The Blog Where We Keep You Posted
a person's attempt to make sense of his surroundings

COM125 Blog Post #8: Tools for a Useful Life

I realize that there are many applications and tools available for use for the average person to enjoy a more productive life. But recently, there has been a trend rising in many of these applications: Synchronicity.

Apple is at the forefront of this, with its newly released iCloud.

With iCloud, the user can store pictures, videos and music, and the cloud service automatically pushes them to all the user’s supported products. For example, I downloaded the game application Angry Birds on my computer, and my mobile iPhone rang to notify me that it was downloading Angry Birds as well.

I can even edit a draft on my smartphone and save it into the cloud service when I’m outside, and I can go home to put the finishing touches and publish it from my desktop.

The online game client Steam allows users to synchronize data such as keyboard, mouse and controller settings, or player data, allowing for those data to be accessed on different computers as long as the user logs into his or her own Steam account. Previously, all these data were stored locally.

I feel that synchronicity in our applications removes a large amount of duplicate work; I don’t have fill out my contact list on both my smartphone and computer when any updates from one will be automatically applied to the other.

Certain drawbacks, however, become apparent when using the cloud service. What happens when we, for some reason, get locked out of the service? For example, if my iPhone was stolen and my user information compromised, my corresponding data stored on my computer would be compromised as well.

Secondly, the end-user can be put into a position whereby he is at the mercy of the cloud service. Since cloud services require the use of an Internet connection to synchronize data between its cloud servers and the user’s devices, if by any chance the user is unable to connect to the Internet, the data would be unavailable as well.

Thus, with the advent of convenience in synchronicity, we must also take care not to put all our eggs into one cloud. Thus, users should exercise caution with cloud services and take adequate steps to ensure personal safety, such as protecting passwords and backing data up locally.

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