I am writing this blog post from my lab on a nondescript Dell desktop computer running Ubuntu. That’s not how I would typically write a blog post, if I were one for doing such a thing with any frequency. Normally I’m inseparable from my trusty three-year-old MacBook Pro, but today that machine in the care of the Geniuses at the Century City Apple Store. (Apple employee 2994584XX and whoever is in charge of AppleCare: I wish I could buy you both beers.) This is because over several months of frustrating lockups and troubleshooting I have determined that for some reason my laptop will, after some arbitrary amount of uptime, begin failing to write to its internal hard disk. It works perfectly well when booted from USB, and it can read from any drive, but after some amount of time all writes to the internal drive will begin to fail, without fail. I’m not exactly thrilled about this new behavior.
In short, a logic board replacement is definitely necessary which means that I need to do the unthinkable: part with my laptop for a period of days until it is fixed. “There are other computers in the world I can use, but none of them are mine,” the voice in my head complained. “How will I finish my AI homework if I can’t get in The Zone by listening to my music? Do I even stand a chance of coming up with this state machine if I can’t take a Twitter break practically every single freaking minute, as I am wont to do?”
Whining aside, I was concerned about not being able to get enough work done while my computer was in the shop. But in the past few hours I have discovered that thanks to the power of ~THE CLOUD~ there is little about my setup that depends on the exact physical hardware I’m using. I’m no stranger to ~THE CLOUD~ but I was caught off guard by how thoroughly it has worked its way into my life.
So thank you, Google and Dropbox and Github and Rdio, for hosting a surprisingly large subset of my digital life in your servers in ~THE CLOUD~. Thank you, Apple, for inventing the tiny computer that lasts all day on a single charge, connects to the Internet (and ~iCLOUD~) from anywhere, and also makes phone calls. (We should really have a chat about how Time Machine is useless and FileVault is more trouble than it’s worth, but overall you’re pretty cool.) Thank you, Amazon, for letting me play in your Jungle Gym of Linux for pennies per hour. And thank you, hackers, for making such useful stuff (except for those of you who are off securing another round of funding for your thing that’s “like Klout for Groupon!!” or whatever). I like to think I’m a bona fide hacker already, but childlike wonder still abides.