I spent last week in Texas, and when I returned got another lesson on why computing needs to go into the clouds.
I turned on my PC and it took over an hour for me to get to work. Software had to be updated, starting with my anti-viral. But there were also changes in the operating system to process, and a week's worth of e-mail had to be scanned as well.
That's a lot of wasted time. Less time than I'd waste cleaning up an infection -- I know this from experience -- but still a lot of time.
I suspect the overhead of constantly having to update is also unhealthy for my PC. I used a new, borrowed laptop while in Texas and it ran quite quickly. My desktop is just as good a piece of hardware, but runs much slower. And my year-old netbook is barely alive, thanks to all the protection loaded onto it.
Like most people I do all the recommended things. I defrag my drives, I clean out temp files, I'm on the lookout for spyware and I clean my registry. Maintenance costs time and money. It's also less than 100% reliable.
Over the last year I probably put more money into my PC than it would cost to buy a new one. I did this mainly because it would be such a hassle to move my programs and data onto another machine. The work of at least a weekend.
But getting it all into the clouds could be done overnight, while I'm asleep.
Becoming dependent on a mobile device is not going to improve things. A study at Rutgers concludes our iPhones may be even more vulnerable to rootkits and other malware than our PCs.
This is the real reason I believe computing is slowly moving into the cloud. Sure, clouds can be attacked, but clouds have professionals protecting them. It's an army of bad guys against an army of good guys. I'm just one guy.
I don't think switching to Linux is going to help much, either, although I'm happy to do it. The reason desktop Linux isn't of interest to bad guys is because there aren't enough targets.
Since Willie Sutton robbers have gone where the money was. Today money is in the data. Your data. I know Mark Twain's adage about putting all your eggs in one basket and watching that basket. It's one reason many users are reluctant to make the switch.
But your eggs aren't in one basket anyway. Much of your life is already on the Web, being cached and recached in 10,000 different places. I'm more popular online than I ever was in real life.
Another thing holding up the cloud is the poor state of U.S. broadband. The coming FCC broadband plan is unlikely to solve this, because the agency is unwilling to demand open access or wholesaling of phone and cable broadband links.
But even if our regulators are asleep, other countries are not. There are no technical hurdles to 100 Mbps broadband, while the U.S. is currently 15th on such measures as penetration and speed. I can get better service in soms parts of Romania, Lithuania and Latvia than anywhere in the U.S.
You want Wuhan, China getting to the clouds before you do? I don't.
Fact is, this is where the world is moving. I want to go there, too. Don't you?
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com