Suddenly the marketing departments of Microsoft and other tech giants are all about "the cloud" or "clouds," the practice of storing large files online and streaming them rather than everyone storing them locally on their hard drives. Do you think this is a good idea, a bad idea or both?
Extra Credit: Do you still buy CDs and DVDs?
A few years ago, my laptop started sending me warnings that the hard drive was going to crash. It was imminent. I pulled my school assignments off to a thumb drive and my iTunes were backed up on an external drive. But I had all those pictures in Picasa. I didn't want them mixed up with iTunes and there wasn't room on the little drive with my stuff for school. So I uploaded them to my web account.
Worked like a charm. Such that this past weekend, when I bought the new laptop, I did the same thing. And now I am wondering if I should bother to download those files again.
I have enjoyed streaming video from Academic Earth and from hulu.com. But it is sort of like books. There are things I borrow and things that I buy. I still buy DVDs (though not nearly as many as in the past). I still have a half-full DVR of things I am not watching. I haven't tried Netflix yet because I don't want to add another monthly expense.
Music is a bit of a different story. Generally, if there is a song that I want, I will download it. But if I want the entire album, I go with the CD. The only exception was The National, whose CD was twice as expensive as the download. So apparently, I have a tipping point somewhere. But again, once it is "mine", I back it up on an external drive.
Overall, I still think of online more as a place of "sharing" rather than "owning". So maybe I am just wading into the clouds. But I certainly don't have enough experience to judge.