Sunday, June 19, 2011


The "cloud" is the newest catch phrase. The cloud is everything you need. It has all your movies, all your music, and it's yours (sort of).

"Give me everything you own or, um, at least have paid for, all your entertainment content," the Cloud whispers to us, "and I'll give it back to you whenever and wherever you want. I'm your perfect girlfriend. My legs are always open. Finally you can watch porn in church, listen to Hip-hop at work, re-visit your favorite horror movie while being sodomized by the TSA, mmm latexy."

How can I resist?

2 reasons:

1. I downloaded a whole bunch of music from Walmat. Silly me, I got them in the Windows format (.wmv). One day though, a nasty little PC-blurp gave me some problems and I lost a lot of content. Oh, I still had the music. It was on my mp3 player and on a hard drive, but the licenses wouldn't let me transfer them. They'd been corrupted. I went back to Walmart in desperation to see if they'd let me re-download. After all, I'd paid for them, and some of them not that long ago. Surprise! Some them DID let me re-download, but only the mp3s. Walmart had stopped carrying all wmv formats though, so if I wanted them, I'd have to pay for them again.

They'd pulled a switch-a-roo and wanted to soak me for the same money as before.

Some of this music I had on vinyls, then re-bought on CDs, and having lost the CDs, now decided to buy "online".

Question: How many times do I have to pay for the same song?

Question: If I had a record, tape cassette or CD, couldn't I put it on this PC, then put it on that PC, then that mp3 player without problem?

What did I do? you ask (if not, I'll wait for you to ask, and if you don't, I'll come to your house, erase all of your DRM licenses and put a baby alligator in your toilet bowl). What did I do? I got a torrent and stole them. Why? Because I was pissed off at having to buy the same music again that I'd bought a month before.

Now, if I'd broken the CD or lost it, I'd have to re-buy it, right? So isn't this just like that?

No, and here's why. If I lost or cracked my CD, that's my own damn fault. I have all the protection, the anti-virus, the spybot, the backups, but through no fault of my own, things happen with PCs, Microsoft, etc.

A more apt analysis would be if I sold you a CD, then a friend of mine snuck into your house and laid it out in the Sun on your window sill creating a lovely, decoratively warped coaster that would no longer even fit in a CD player, much less play, then I showed up again the next day wanting to sell you another CD with the same music. How many times do you think I could pull this off?

2. It's a cheat. You never really own anything anymore, do you? You own a ticket to come into their store and listen to your music. Granted, their store can be wherever you want to be, but it's still their store. They don't have to worry about building better, more powerful hard drives or smart phones. They only have to worry about creating better, more ubiquitous broadband. But what happens when their system goes down? What happens when they decide you should pay to be in their store to listen to your music? They could, you know? They could change the rules however they like, and you wouldn't have a single hard copy of a single thing in your library, because your library belongs to them.

The cloud is ultra-convenient. It doesn't require anything but for you to have a device and a decent internet connection. You don't have to haul DVDs and CDs around. You will go for it, because of the convenience. We both know you will. I might, too. But it's a ghost in the making, a haunt we can all see as we're nodding with smiling, drooling enthusiasm as we kiss the real estate agent's gloss right off her lips and give her a fat commission.

The cloud is also an amazing database of your likes and interests, so they can do a better, more efficient job of selling you more stuff.

I can't wait for the cloud to come to the clothing stores. I'll call ahead and have the department store deliver to me a jacket and a nice pair of sneakers, but at end of the day, they'll be waiting outside my front door with two bruisers holding aluminum baseball bats, wanting their clothes back. After all, we're not a buy culture anymore, we're a rent culture.

What do you own?

Your house? No. Your bank owns your house until you pay off your mortgage. I'll let you stop laughing or crying about how long that's going to take. But if you're in the lucky .0000000001 % of people who have paid off their mortgage, then your house belongs to the state. Try not paying your property taxes for a year or so and you'll find out really quick who your house really belongs to.

What about your car? Bank again, unless it's paid off. I suppose even if you didn't pay for your license and registration or your driver's license or state mandated auto-insurance, you could still keep ownership of your car. You just couldn't drive it on public roads.

Your pets! Ah, you own your pets. Whew. Wait . . . does the cloud take pets?

read the damn comic.

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