When the cloud fails

As much as I enjoy open access to my data and content of interest there have actually been a few recent circumstances where the cloud could simply not deliver. For the average person living in a well connected market with limited travel needs, streaming your data works great. What I’ve encountered though has made me consider a more aggressive local plan as well.

I just got back from vacation on the Adirondacks where connectivity is poor at best. During the drive up we lost connectivity briefly and then on arrival to our rental home, found ourselves on edge… And slow edge as well. The rental home has satellite connectivity from a company called Wild Blue so there was WiFi in the house but the inbound speed was mainly slower than the edge connection as well. Having such a slow connection requires you to make decisions about what you might want to do online as everything takes time which we essentially take for granted living the land of high speed broadband and 4G.

Using AppleTV for streaming Netflix … Not an option. Spotify … Not so much. Even downloading or trying to steam podcasts was a tricky or delayed affair. For the most part the lack of connectivity wasn’t horrible … In fact forcing the change can be quite nice. There are definitely times though when the connection posed an issue… Driving in the car lately I’ve been enjoying Waze. The realtime map data is awesome and quite helpful. When your connection drops however the app can not only be unreliable but the lost connection can actually make navigation impossible. Google Maps allows for pre-loading the area you want but without any real speed in your connection that’s also quite a challenge.

If you follow me on any of the social services you know I share a lot. At this point sharing is habitual and just part of my information flow. When your connection barely works though you have to make pretty regular decisions rather than more seamlessly flow things back out. My pictures backup to Facebook and Google+ but on edge the process takes hours (yes hours) to happen and then you need to have a much more restrained view if you want to share a gallery vs one or two pics at a time.

Even in more connected environments… Like Westchester where I live the connection can also pose a challenge. Just this morning, I fired up Waze while driving my kids to school. Because the signal was poor my location never activated and instead of a helpful look around, I got a floating look at the area because the phone could not lock things in. Up in the Adirondacks if the signal dropped long enough Waze would actually crash and even though it would want to restart my navigation without a network lock, it was rendered pretty useless as the map never loaded. The car nav BTW worked without any fuss… As did Sirius radio.

Back at home and commuting back and forth to NYC, I’m regularly in range of LTE and stream content, update my apps on the go and basically use my devices as they were designed.

Future trips are going to require me advanced planning so I can cache things I might need or want …

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