Burriss: Cloud a big step backwards?

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There's a saying we've heard quite a bit, "What goes around comes around," and it's related to another cliché, "There is nothing new under the sun."

How many of you remember your first contact with computers in the late 1960s and early 1970s? You didn't have direct access to what was then called the "mainframe." Instead, you took a card deck with all of your data to the computer center, gave it to a technician, and he, it was always "he," would take it to a back room. In a few hours you would return to the computer center and pick up your output.

But, if you had made a mistake, you had to redo the offending cards, take the entire deck back to the computer center, and start the process all over again.

A few years later we progressed to what were called "dumb terminals," but we still had to access the mainframe, because that was where all of the software was. Even when we got our own personal computers, most of the programs we used were located somewhere else.

Then, with cries of joy and tears of relief, we installed all of those programs on our own computers, and unhitched ourselves from the tyranny of acolytes who still hid in basement rooms tending the all-powerful mainframe.
But now look at what so many people are doing. They are going to the so-called "cloud," which has all of the software they need, plus, and here is the scary part, all of their own data and information.

So let me see if I understand this: all of our programs and all of our data are supposed to be on a corporate computer somewhere, totally out of our control. But isn't that what we used to call the "mainframe," and isn't that what we spent so much time and effort to free ourselves from?

Now, maybe I'm missing something here, and I certainly don't want to seem like a Luddite, but this sure looks like a giant step backwards.

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Larry Burriss
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