The Danger of Storing Your Stuff in the Cloud

The Danger of Storing Your Stuff in the Cloud

Big Tech tells us that we should all be saving all of our important documents to the cloud. It’s efficient, they say. It’s cheap, they say. Do not be fooled. Saving all your stuff to the cloud could lead to disaster. And I know a thing or two about making disastrous decisions. Heck, I went to law school. Now I’m a humor writer. See what I mean?

Big Tech tells us that we should all be saving all of our important documents to the cloud. It’s efficient, they say. It’s cheap, they say. Do not be fooled. Saving all your stuff to the cloud could lead to disaster. And I know a thing or two about making disastrous decisions. Heck, I went to law school. Now I’m a humor writer. See what I mean?

I consider myself a foremost expert on computers, technology, and cyber security – even if both my technophile children might laugh hysterically at that assessment. Compared to my cats, I’m a veritable Einstein.

In fact, over the years, countless people have turned to me for advice on a variety of topics – however, if I’m being honest, rarely on issues involving computers, technology or cyber security. Mostly it’s about “Taste this milk. Does it taste sour to you?” and related expiration date questions.

Admittedly, I was not one of the early tech adaptors. I still have my complete collection of 8-track tapes. I can’t figure out why I don’t have any friends on my My Space page. And I still text using complete sentences and proper punctuation – but in my defense, I mainly do that just to annoy my kids.

I have no idea what my point was. Oh, right. I’m not always on the cutting edge of the latest technology trends. But there comes a point when I feel a need to issue a clarion call of caution. I’m talking about the trend towards storing all our computer files, photos, videos and other important documents “in the cloud.”

Google, Microsoft, and just about every cellular carrier tell us to store everything in the cloud. It’s so convenient. For example, if you lose your phone, don’t worry. All your photos, contacts, even your calendar will be safely backed up in the cloud.

If you ask me, storing your stuff in the cloud doesn’t always work. I have tons of stuff I’d love to store there  because my garage is running out of space. Take my old clothes from my college days. My wife insists I give them away, complaining that all they do is take up closet space. But I just can’t part with my old outfits. Who knows when my old purple corduroy bell-bottom pants will come back in style – and I will lose the 35 pounds I gained since I last wore them in 1975?

I’ve learned that the cloud won’t accept any of my stuff. Not even my old Big Mouth Billy Bass singing fish I re-gifted to my wife for Christmas in 1999. (She would not speak to me for three days after that mistake.)

Despite hours and hours of trying, I can’t figure out a way to upload any of my old outfits to the cloud – not even my 1983 Members Only faux-leather jacket.

Despite hours and hours of trying, I can’t figure out a way to upload any of my old outfits to the cloud – not even my 1983 Members Only faux-leather jacket.

No, it turns out that the only stuff you can store in the cloud is digital stuff, like Word documents, excel spreadsheets, photos, and music, like my priceless collection of the Very Best of Engelbert Humperdinck. (It’s an acquired taste.) Everyday, millions of people upload important files to the cloud. But how can they be sure their files will be safe?

Think about it. Do you even know what’s in the cloud? I’ll tell you: Water vapor – specifically, tiny water droplets that form on tiny particles, like dust, that are floating in the air. Hell, your average cloud isn’t strong enough to hold a floppy disk, let alone 100 million terabyte files. They’ll all just fall right through – and eventually land back on planet earth, leaving a horrible environmental catastrophe. And who’s going to clean up all those corrupted files? Not me, fella.

Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that the cloud can somehow support all these gazillion files. The security is virtually non-existent. There are no heavy-metal doors with ten-digit security codes or thumb print recognition features required to gain access to your vault. In fact, there are no vaults of any kind. I recently took a Delta flight to New York. (The chicken parmesan dinner tasted like cardboard, but that’s a topic for a future column.)  Our 757 flew right through the clouds for almost an hour. I never saw a single layer of security in any of the cloud formations we passed by, not even the really puffy cumulus ones.

And clouds are often wet – especially when it rains. Think about the damage that could be inflicted on your priceless photos of your daughter’s middle school play (where she performed the starring role of the third pine tree from the right) if they got exposed to the cloud’s moisture. Even worse, what if the region where your files are stored in the cloud goes through a dry spell, with say, five days without rain – and no clouds? If the clouds evaporate, there go all your documents. Hope you won’t miss that hilarious video of your wife falling into the wedding cake that you posted to the cloud, now that the cloud is suddenly gone. Poof.

[Editor’s Note: Mr. Jones, I don’t think you understand how “the cloud” works. When they talk about the cloud, they are not talking literally about clouds in the sky. They’re referring to “cloud computing.” In this context, the cloud is simply the Internet—more specifically, all the things you can access remotely over the Internet. So, when something is “in the cloud.” It just means it’s stored on Internet servers instead of your computer’s hard drive.]

I also don’t get this fanatic Second Amendment demand to fight for the right to arm bears. For God’s sake, they don’t even have opposable thumbs. How will a bear fire an AK-47?

I also don’t get this fanatic Second Amendment demand to fight for the right to arm bears. For God’s sake, they don’t even have opposable thumbs. How will a bear fire an AK-47?

Um, oh, I see. Never mind. That was a lame topic anyway. What I really wanted to discuss is the Second Amendment. What is all the recent brouhaha about, anyway?

In a careful reading of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, I cannot think of any logical reason why the Founding Fathers felt it was important to enshrine the RIGHT TO ARM BEARS! I mean, seriously! Bears are dangerous enough as is, without granting them unfettered access to assault weapons. And without proper training on how to use a firearm, God only knows the havoc a crochety grizzly with a bad temper could wreak.

But when I bring this issue up, I usually get a deer in the headlights reaction. People look at me like I’m crazy. Let’s see who has the last laugh when they get mowed down in a hail of bullets from a pissed-off black bear toting an AR-15. Don’t say you weren’t warned, buddy.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021

Windows 10 Introduces Wide Array of Exciting New System Errors

Windows 10 Introduces Wide Array of Exciting New System Errors

Windows 10Microsoft is proud to introduce Windows 10, the latest version of our operating system for PCs and tablets. To help you get to know our new system better, here are answers to some questions you might have. 

Why is it called Windows 10 when your last operating system was Windows 8?

Lots of people have asked this question. Some folks think that that because Windows 8 was such an unpopular disaster we wanted to put a little numerical distance between it and our new system. But that’s not the case at all. In fact, we were working on a system that would have been called Windows 9, but unfortunately several of our engineers were killed during the beta testing, so we had to shelve it and start again from scratch.

Will Windows 10 fuck up my computer as fast as Windows 8 did?

Yes, indeed. Everything about our new operating system is faster and more powerful than the previous version, including its ability to render your PC or tablet completely unusable within seconds after you install it.

Does Windows 10 feature the Start button that was missing from Windows 8?

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The joy of buying a new computer

The joy of buying a new computer

joy of a new computer - frustrated manI recently bought a new laptop because my old one was having problems. From my purchase experience, I want to pass along the following helpful piece of advice: NEVER EVER BUY A NEW COMPUTER.

Limp along with your Apple Lisa for as long as you possibly can – because once you buy a new computer, your nightmares have just begun. The following is a 100% true retelling of my experience.

I chose to shop at one of the major Big Box retailers. I will change their actual name in this column so as to protect their identity. I walked into WORST BUY, and the salesperson Brad was quite helpful. He directed me to a perfectly adequate laptop. It had keys with letters and numbers in exactly the right locations. He told me that it had a 1.33 gigahertz dual processor with 2 GB of memory, 32 GB of storage, and a Windows 8.1 64-bit something or other. I had no idea what he was talking about, but it came in blue. I like blue. So I bought it.

Then I asked Brad if they could transfer all my data from my old computer to the new one – you know, email contacts, calendar appointments, embarrassing photos of my girls naked in the bathtub when they were two years old, saved so I could show them at their future weddings – you know, important files.

For the very reasonable fee of $150, they could transfer it all. So I said “sure.” Brad then passed me over to their tech team, the name of which, again, out of respect for their privacy, I will disguise. After only a 20-minute wait, I was greeted cheerfully by a member of their Greek Squad team named Nick, who was extremely helpful and said the job would be done overnight. So when they finished the overnight job four days later, I returned to WORST BUY to pick up my new computer. When I got home, I discovered just how helpful they had actually been, and by “helpful” I mean they had somehow managed to lose ALL OF MY DATA.

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Welcome to Windows 8

Welcome to Windows 8

[The following post was written by my longtime friend and fellow humorist, Steve Fisher. You can check out Steve’s humor blog at Fishful Thinking.]

Windows 8Hello and welcome to Windows 8, the new PC operating system from Microsoft. Now that you’ve successfully installed our new system – perhaps on the third or fourth attempt (sorry about that) – we’d like to give you a quick tour of its many amazing new features and applications.  Let’s get started, shall we?

As soon as you launch Windows 8 for the first time, one new thing you’ll notice right away is that your computer is now completely fucked up. Don’t worry. Shortly after we rolled it out several months ago, some minor technical glitches were discovered, which we quickly resolved in an update to all users.

Following that update – which unfortunately resulted in a number of aircraft dropping out of the sky and a partial collapse of the electrical grid in the northeastern U.S. – we issued a second update which resolved all of the issues caused by the first one. That is, with the exception of a repeated system crashing problem, which was subsequently resolved by our third update.

Since then, via a continuing series of further updates, we have successfully corrected nearly all of the remaining system issues. Thus you can now simply switch on your computer and enjoy the full benefits of Windows 8 without your PC bursting into flames (update 15), your hard disk melting (update 23), or your printer exploding (update 156). And, if you’ve managed to read this welcome message so far without experiencing an epileptic seizure caused by rapidly pulsating pixels on your monitor (update 259), then we’re very happy indeed.

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My love letter to my Internet Help Desk

My love letter to my Internet Help Desk

[Background: Last week, I spent 19 hours over five days dealing with the tech support call center from my Internet Service Provider (ISP) – all because I installed their software “security program” from one of their email offers, which mucked up my computer, making it completely inoperable.

Below is the actual enthusiastic letter of appreciation I sent to my ISP. Because I don’t wish to embarrass my ISP by name, I have chosen to alter the company’s actual name to protect its identity.

Everything written below is the 100% truth of my actual nightmare experience. Well, perhaps 90%. – tej]

Dear KOMKAST,

Can I just say, I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN! Your commitment to keeping your customers satisfied has never been more on display than over the past five days. In that time I’ve gotten to know  many of your tech support team members so well, they almost feel like family to me now. I am writing to tell you how grateful I am for everything that you have done to restore my faith in large bureaucratic, monopolistic utility companies for which their customers are merely numbers on an income statement spreadsheet.

My original  plan for last Saturday had been to go on a nice long day hike with my family. Little did I know that at precisely 9:07am that morning KOMKAST was going to radically change my agenda for the next five days. What an educational experience it was. Can I share it with you?

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