Why "the cloud" sucks
by Doc Searls Friday, November 3, 2017

The problem with "cloud" isn't its meaning, which is roughly "where offsite storage and computing happens." The problem is that the tech industry uses "cloud" to blur where stuff actually is and where it is happening. It's a sleight-of-noun trick that causes far more harm than good. It bloats cognitive overhead, wastes time and forecloses countless opportunities.

Let's start with time. Exhibit A: Apple's iCloud.

It isn't just that Apple has blurred what the hell iCloud is and what it's for, but that the company has a fully annoying way of putting stuff in iCloud that used to be on one's device or devices. It does this on the incorrect assumption that it is unhelpful for the individual to know where computing takes place and files get stored.

After Apple did that to me during an iOS upgrade to my phone last month, I spent hours talking to AppleCare, trying to figure out what the fuck happened and how to fix it. Never mind why, because the damage was already done. The main problem was trying to figure out how to get the music back on my phone, so I could listen again when I go offline, which I do a lot. For example, in subways, on boats, on planes, in countries where cloud use is spinctered, or driving around the middle of Wyoming.

Apple has also done its ironic best to both popularize podcasting and to make listening to podcasts as hard as possible. The worst thing it has done, of course, is locate podcasts in iCloud, while making it nearly impossible to figure out where the hell one's podcasts are. 

All this blurring also masks loss of autonomy and agency, and increased dependency on what amount to feudal overlords. It's getting to the point where, if you're not a hacker with a full suite of tools and skills for remaining independent in the connected world, you are in a state of at least partial slavery.

I'd write more, but I gotta go deal with shit before I fly again to elsewhere. Hopefully I'll be able to listen to music and podcasts along the way.