For the entire time that I have been into whatever, it has very rarely been something that has coincided with “everyone else” also joining in. Especially on the side of computing, I’ve been both applauded and derided for being earlier or against the curve. As I watched the Twitter stream of likes and dislikes from Apple’s recent WWDC keynote and announcements, I had that feeling again. And like other times, I’m weighing my options before making a choice.
When it comes to using devices and services that I don’t understand, I have tended to take a cautious approach. Yes, I’ve hung onto platforms and devices longer than some in my company. And that has been fine with me. By no means am I a Luddite, but I did learn from the Amish community near my college that it pays to be very discerning before jumping into change. Even more so, to be investigative towards what I do have, learning it till there’s nothing left to wring out where possible.
That’s where I sit when looking at what has become the major silos of life and stuff online. There is Google, Twitter, and Amazon and each of their properties and pipes. There’s Microsoft, which really it seems you just can’t get away from. Then there is Apple, which if you are into anything multimedia, it’s hard to stay away from. And of course, smaller players whom are snapped up all the time, in may respects the opposite of a bubble being their existence – staying alive long enough to reflect enough light to be caught and not popped into nothing.
I own an iPad. I have a choice to make when the new updated operating system becomes available. Do I upgrade, and sign on that line which says that all my doings on this tablet are attached to their perpetual cloud? Or, do I sit tight until I can bear being unsupported, or losing the polish of some feature(s) which might actually be nice if not so attached to central Apple servers?
I think the same of Google, Evernote, and many other services that backbone so many of the happenings in and around the Internet. Is the pull of what is given here enough that I want to stay in a stable, populated experience? Or, am I a maverick, seeing that some parts of life should take a bit more work, a bit more spit, and lie under my onus to skillfully integrate what I would otherwise have answered for me. If you will, almost like living in a city versus the extra rural areas of the US. When it comes of this tool of our times, what am I willing to stay with, what will I rather not?
What is the value of my data to Apple, Google, etc.? Why is it important that I live on their severs or through their services? Certainly there are optional pieces to this that I can exercise, much as I have with my iPad to date. Maybe, I can have my own “plot of land” and serve my own applications, connect to social networks, and even keep an ability to compose a document across devices, but choose more about how I do this, than what seems to be the case now.
Or, like what seems to be the truth about open source efforts that I have been around which have quelled, is that line of thinking left to the fringes of life? People who exist in caves, pounding out solutions that will only occasionally get the light of day, only to be wrapped into the collective, further distancing innovation and choice from apparent affluence and privilege?