More on Life in the Cloud

By James Fallows

I mentioned yesterday that my wish for Santa was that he do the actual write-up on several tech items I keep meaning to get around to. Here is second-best: a reader who sends in a supplementary description of his "machine-independent" computing life, in which you can just stop thinking about which computer has the "real" copies of your files. The reader writes:

>>You may be interested to know that automatic sync to a personal cloud storage account is now built in at the OS level in Ubuntu.  It's actually cross platform, you can check it out at UbuntuOne.com.  You need the application to do the sync that's built into the Ubuntu OS, and since I'm an Ubuntu user I haven't tried it, but I think it's a very good sign that the sort of functionality you get using dropbox and sugarsync appears to be headed for operating system integration.

ubuntu.jpgBetween Ubuntuone, box.net and google docs I am also completely machine independent. You might also want to look at a device called Pogoplug.  It's essentially a NAS adapter with a built-in webserver, so it allows you to use off the shelf USB hard drives to set up your own personal cloud.  So I hung a few terrabytes of cheap storage on it and put it on a shelf in the dining room (the new version has a WiFi radio) and I keep my huge files (movies, music, photos, backups etc.) on it and can access them from any computer anywhere in the world even if all the computers in my house are turned off.  Pogoplug completes the toolbox to allow you to never have to think about which files are where.  The only hard part remaining is breaking the habit of just saving files locally.<<

I'm grateful for that -- and for the arrival of my children and their spouses, with whom I'll be spending the next few days (off-line). Merry Christmas to all.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/12/more-on-life-in-the-cloud/68491/