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The Cloud

Spotify. Pandora. Rdio. Beats.
Netflix. Amazon instant video. Hulu. HBO GO. WatchESPN.
Dropbox’s camera upload. Flickr auto-upload.
Podcast downloads.

As the world races towards The Cloud™ with open arms, music and movies are more often hosted there. Instead of having a song live on the device I want to hear it come out of, it’s on a server somewhere.

Streamed to me live and on-demand. Except when it’s not.

Servers go down. I ride an underground metro the entire way to work and back. Commutes and lack of connectivity gave rise to Instapaper and local media. Even in those dark days before the internet and mobile phones with the ability to reach across the world for a song or book. These are places where I can’t stream media to my device.

But they’re not the biggest deterrent to The Cloud™. Not for me. There is a bigger problem with moving everything to a distance server.

I have a 3 GB data plan.

That is the single biggest deterrent to using streaming services. If I streamed, I would hit my limit in the first few days of each month. Then I’d have to pay $10 per extra 1 GB of data after that.

Something I know well, because I had a 2 GB plan until I realized it was only $5 more per month to up it to 3GB and with all the travel I’ve done lately, I was consistently going over my 2 GB allotment.

I look at Dropbox wanting to save all of my photos and that’s a wonderful idea. Only I can’t use it until I get home to the plentiful bits provided by my WiFi.

The same goes for Flickr’s auto-upload. I’d love to be able to send every photo to the service and use the generous 1 TB of space I have there. But I can’t because it would kill my data allowance.

I’d love to watch the World Cup, stream Netflix or even enjoy one of the many music services. But I don’t even bother signing up to any of them. I have Netflix and ESPN apps on my devices at home. But never on my phone.

Beats looks interesting. I’ve never used it. Rdio looks neat. I don’t have an account. I have Spotify and Pandora accounts but I rarely use them. And when I do, it’s a Spotify link on Tumblr I want to listen to as I browse my dashboard from my laptop.

As the future moves into The Cloud™ and away from putting files on devices, I’m watching from afar and enjoying my local media. As I will continue to do until data becomes less expensive than printer ink! (I’m kidding. Nothing is more expensive than printer ink.) The capabilities of what we can do using the internet are astounding and moving forward very quickly. Unfortunately, the access to those services are being charged at a premium for mobile devices.

Home broadband is neither inexpensive not ubiquitous either. But it’s still far ahead of what I can do from my phone. Unless I want to keep paying. And paying. And paying.

Published inObservations