Cloud Computing Is Everything The Personal Computer Was Created To Get Around
The internet says “Information Wants To Be Free.” Which Is Why The PC Was Invented In The First Place
Photo by Daniel Páscoa on Unsplash
Once upon a time, there was a mean old ogre called Big Data, or BD for short. This mean ogre lived in a special valley and owned everybody’s information and charged people to actually use their own data! Bad, bad BD!
They could get away with this because personal computers–or PCs–didn’t exist! So people had no choice. They had to keep giving their money to BD in order to simply have a place to keep their own information!
As you might expect, the people who lived in the valley with the ogre soon grew tired of paying tribute to BD and looked at alternatives. After a great deal of thought, they decided that what gave BD his power was his Huge, Monstrous, Gigantic COMPUTER!
“Listen,” they said. “What if we had a computer? And not just another H.H.G.C., no no no! But one small enough that we could each own one!¹”
So the people got to work. This was probably the biggest convocation of nerds and geeks before or since. Engineers, computer programmers, electronic technicians, dreamers–you name it, they were all involved.
Anyway, their efforts led to the invention of the personal computer. Or rather, personal computers. But that’s a story for a different day.
The Return Of Big Data
Over time, as the PC became a standard tool in corporate offices all over the world, and as it evolved into forms the original inventors could only dream of, a change came over it. The original makers evolved–some would say “devolved”–and started thinking to themselves,² “You know what would be cool–and make us even more fabulously richer than we already are? Let’s stop selling software! Instead, since we’re only selling them a license to use the software, why don’t we put the software on our mainframe and charge our customers to use it annually? We’ll still be making money, and we’ll cut out the expense of CDs, DVDs, printed manuals, etc. We’ll make a killing!”
Thus it was that in the far-off city of Redmond, Washington, Big Data was reborn. Under the new scheme, you would still own your own data, and it even still resided there on your local machine, but the tools you needed to use it were back in the hands of BD.
And that, boys and girls, is how the very people who liberated you from the clutches of the Big Data ogre (BDO) becomes themselves, locking your data away unless you paid them money.³
¹This was their conversation, recorded word for word. I know, because I was hiding behind the sofa while they were talking.
²Same thing here. This time I was hiding in the luggage compartment of a corporate jet.
³ This is an oversimplification of the philosophy behind the development and evolution of the modern personal computer. For more juicy details, I recommend “Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer (Second Edition).” DISCLAIMER: This link takes you to Amazon which sells the book. I receive no financial benefit from it, so I don’t care whether you buy it or not. Maybe your local library has a copy. Mine doesn’t, even though I live in Rochester, NY, home of some rather interesting technology itself: Eastman Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, Xerox among them.