has always liked the thought of having all your data on your desktop, or
laptop. As apposed to the server based applications. In the weblog
aggregator world it is tools like Radio Userland compared to Bloglines,
and Blogger where the data is stored on the server.
Today he mentioned a post by
Paolo that talks about the potential problems of regular folks
(users) having all this data on a local machine and what happens to it
when something goes wrong and it’s all lost.
“I think that one of the main issues with Radio UserLand is that
ultimately the user has to manage an ever growing database on his
computer. While advanced users know how to deal with little problems, do
backups and know that databases (and hard disks) tend to get corrupted,
break or get lost, regular users don’t and they often end up loosing
I’m a happy Radio Userland user and I feel for the users that regularly
post to the discussion group asking about how they can get their data
back after a disk crash, or a laptop is stolen. There is one thread
going on there right now. If they were savvy enough to turn on the
switches to enable backups to the server then they might be able to copy
all those files and get back up and running. If they didn’t have
backups turned on, or somehow they got turned off at some point (seems
that happened to me when at some point. I recently checked for my
backups and saw that somehow they stopped a year ago) they are generally
out of luck.
I’ve talked about this before in regards to MP3 players and other small,
large capacity storage devices. I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t want
to be a data center manager. The more data that I can keep under the
hopefully watchful eye of a real data center that will journal, and
backup, and RAID and whatever it takes to protect all my data for me the
better. Soon we will have the capability to store Tera bytes of data in
a device that will fit in our pocket. I just wonder if that’s what I’m
really striving for.
Another aspect of this has to do with Dave’s comment about having all
your data with you on your laptop.
“And sometimes you go somewhere where there’s no wide-area Internet,
like on an airplane. This is why people who travel a lot, like Scoble,
like to have all the data on their laptop, available to them whenever
they want it.”
It’s kind of funny that having data available whenever and wherever I
want is the reason I personally like having my data on a server somewhere.
I’m one of those people that doesn’t carry around a laptop, but instead
find myself at different locations on desktop machines wanting to access
my data. I’m at my PC at work and want to get to stuff that is at home
and visa versa. I’m traveling somewhere and want to post to my weblog,
or check on my RSS subscriptions. Things like Bloglines and Blogger let
me check on things anywhere I can get access to a web browser with an
Internet connection. With Radio Userland running on my machine at home
I’m constantly running into problems being able to access my data
remotely. At work the firewalls keep me from accessing my machine
remotely. And when I can get access I have to go through some hoops to
be able to figure out what IP address my cable modem gave my router the
last time it’s lease expired.
I have the same firewall problem with OPML that prevents me from being
able to use the automatic root update process. This prevents me from
using all the cool new stuff unless I go home and do the root updates
and then bring those updated roots to work. This really sucks when Dave
releases a cool new feature like River of News and I can’t try it
because I can’t do the root update to get the new stuff.
After helping my friend go through the process of reinstalling his OS
after a disk crash recently, I was actually relieved that he was an AOL
user as all his AOL “stuff” came back without me having to do anything.
I think that there is a real market for products, devices, services that
will take care of data for me so when my PC, iPod, laptop, hard drive
etc dies I can just get a new one and all my “stuff” will still be “out
there”. Either that or there is a real market for tools that make
managing the little data center in my PC/iPod etc much easier than it is
today. I don’t know if that is RAID or disk mirroring, or nightly disk
imaging, .Mac or what but personally I think that right now it is way
too complicated and requires that I be a part time Data Center manager
trying to keep track of the data on my PC and the PC’s of my daughters.