Tag Archives: cloud

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 …

Amazon’s AutoRip!

amazon_autorip

Amazon just announced a very cool new service that will enable cloud access to any of the CD’s you’ve purchased (some limitations) from them.  When I think back through the decade+ purchase history, this is considerable for me.  I can’t believe it took this long to even get this going as they’ve been able to validate purchase for a long time and have had a cloud streamer for a while as well. I’ll have to really check this out out to get a feel for how it really works.

Meanwhile back in 2004 … 

via The Verge

 

When the cloud works

I’m just starting a vacation with my family in an area with fairly limited connectivity. This isn’t a bad thing in fact it’s quite nice on many levels. The house we are renting has an incredibly slow but functional Internet connection which is essentially a satellite point to point from across the lake.

We’ve rented the same place a few times and this year found an AppleTV here which I’ve logged into for streaming music to the stereo, (very) slowly browsing Netflix and as I’ve just realized / remembered streaming a good portion of our home music collection via iTunes Match. We’d beamed some Spotify earlier while prepping dinner but it’s quite nice to have access to what’s yours as well. This is the first time I’ve connected my iTunes account on a new / random AppleTV and it’s quite excellent to see it in action.

At this point only Google an Apple offer such tightly knit systems. Amazon has much of this to provide as well but like Google lack the tightly connected hardware like AppleTV – even in its current hobby state – to make things this simple. Now that I’m logged in we can easily (bandwidth limits aside) stream “anything” on our collection purchased or not. The only restriction with Apple’s solution I’ve encountered is they do not sell an advanced package to upload / sync very large collections. Google Music seemed to enable my collection to upload but it’s nowhere near as easy to stream on a stereo here – or at home.

These services and general consumer knowledge of them are still pretty limited in use – compared to the more mainstream use case of an iPod plugged into a stereo though it’s not a hard concept to grasp … I’d love to even see guest access pop up as a feature … I guess that’s part of the Nexus Q when that makes a return. Could be an interesting fall …