The Woz thinks the cloud computing trend will be "horrendous"

There's no doubt about it; more and more people and services are moving to the cloud for their computing needs. Cloud storage services such as Microsoft's SkyDrive, Google's Google Drive, Apple's iCloud and Dropbox are being used more and more. Cloud-based streaming services like Netflix and OnLive are gaining more customers.

Yet, we have seen cloud-based systems also experience failures that can leave customers without service for hours. The most recent example is an outage in Europe that shut down Microsoft's Windows Azure data servers for over two hours. There's also the question of who controls content that's uploaded to the cloud.

It's a trend that doesn't sit well with the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak. News.com reports that The Woz stated his views this week in a Q&A with audience members after a performance of Mike Daisey's one man show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs in Washington.

When asked about cloud computing, Wozniak stated, "I really worry about everything going to the cloud. I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years."

Wozniak seems to be most concerned about a person not being able to own digital content in this new cloud universe. He said, "With the cloud, you don't own anything. You already signed it away," He added, "The more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we're going to have control over it."

It's certainly a concern that others share. If all of a person's digital content is stored on a cloud server, companies that store it have access to that information. If that server fails or is shut down, a person may not have a way to get that content back. Just ask Kyle Goodwin, who has been trying in vain to get his legally uploaded high school sports videos back from the servers of the still shut down MegaUpload site.

Source: News.com

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I don't worry about my data on the cloud or who can access it - I use PogoPlug the personal cloud. Best of both worlds.

People need to learn the cloud is for INSENSITIVE and SYNCHRONIZED data only.
And always keep unaffected offline backups around, so when file a gets screwed up in the cloud (e.g. bitrot, who knows) you'll have a good copy to restore from.
Remember: sync != backup

Further than that, also keep your eyes on the TOS of the service you're using, if you sign property and/or extensive usage rights for the cloud operator or affiliates of your files [away], run and don't touch the service.

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,
People need to learn the cloud is for INSENSITIVE and SYNCHRONIZED data only.
And always keep unaffected offline backups around, so when file a gets screwed up in the cloud (e.g. bitrot, who knows) you'll have a good copy to restore from.
Remember: sync != backup

Further than that, also keep your eyes on the TOS of the service you're using, if you sign property and/or extensive usage rights for the cloud operator or affiliates of your files [away], run and don't touch the service.

GS:mac

I second that - there is a reason why Apple doesn't synchronise Keychain (funny the number of technologically ignorant people on Macrumors over the 'lack of the feature'). If people want to know I frequent 4chan.org, Reddit etc. then let them but I won't be held responsibility if they end up wanting to knock themselves off because of the shear boredom.

This guy is always so desperate for media attention! "Horrendous??" Come on...

Cloud software runs in one of 3 environments: public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud. He only understands public cloud systems like Flickr and argues that you give up the rights to data you put into the public cloud. Yes, that's true but the fact of the matter is, people upload their data to public cloud services like Flickr everyday and do not care. The benefits of using public cloud services in certain cases just outweigh any negatives. People are not uploading company internal source code to Google Drive and giving up rights to it. If they are, then they're just being idiots and that's a separate discussion.

You could think really hard and come up with a few extreme scenarios like the following:
Facebook goes bankrupt and no one buys them out. They refuse to let users download their personal images due to bandwidth costs and just shut down all their servers immediately

What's the likelihood of this Woz? Do you imagine a "horrendous" world where this happens to all the major social networks that I have data on? Yes, you could be a super pessimistic doomsday person, but you really have no historical evidence to support the "horrendous" future that keeps you up at night

agree %100
I've made TONS of comments around here for a while saying how stupid this Cloud crap is.
And it's nice to see I'm not the only one who thinks this..
Too many people are scared to say anything (rock the boat) i think ?
I can't remember seeing anyone say this around here *until now.
If you say nothing and do nothing, you get what you get and can't bitch..
Just like voting.

Smart man. The "cloud" is a complete joke.

Company doesn't use best security practices? There goes data for millions of people.
Power goes out? Service cuts out for dozens of companies costing EVERYONE involved time and money. Just look at the big Google cloud blackouts.

Yeah, no thanks.

I don't see what the big deal is. If your so paranoid about what company's do with your data simply encrypt it before storing it on their server.

DPyro said,
I don't see what the big deal is. If your so paranoid about what company's do with your data simply encrypt it before storing it on their server.

whats the big deal ?

oh i dunno how about if you store your data externally and say a server is taken down for legal reasons (like Megaupload) then sorry your sol and may never get it back.
Examples of this have been rampant..

And your view is obviously limited.
You say things precisely one way and assume that is the all encompassing fact
and strap on the horse blinders and lecture people with the smarten up speech..
I'd expect nothing less.. this is Neowin after all.

Who the **** cares what this dud thinks? He's just a guy who made something once, and decided he wanted nothing to do with the company that made it.

Nerds need to stop the circle jerk over him.

Nashy said,
Who the **** cares what this dud thinks? He's just a guy who made something once, and decided he wanted nothing to do with the company that made it.

Nerds need to stop the circle jerk over him.

Well you seemed to cared enough to respond.

warwagon said,

Well you seemed to cared enough to respond.

I don't care about what he thinks. I care about other people thinking he's gods gift to tech and everything that is tech.

OMG HE BOUGHT A NEW PHONE! NO WAI!
OMG HE'S GOING TO TRY WINDOWS 8! YESSSSSSS BUY WINDOWS 8!!!!

He's a fat computer nerd, who helped create something that built a company he was no longer involved with to nearly go bankrupt if not for the support of their biggest competitor. Lol. He's a dud.

Who in the tech industry has more creds than him? Gates? Balmer? who ever is running Oracle and IBM? There are not many more respected in Technology than Woz. Most tech journalists are just ****. I'd rather take the opinion of someone that bases his life on technology, than a person that bases his life, writing and pretending they know how technology works.

It's sad how many tech writers I see post up stories and know they get paid just to sound like they are only writing what a company is paying them to. You know, most the writers @ techCrunch.

The problem with this conversation is the understanding of Cloud computing and Cloud storage.

Cloud computing is even complex and ranges from web based authentication servers and services like Amazon provide to Microsoft Azure technologies that is a distributed OS technology based on NT.

People don't understand what all this means or does.

Microsoft's cloud computing technologies are also offering new paradigms that makes it even more complicated, as the features and functionality are expanding in ways many people don't understand.

Even today there are things that are possible with Microsoft Cloud technologies that seem out there, and even some of the more basic things are even 'wow' moments, like:
You can TODAY take a Windows 2008 R2 server, shove it into a VM without taking it offline, and then move it to running on a non location specific cloud with Microsoft, still not going offline, and then running on various server locations in the cloud transparently, yet appearing still as your local server doing what it was doing just minutes ago.

Using the VM technologies are a basic concept, and allows for server distribution, as it then can pull hardware resources as it needs from Microsoft Azure NT. Grabbing CPU time from servers in the pool in various location, adjusting it RAM usage and available RAM, storage space allocation, and on and on.

There is also App to cloud transition, and as a developer you can shove your application to run from the cloud instead of on the local devices, yet still be owned and controlled by the user. Getting access to more computing power than devices or PCs have as needed without having to do any special web based RIA development.

And this is the 'now' stuff, with possibilities that go on and on...

Then there is Cloud storage and synchronization and backup and a mechanism for universal access to your data through the Cloud or replicated on the Cloud as SkyDrive does.

Which brings up another big debate on what is secure and safe, and the only real thing people should be aware, Google is the only MAJOR company that admits to keeping your GDrive and other data 'HUMAN READABLE' and available to Google employees at any time.

Google is the only one that is worth noting should be avoided at all times.

There are issues with other less known and secure services out there as well, and you take a chance of your data being stolen or lost.

With cloud storage SkyDrive and Microsoft is the least risk and the highest security infrastructure. (Even Apple's solution is not as secure, even though they are using Microsoft for data storage, as Apple's authentication technologies are internal, and through Amazon, and have had been exploited in the past.)

Microsoft has a well designed security infrastructure to prevent expose, keeps your data encrypted from employees and itself and doesn't use your data for advertising or other purposes, as Google freely admits to doing.

Additionally, if their networks were compromised, hackers would get a pile of bits that would take about 12billion years to decrypt. Due to the multi-location of the authentication, queue and storage services and how the Microsoft Account and GUID keys work along with a generous amount of additional encryption.

remixedcat said,
So they want everyone going back to no clustering, fault tolerance, no dynamic scaling, no SANs and no VLANs????

Cloud systems incorporate all of that. In fact, a cloud server farm IS all of that.

GreyWolf said,

Cloud systems incorporate all of that. In fact, a cloud server farm IS all of that.

Wrong.

As far as big players are concered you are generally correct but too often I have inspected companies with "cloud" systems only to find as an example it had a 160gb boot drive and a spanned 2tb drive, with a VPN.

They called it a cloud service, I called it an accident waiting to happen.

Toysoldier said,

Wrong.

As far as big players are concered you are generally correct but too often I have inspected companies with "cloud" systems only to find as an example it had a 160gb boot drive and a spanned 2tb drive, with a VPN.

They called it a cloud service, I called it an accident waiting to happen.

Look at companies like inetu they have true clouds. They have a vmware certified cloud setup. Not overglorified VPS like rackspace.

So digital consumer protections are something self governing societies should consider?

It's certainly a concern that others share. If all of a person's digital content is stored on a cloud server, companies that store it have access to that information.

This statement is true of most companies, and especially Google. However there are companies, and even Microsoft that do not have direct access to content unless a machine pattern matching flags it for review.

Which makes Woz's point, and is the important aspect.

Store your crap using client side encryption on these services if you are backing up copyright material you own usage rights.

Because if you don't, then companies like Microsoft could be legally responsible for hosting your illegal content. Microsoft has no mission to 'police' your content, but legally they are remanded to take precautionary steps. (The laws needs to change, which means supporting the Democratic platform in the USA.)


For example Microsoft allows users to 'publicly' share their content with friends and everyone, this requires Microsoft to have their systems do pattern matching for illegally shared and illegal content.

Right now it only seems they run the pattern checking on 'shared' or 'public' content, so don't share stuff that only you have usage rights.

If ya want 'security' and cloud availability with localized 'backups', there are easy ways in Windows today. Disk Management, Create VHD, Mount It, and turn on NTFS Encryption. Then store confidential information in this Virtual HD mounted, and put it in your Sync'd Skydrive folder.

Even on a large file, SkyDrive is smart about only syncing the changes, so if you make a 1gb VHD, it is only sending the file changes, not the entire volume.

(You might want to dismount the VHD once in a while, to ensure SkyDrive gets the 'state' and permissions it needs to keep it Sync'd *Not sure how it handles an online volume file*)

This removes Microsoft liability, as the NTFS Encryption is something that is locked to your local GUID, meaning they can't pattern match or open it even if they want.

Understand NTFS Encryption though, it is not something that can be undone, and you should backup your key to a safe place. It is also not something you can Open on Linux or OS X, as VHDs have limited support, and even NTFS has limited support, and NTFS Encryption has virtually no support outside of Windows.

Yes NTFS is safe, and reliable, and so are VHD files. It is when you are dealing with FS drivers on Linux and OS X that NTFS seems dorky, as they do not support the majority of NTFS features and are known to corrupt volumes, and at the very least lose Windows journaling, metadata, and tracking data when mounted on non-Windows OSes.

I use SkyDrive for my school work and I always make sure I have copies elsewhere. I also don't send things to the cloud that I don't want to be there. It's common sense, really. So the cloud is great for what I use it for. No complaints here.

I'm using Skydrive alot, and will use it more and more. But no way I trust cloud computing, I use skydrive as one of my backups (My files are on my PC and I two backups of the same files on external diferent HDD's, and for the most important files I have them also on skydrive.

I can easily share files with skydrive, and some how I trust Microsoft. But I will always have backups and I never, ever sync them.

I personally don't like the idea of my data being stored online outside my sphere of control, any number of things could go wrong, if you want something done right, you do it yourself.

JaredFrost said,
I personally don't like the idea of my data being stored online outside my sphere of control, any number of things could go wrong, if you want something done right, you do it yourself.

You can have both you know... Even Skydrive promotes users to keep localized copies on at least one computer for additional backup.

You can also use encryption for sensitive data, that makes your data worthless.

It is all about balancing accessibility, security, and localized backups.

I could honestly care less what 'The Woz' says about anything anymore. All he did was help start Apple right? Why do people hang on this dude like he is the next Steve Jobs?

nicconics said,
I could honestly care less what 'The Woz' says about anything anymore. All he did was help start Apple right? Why do people hang on this dude like he is the next Steve Jobs?

So you do care what he says then.

nicconics said,
I could honestly care less what 'The Woz' says about anything anymore. All he did was help start Apple right? Why do people hang on this dude like he is the next Steve Jobs?

Really? Really? No disrespect to Steve Jobs, but to quote the man who played Bill Gates in the, "Epic Rap Battles of History: Bill Gates VS. Steve Jobs," "Well, Steve, you steal all the credit for work that other people do. Did your fat beard Wozniak write this rap for you too?"

nicconics said,
I could honestly care less what 'The Woz' says about anything anymore. All he did was help start Apple right? Why do people hang on this dude like he is the next Steve Jobs?

Ya cause one of the greatest engineering and technical minds in history with a Genius IQ would be an idiot on things involving computers. *sarcasm*

You people are too young and too f-in arrogant to even grasp how much you do not yet understand and how insanely stupid you sound.

Woz has forgot more crap on purpose than you will possibly ever know.


Look at my posts, I am NOT an Apple Fan. I am NOT a Jobs fan. I don't even like Ballmer, but have respect for Microsoft's work in many areas.

However, I DO respect brilliant people, and even if I don't agree with them, they deserve your freaking respect as well. Woz was and is brilliant, and your dismissal of him because he has said things you don't like is childish.

Especially when you are using a computer or device that WOULD NOT HAVE existed if it wasn't for the person your are ripping apart out of your own chosen ignorance.

Woz is an introvert, that doesn't make him irrelevant.

Woz understand computing and how people use computers; thus his creation of a personal computer that was consumer friendly back in the 1970s. Like Gates, he is brilliant and has a Genius level technical mind. (Jobs was a business guy that understood business, marketing, competition, and was a classic extrovert, he was never as smart or had the understanding Woz did of technology. Which is why Jobs worked to get Woz shoved out of Apple, because he didn't fall in line as Jobs demanded.)

I have a lot of respect for Woz just based on what he gave the past two generations and for his level of intellect. He also doesn't follow a religion in the computing world, which is an oddity considering his background, and a lot of people could learn more from him in his area. (Including myself at times.)


Back off Woz, seriously, you are out of your league and showing your youthful stupidity.

Toysoldier said,

Easy now children, thenetavenger does have a point.

True. and ive had enough of this site. For some reason its full of people that have to act like a total prick if you have an opinion or a comment that is different from theirs. Have fun.

nicconics said,

SO tell me please how he invented the machine I am currently using, and how he was so instamental in giving me my current notebook since the desktop was conceived WAY before that trash that 'The Woz' and Jobs invented, because as far as I can tell, IBM released a desktop in '81 and Apple the mac in '84. I was 22 at the time.

He had more to do with it than you realize, much like Henry Ford's influence on other motor cars.

nicconics said,

True. and ive had enough of this site. For some reason its full of people that have to act like a total prick if you have an opinion or a comment that is different from theirs. Have fun.


Glad to see it isn't just me that feels that way.

nicconics said,

True. and ive had enough of this site. For some reason its full of people that have to act like a total prick if you have an opinion or a comment that is different from theirs. Have fun.


all he did ?
jeez are we a tad ignorant ?
I know nothing about or apple but i know WOZ
was one of the first hackers on earth !
He was possible one of the 1 or 2 guys to do it.
Back then he helped develop what was called phreaking.
Google and go back to school son.

your aggressive snotty know it all attitude has made you like like an idiot kid lol

nicconics said,
True. and ive had enough of this site. For some reason its full of people that have to act like a total prick if you have an opinion or a comment that is different from theirs. Have fun.

Mate, if you're going to come on this website beating your chest with bravado then you better well able to back up what you say with at least some sort of reasoned coherent argument. Oh and side note, will it kill you to properly use the English language - if you have no interest then why are you claiming that 'I could honestly care less' so that means you DO actually care what Woz has to say.

There are advantages and disadvantages. For a lot of services, not having to manage servers and having a larger company manage things is a big plus.

chAos972 said,
There are advantages and disadvantages. For a lot of services, not having to manage servers and having a larger company manage things is a big plus.

Well no not really. MS is pretty big yet azure was down not too long ago? Not to mention the biggest company will be doing things as cheaply as possible, so they'll be scrimping on security and chances are (like with shared hosting/servers), if one server is hacked, then every single server will be under their control.
Cloud servers are the worst idea ever in terms of security.

n_K said,

Well no not really. MS is pretty big yet azure was down not too long ago? Not to mention the biggest company will be doing things as cheaply as possible, so they'll be scrimping on security and chances are (like with shared hosting/servers), if one server is hacked, then every single server will be under their control.
Cloud servers are the worst idea ever in terms of security.

it went down because of a security protocol tho.
and MS is keen on making people think its secure as fort knox, so doubt they'll be skipping features or measures.

n_K said,

Cloud servers are the worst idea ever in terms of security.

I generally agree with your points, but I think it's worth noting that I was using Mozy.com to backup my data (when it was unlimited data for $55 a year) and I was able to use my own 256bit key on my data. This allowed me to store my data on their server without the worry (mostly) that they could not snoop through my data. This is one item that needs to be available on cloud based solutions.

James Rose said,

I generally agree with your points, but I think it's worth noting that I was using Mozy.com to backup my data (when it was unlimited data for $55 a year) and I was able to use my own 256bit key on my data. This allowed me to store my data on their server without the worry (mostly) that they could not snoop through my data. This is one item that needs to be available on cloud based solutions.


Problem with that though is if you get griefers or just general data corruption (you've no idea how your data is stored/mirrored). ONE BIT of the data being altered means the entire backup is useless

In the ideal world, where every company is ethical and hackers don't exist, the cloud is how it would be.

However in the real world, there are clever hackers who want to steal our data and companies who we can't trust to keep our data private. I can totally see why Woz is not keen on the cloud!

Chicane-UK said,
In the ideal world, where every company is ethical and hackers don't exist, the cloud is how it would be.

However in the real world, there are clever hackers who want to steal our data and companies who we can't trust to keep our data private. I can totally see why Woz is not keen on the cloud!


quite sure if those hackers can break through MS's security, they'll be able to access any device you own.

Chicane-UK said,
In the ideal world, where every company is ethical and hackers don't exist, the cloud is how it would be.

However in the real world, there are clever hackers who want to steal our data and companies who we can't trust to keep our data private. I can totally see why Woz is not keen on the cloud!


Completely agree with this comment. If people think Sony's PSN break-in (and subsequent hacking of many gaming sites) was bad, wait until one of these cloud services gets hit...

I'll never upload anything of importance to the cloud and would recommend nobody else does either, regardless of how "secure" companies claim it to be. The number of attacks on major companies in the last few years has been horrendous and have proved these companies incapable of even basic security practices.

Cloud computing is technological socialism... I want my data on my hard drive.. it matters where it is stored...don't want an OS that blurs the lines of where something is and simply showing me that it is...

rhianntp said,
Cloud computing is technological socialism... I want my data on my hard drive.. it matters where it is stored...don't want an OS that blurs the lines of where something is and simply showing me that it is...

Is that going away? I didn't think so.

What on earth can it possibly have to do with socialism . . .? It seems more like you don't like socialism or whatever your idea of it is (fair enough, we could debate whether or not socialism in whatever form is a good thing or not) so you're using it to describe something else you also think is bad.

Cloud computing has the potential to be scary in almost any political/economic framework to be honest. In capitalism where private companies and governments get too much power over your information - particularly in monopoly cases, or in a socialist state that might well restrict private businesses better but could abuse it to no ends for the people in power.

Your files are my files and you can't have access to my files, therefore they are not your files. A company/corporation can effectively lock you out from accessing your files for ANY reason they want and they do NOT have to ask for a warrant if police and snooping through your wedding pictures.

chAos972 said,

Is that going away? I didn't think so.

Whether it's going away or not, I have absolutely NO use for any cloud crap!! Cloud uploading, cloud updating, cripe, it's like I'm in the 70's again where everyone's head was in the cloud! At least that was enjoyable!!

I agree! and I hate the word cloud. Its Management BS for the word Server. Its been around for years before the word cloud made it popular.

ChuckFinley said,
I agree! and I hate the word cloud. Its Management BS for the word Server. Its been around for years before the word cloud made it popular.

The term Cloud has also been around as long as the word Server too. The Cloud is anything outside of your network. So when you diagram the Internet, you use the Cloud to represent it because you don't know the network topology used outside of our servers.

ChuckFinley said,
I agree! and I hate the word cloud. Its Management BS for the word Server. Its been around for years before the word cloud made it popular.

Dumb terminals and mainframes. 80s are coming back.

ChuckFinley said,
I agree! and I hate the word cloud. Its Management BS for the word Server. Its been around for years before the word cloud made it popular.

Server's can be within your network as well. A word needs to exist to identify servers outside of your network, and that word might as well be "cloud"...

Phouchg said,
Dumb terminals and mainframes. 80s are coming back.

Of course but instead of a modem you have a broadband connection and instead of an embedded stripped down OS to bootstrap up you have a web browser and maybe a local application that talks to the server. Funny how things go in circles - with Microsoft first heralding the breaking up of centralised computing only to turn around and raise up the very edifice that Bill Gates sort to destroy.