Shop Talk: The Cloud Part 2

By David Mumpower

May 31, 2012

Even the sky loves Apple.

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Upgrading your physical media library to cloud servers is a scary process, particularly if you're over the age of 25. People younger than that are indoctrinated due to the ubiquity of similar MP3 services during the past decade. Those of us who are a bit older remember a time when there were only CDs and maybe even *gasp* cassette tapes and albums. Pulling the plug on physical ownership is an unnatural state to we who remember the time before the internet was ubiquitous.

Keeping this in mind, I will primarily be directing this column toward people who are comfortable with the cloud. If you are intransigent about giving up physical media, I am probably not going to say anything that fundamentally alters your point of view here. Even so, I hope that you will at least consider some of the concepts and find some utility in the discussion. If not, look out for the inevitable comet strike, Mr. Dinosaur.

I should preface this conversation by stating that when iTunes went live for the first time in 2001, I spent that day in wonderment, albeit in a manner nobody else understood. I confidently informed several friends that their world changed that day but that they would not recognize it for a while yet. In hindsight, the timeframe was probably five years or so before others came to understand my point of view.


Even so, I put my money where my mouth was by purchasing a first generation iPod that I still have in a closet somewhere. The battery eventually failed on it, but I kept it for the same reason I still have my Atari 2600. The original iPod is representative of a concept: digital media is Steve Jobs’ exploration of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I owned over 600 compact discs at one point. My first generation iPod could hold 5 GB of music, without requiring a dozen banker’s boxes worth of storage. Even better, I had one click access to said content without having to rummage around to find the right disc and put it in the player. In only a decade since the release of the iPod, this entire process for physical media has become archaic. Quick file access has redefined media content.

As I relay my experiences with movies in the cloud, the above aptly reflects my point of view about physical media. I see no valid applications for it in 2012. This is the key reason why my wife and I readily agreed to move to the cloud. Once a person finds himself in position to give away thousands of dollars of smoke-damaged media to Goodwill, they appreciate how much more manageable server storage is. I understand why some of you may be reticent to do so, though.

The primary concern is that if a consumer does begin to populate an online media library through a particular service, they have no protection if said service abruptly ends. I have in fact experienced this once, albeit to a minimal degree. Wal-Mart once implemented an ill-considered music service in order to compete with the major digital players in the industry. Since their prices were better and there were several free giveaways during the short run of Wal-Mart’s music service, I purchased roughly 25 songs from them.

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