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The Woz Downs the Cloud

Steve Wozniak went quiet for years. Sure, he founded the U.S. rock festival in the 1980s, but other than that he went pretty dark.

Then he came out of his shell and did Dancing with the Stars. And lately the Woz has been making news with comments about the state of computing. Woz recently had the guts to appear as a guest at "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," a two-hour show about how Apple exploits labor in China.

According to the report from Yahoo, Steve talked about the cloud saying "I really worry about everything going to the cloud. I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years." Wozniak continued by saying, "With the cloud, you don't own anything. You already signed it away through the legalistic terms of service with a cloud provider that computer users must agree to."

I really like the Woz. You can't fake cool and you can't fake nice -- and Steve appears to be both.

What do you think about the Woz and his cloud comments? Share your opinions at dbarney@redmondmag,com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 08/06/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Wed, Sep 5, 2012 JC Seattle

The Woz is dead-on regarding the Cloud, IMO. Putting one's business data out there as if there were no difference from a private cloud is inviting disaster. When you don't control your data you shouldn't be surprised when it's compromised/hacked/stolen/seized. I'm sure that corporations doing so will whine to the gov't about it and expect a bailout at our expense.

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 Lenorej Chicago, IL

Wired Magazine featured this recently: Beware The Cloud!

Tue, Aug 7, 2012 Erick Parts unknown

Well Cloud can be useful for some companies and it is not for everyone. The rule of the thumb is not to put everything in the Cloud. Its like any tool or systems developed -- it has a good side and a dark side. Careful planning and contracts should be scrutinized well.

Tue, Aug 7, 2012 AC USA

Just take a look at the article by Mat Honan over at Wired today to see how "great" the cloud is. I've always been very careful that anything that I have in that I care about is also backed up in at least two other physical locations (e.g. home and work). Thanks to 1Password none of my accounts has the same or even similar passwords, but as Mr. Honan points out, when you are able to play one company off another and put the pieces of someone's life together you can wreak all sorts of havoc. I love what the cloud can do for me - but I'm also afraid what it can do to me. Wired article:

Tue, Aug 7, 2012

I agree with Steve and the other posts here. When you go to the cloud you are putting a lot of trust in the provider. If something bad happens, you may get a few free hours of service however you will not recoup the money your business lost. Another aspect, assume everything goes extremely well and you have legal protections, once you have all your data in the cloud, the provider can now change pricing or other aspects within the terms of the contract and you have little choice but to go along. Moving your data someplace else may be extremely hard.

Mon, Aug 6, 2012 Greg St. Louis, MO

I did not hear the details but in general I am also skeptical of the cloud. Ownership, intellectual property rights, sloppy or poor operators, data protection, security, are all concerns. It you know what you want and exactly how you want it and you can get that spelled out in a straight forward contract - you will do OK in the cloud. From observation, people are not that careful and do not know what they are getting into many times. Buyer beware. If you know what you want and know what you are getting - and you have thought out all the worst case scenarios ahead of time - you will do well in the cloud.

Mon, Aug 6, 2012 Bruce Orlando

I'm inclined to agree with "Woz". As for myself I make minimal use of the "cloud" (my DropBox folder mainly) for *temporary* storage. I do not care for the idea that critical data I have must be had across a thin connection: I want it on my hard drive where no one else has access to it.

Mon, Aug 6, 2012 Bruce Boyce

I agree with him. You can't shred electronic documents so why would I want to increase the risks of identity/data theft? Sure, we can set "policies & procedures", but the people that make the decisions are only thinking about money and/or they're lost in the raptures of technology. The media falls right into the concept of "faster is better, if it can be done then it should be done, we all need to base our lives on computer-centric ideas..." Why were we ever afraid that computers would learn to think like humans? In fact, jhmans are beginning to think like them and I find that extremely dangerous. Looking back at history; combine power (computers) with stupidity and no ethics (I don't care if we should do it or not.) and what do you get? Wait! Please! Don't reboot me!

Mon, Aug 6, 2012 Stribo San Diego

I think the Woz is spot on. The Cloud is a convenient, yet dangerous, place to store all your worldly data.

Mon, Aug 6, 2012 No_Cloud_For_Me

I agree with Steve. While the cloud is a great in concept it is being used by companies to extract a constant stream of money from users. Also if you stiore original content on the cloud, you better read the user agreement carefully. There is a good chance that you give up your rights to your content or at the very least they maintain the right to go through your content for datamining purposes. My content will stay on my hard drive thanks. I may not have easy access any where I go but I am OK with that. Careful upfront planning takes care of that.

Mon, Aug 6, 2012 Bryan Denver

I agree that the cloud is dangerous. You put all your information in a virtualized server, then another company renting space on that server gets investigated by the FBI and the server is siezed, along with our data. You don't own your data, the provider did. Kiss it good-bye. Besides, all the money you save, you have to spend on bandwidth. What's the point?

Mon, Aug 6, 2012 BrianB Phoenix, AZ

I agree with Woz, not only from a legal standpoint, but from a user experience standpoint. Using SP2010 in an Intranet environment has been frought with problems created when changes are made to network infrastructure, security, firewalls, etc. The users are in for a ride when everything is in the cloud and connectivity is via 3rd party ISPs. It will be like the bad old days of telephony, with everyone sitting around pointing fingers at each other while the user no longer sees his SP shortcuts in his Windows favorites...

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