Too Big To GFail?: Why Cloud Computing Should be Given a Second Opinion

When sites go down, people start freaking out…and for good reason.

GFail

GFail

Some time around 4-ish today while I, along with millions of others around the world, battled the dreaded 5 o’clock deadline,  a terrible thing happened. Gmail crashed. For some, it may have happened earlier in the day, but for me it happened during crunch time — the time I had to buckle down to beat my deadline. And did that happen? No. Because even though everyone with POP, IMAP, or iPhone email integration was fine, many businesses’ secure, “https” Gmail accounts were not. Thanks Google.

Although these occurrences are rare for the Silicon Valley giant, our reliance on Google gets to be very scary when companies are forced to fly blind because of third party outages. Sure, companies have their own servers where information can be stored, but Google Docs is used by many 9 to 5ers to get projects done more efficiently, and not being able to access these documents puts these projects on hold until the disruption can be remedied (in my case it took about one hour).

This is what scares me about cloud computing and relying on third parties such as Amazon and Google to house all of our precious information. This may just be a knee-jerk reaction to the situation at hand, but it’s times like these when IT professionals need to consider making it mandatory for people to back up their files (even the ones on Google Docs).

Google should also consider finding a way to back up its system by using some sort of special, secure, open API whereby professionals  who use “https” can access their Gmail when something like this happens in the future.

So what’s your opinion on this? Does your company or University rely heavily on Gmail? Where were you when the world (wide web) stood still?

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Cookies are for Eating and Deleting

Respawned Cookies Want To Eat Your Brains!

Respawned Cookies Want To Eat Your Brains!

Earlier this evening on Wired Magazine’s tech business blog Epicenter Ryan Singel reported that the cookies that we delete after a day’s worth of computing and site hopping actually don’t get eaten up and digested the way we thought they did. Apparently, like the human body, a whole lot of crap is left behind because of something called Flash Cookies. When you delete your cookies they become reinstated as something else; as digital zombies bent on devouring your computer’s brain. Mmmm, RAM!

About 98% of computers have Flash downloaded on them to watch reruns of Family Guy or to share the latest YouTube sensation with coworkers, so it looks like no one can escape.

It seems like this is a result of how the majority of  money is made off of the Internet; from ad revenue. Marketers want to know what you’re up to, and without cookies they’re just Mad Hungry fat kids with empty stomachs.

Flash Cookies, like all cookies, make your computer run faster, but if I click “delete all” I want that shit deleted!

If you want your shit deleted too please use these before the zombies overtake you:

http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/526/52697ee8.html

Users who want to control or investigate Flash cookies have several options, according to reader Brian Carpenter:

Windows:
* Better Privacy extension for Firefox –
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6623

* Ccleaner – http://www.ccleaner.com/

Mac OS X:
http://machacks.tv/2009/01/27/flushapp-flash-cookie-removal-tool-for-os-x/

Where to find these flash cookies:
* Windows: LSO files are stored typically with a “.SOL” extension, within each user’s Application Data directory, under Macromedia\FlashPlayer\#SharedObjects.
* Mac OS X: For Web sites, ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/FlashPlayer. For AIR Applications, ~/Library/Preferences/[package name (ID)of your app] and ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/FlashPlayer/macromedia.com/Support/flashplayer/sys
* GNU-Linux: ~/.macromedia

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