THE BLOG

Con Games: Con Man Visits Cloud Cuckoo Land

12/15/2010 03:31 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I hate the way things used to be: I like the way things are now.

Even so this cloud thing has got me worried, mainly because everyone who says it's "in the cloud" acts as if they know what in tarnation they're talking about, when in fact they have no idea just where that cloud (singular) might be. They also act as if it's one big weather systems in which we all live, which is certainly not the case, not even close.

On a clear day you can't even see the cloud.

I'm getting ahead of myself but so what--what's it to you? I could start with me hammering away on a manual typewriter with three carbons behind three pieces of paper and a thick pencil with no eraser behind me ear. Or moi ratcheting up the IBM Selectric, the finest machine ever made for fingers. Or the Exxon Vydec word processor with the biggest screen you ever saw that I liberated from the bowels of 30 Rock. Or the only Wang in the office that I used to commandeer at 6 in the morning before anyone came to work and ruined my day.

The good old days? Don't kid yourself. The good old days sucked.

Life went on the way it does and one day someone with stock options decided we would all be living in the cloud. My first objection is that "cloud" is singular as if there's just one of them--and that isn't even close to being true. Amazon wants you on their cloud and Microsoft is spending big money to put you on theirs, but either way it's not one cloud and it's not anywhere up in the air anyway as aforementioned.

The cloud, if you have to have one, is the puffy stuff like servers and routers that connect everyone and their stepbrother to the Internet. But it's much more like a railroad than anything else, with station stop Amazon or Microsoft or whatever. You don't see Warren Buffett investing in the cloud, now do you, but the man loves Cherry Coke and railroads. I rest my case.

The other thing that gets me riled is people using the cloud (singular) as though it's some kind of answer, as though saying something is "in the cloud" says anything at all about it. Back in the 1960s, there were "timesharing" computers connected by the Internet. In what way/shape/form was that not a cloud? They were "in the cloud" but that was no answer even then.

It's too late to say don't get me started because I'm already finished. I am writing a novel on the cloud and running blogs on the cloud and sending messages on the cloud and right now I'm putting this blah-blah about the cloud on the cloud. The only consolation is one day the cloud will be the way things used to be and the way things used to be will suck.