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Hey! You! Get Off Of My Cloud!

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It is my understanding that by the time we get to Web 4.0 everything we do will be up in the cloud. All our writing, our spreadsheets, our photos, our videos, all up in the cloud, wherever that is. I guess it will be like heaven. Nobody knows where that is, either, even those who believe in it.

You may be more evolved that an I am on this subject, but that idea makes me a little bit nervous. Perhaps it's all the DID YOU BACKUP YOUR COMPUTER TODAY warnings I've received during the course of my digital life. Maybe it's just my innate mistrust of things I can't actually put my hands on and see. Me, I like to have it all on these neat little hard drives they make now, with a terabyte of storage for a couple hundred bucks. Give me a brick over a cloud any day. I know I'm in the minority, though. It's all headed for the cloud and ain't nothin' we can do about it.

So this morning I got the office and there was no cloud. In fact, there was no internet. No web. No e-mail. No shared documents. No access to you guys. Nothing. Just what we used to call a dead terminal. We used to like our dead terminals. We wrote on them, played games on them, ran numbers on them. Now you might as well try to work with a loaf of bread. A computer not connected to the great giant brain stem is nothing more than a doorstop.

I called IT. They were going crazy. I called HR, because that's what you do around here when something malfunctions. Ambrose, the head of the department, was beside himself. Seems that a PowerPoint presentation he had to make to senior management was up in the cloud, too, safe and sound, naturally, but he couldn't get to it. "We're going to have to go to Plan B," he said with a foreboding so dire I didn't dare ask him what Plan B was.

We all had coffee. Walked around a little. An hour or so passed, and then suddenly the cloud was back. Connectivity was restored. We were all functioning business people again. I called Ambrose, who was very relieved. I heard clicking in the background and the sound of a printer churning out hard copy behind him. "What was it?" I asked him.

"Mouse ate through a cable in midtown," he said.

"A mouse?" I said.

"Apparently," he said. "Incredible, huh?"

Yep. Incredible. One mouse brought down the entire communications function of a gigantic corporation. Not a hacker. Not the end of the world, brought to you by the Mayans and Roland Emmerich. Just one... small... rodent.

You know what they say, I'm sure. The best laid plans of women and men often go a-mouse. Well, maybe they didn't say it exactly like that. But I'm sticking to my brick for the foreseeable future. I figure it would take one hell of a mouse to put that out of commission.