forgot to pay their Geocities bill, or just let the page rot until it was removed by their provider. I hope that one day this won't be an issue -- the Wayback machine has helped me resurrect a few pages that Google brought up in search terms, but didn't even have cached a
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @07:01PM (#16100147)
    I do copy content to my locally available storage. Not because I fear that some provider suddenly and magically happens to vanish, or that he is suffering a power outage. My fear is that the content that I want to access suddenly vanishes and ceases to exist. Mainly because someone powerful decided that it's not "appropriate" for me to view it.

    So it's not the internet I mistrust. It's those who wield powers that I have no faith in. I trust computers more than people. They don't decide whether information is to be made available. Computers store and distribute it. People destroy and withhold it. So tell me, which should I mistrust?
  • Techies are just as mistrusting, and that mistrust is warranted. Maybe google.com doesn't go down, but my broadband does occasionally go down, which is effectivally identical to google.com being down for me. My job (a major university with multiple connections to different providers) has an outage perhaps once a year. Ignoring full outages, minor hiccups cause things like Google Spreadsheets to occasionally pop up the "Warning: You have been disconnected and your data has not been saved" message. Meanwh

    • by BCW2 ( 168187 )
      This is exactly why online aplications will not replace ones installed on your system. I said that no business would use online aps over 10 years ago when Gates first suggested it. Businesses want total control over their data and will never trust a remote site they don't own. More and more regular consumers feel the same way.
  • Maybe google.com was down when the barely literate author of the article tried to look up "incidences" to check the spelling. Not only is "incidences" a nonsensical word its apparent root, "incidence" isn't the right word for what the author was trying to convey. The proper word is "incidents"

    If the author can't be bothered to spell check his article why does he think we should bother to read it?

    • by joto ( 134244 )
      Maybe google.com was down when the barely literate author of the article tried to look up "incidences" to check the spelling.

      You use google as a spell checker? Wouldn't it be better to use something like a, uhm..., spell checker? Or at least a dictionary?

      If the author can't be bothered to spell check his article why does he think we should bother to read it?

      Maybe because we think he has something interesting to say? (Ok, he didn't, his article was a collection of lies, half-truths, and wishful think

  • by e**(i pi)-1 ( 462311 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:41PM (#16100597) Homepage Journal
    Would I drive in a car which would drive by itself, guided by GPS and online maps? Not yet. Would I rely on Skype for making a 911 call? No, I need something which works also if power lines are down. Would I like to have surgery, done remotely by a doctor in an other. I don't think so.

    From the article:

    Apparently photocopier machines were greeted with suspicion ... How can you know that the machine has made a perfect copy of your vital document.

    I still check photocopies of multiple page documents, if it is important. It is not the first time that a page was omitted. Also, small printed parts or graphics is not always copied correctly.

    When dealing with technology, I always try to have a backup plan. Take two laptops for an important presentation. Have a second computer in sync with the main production computer, have two printers available, a backup plan if a slide presentation would not work due to a broken projector bulb etc.
  • My concern isn't for reliability so much as longevity. I want something that is going to stick around. After college graduation, then a ISP buyout less than two years later, and having to notify everyone I knew each time about a change in email address, I bough my own domain and setup my own mail server on my linux box at home. Reliability may be a tad bit lower than my ISP (probably not from what I hear) and probably is lower than the majors such as google, hotmail, yahoo, etc. But, unless I really screw u
  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:44PM (#16101210) Homepage
    ...it's with privacy. I don't trust the web services to not use my information for their own nefarious purposes. They all expect to analyse my dataflow for marketing purposes, and I've no doubts that most of them will sell out specific information in a heartbeat.

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