Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Cloud–you can’t really trust it!


Bike Route Toaster – is no more?

Life seems to stay the same and yet change at the same time. Sometimes those changes can be pretty radical – but we tend to spot them in hindsight. Look at the onslaught the High Street is struggling with. Some blame inability to get their cars into the centre “cheaply”, some blame the fact that there are too many cars whilst others “blame” the internet. (Although really it is what we can do on the Internet that counts – from payments to visualisation to tracking the parcel on its way.)

The reality is that times change, but we humans tend to live in the moment. Partly because much of the past isn’t that relevant to now.  When I was a kid we watched TV in Black and White, because that was how it was transmitted. The BBC only started broadcasting in Colour in 1997.

In 1998 around 10% of UK households had Internet Access, whereas 80% of households had it by 2012. These changes are both profound and yet mundane.  The Internet shopping of today is not that dissimilar to the Catalogue Shopping (Mail Order) of yesteryear. You can even by a book – Catalog: The Illustrated History of Mail Order Shopping from Amazon.

When it came to music, we used to have vinyl records, and yes I still have some, along with a record player – somewhere or other. Then along came tape recorders, cassette recorders, digital cassette recorders, video recorders, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray, Digital TV, Digital Radio, streaming, MP3… Newspapers have long be struggling with the digital age, books are now available digitally. The digital age for cameras (and smartphones) is well and truly with us.  I have a 35mm film camera which my son is borrowing it to take B&W pictures which he will process and develop himself, but I haven’t used it for over ten years.

The upshot is that we can do everything digitally and we can do lots more as a result but there will be a day of reckoning.  Having been involved with IT and the need to keep records and data accessible you tend to look for standards. That means standards for saving the data as well as being able to read it.

Take  down loaded music for example, what happens when you die is rather unclear. Technically you don’t own the stuff, you have a personal licence. Although apparently you can give an Amazon account to someone else

One of the issues to consider is how long you want you stuff to be readable.  Take pictures for example, I have pictures taken 50+ years ago that I still keep.  In my case some of the, more recent pictures are kept because they were taken when the kids were younger and perhaps the kids will want to show them to their kids in years to come.

The same is true of my pictures, I have taken far more, in the digital age than I ever took on film.  Partly because it is cheaper and partly because I want to take more. I buy more music nowadays, partly because I can listen to it conveniently and partly because my music tastes haven’t really evolved. 

As a result I buy CDs not downloads and then rip them onto my computer so they be streamed. I backup my pictures and music three times.

So what am I complaining about, well I have to apologies to readers of my Blog who found it useful to check out the ride routes on Bike Route Toaster – apparently it is no more. Google have moved the Maps API from v2 to v3 and as a result you don’t get so see any map data. Well that is a whole bunch of links in various posts that will now not work.  I guess you get what you pay for and I didn’t pay for Bike Route Toaster. The routing data is not critical to me and I I don’t know how many readers used it – but it is still irritating. I have over 200 routes plotted.

Now I don’t blame the author of Bike Route Toaster – she/he might be busy, doing other things or even no longer. It is a reminder though. You can’t really trust the Net with your stuff, unless you don’t care about that stuff that much.

Plenty of space for more disk drives

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