30 September 2010

Apple confirms that MY cloud is in the USA

A few weeks ago, I complained that I wanted to know where MY MobileMe cloud was geo-located. You can read my post here. After I posted the article, I decided to do the simple thing and ask Apple.

So I logged on to Apple's technical support page for MobileMe, opened a chat session with one of their support technicians, and asked "Where is my MobileMe Cloud?". I gave her a link to my article to explain the question a little better. The Apple support person was very polite, and freely admitted that my question was very unusual. What followed was about 30 minutes of very little chat while (I assume) she asked around trying to find the answer.

23 September 2010

Google legal chief wants open borders

Earlier this week, the International Herald Tribune (the global edition of the New York Times) ran an interesting Op-Ed piece by Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond. "Roadblocks on the Information Highway" is available here; mobile device users click here.

I love the title. It reminds me of a paper I wrote in the early 1990's that I wanted to call "Law and Regulation: Speed Bumps on the Information Super Highway". Alas, I acquired a more serious-minded (and more senior) co-author who dropped the highway metaphor and re-fitted our published work with a more pedestrian title.

In his well-reasoned piece, Mr Drummond makes what I call an "open borders" argument. This argument says that countries who keep their Internet Borders open tend to benefit from increased exchange of ideas, better trade relationships, etc.

20 September 2010

Cloud Computing discovers the Internet Border

Cloud Computing continues to take centre stage in the Internet Borders discussion, as now we see the New York Times getting the story (mostly) right. The NYT article, titled "Cloud Computing Hits Snag in Europe" is available on big screen here; mobile device users should click here.

The main problem under discussion is Data Protection law. The author mentions that a number of companies are working on technology-based solutions to comply with a blizzard of different rules, but only touches briefly on the number one challenge to Cloud Computing as we know it today: the "internationality" of a given "cloud".

14 September 2010

Hey, Apple, where is my cloud?

In keeping with my opinion that Cloud service providers will one day be required to specify geo-location of customer data, I decided to look through the web pages that describe Apple's MobileMe service.

MobileMe is a truly remarkable consumer cloud computing service. It syncs contacts database, calendar, etc, over multiple user devices. The data on your laptop, desktop, and iPhone all stay in perfect harmony with one another. It's been described as an "Exchange server for everyone". Cool.

But where, exactly, is this server for everyone?

8 September 2010

Birth of "Me Web" leads to "We Web"

Today's Internet is all "me, me, me". But counter-intuitively, the technology that creates this personalised web experience may give birth to a web that reinforces a sense of community based on state borders.

At the dawn of Web 1.0, every one of us who "tuned" to a specified URL experienced the same static web page at the other end of the link. Although the page occasionally changed, all of us experienced the same changed page. A bit like television, but with a theoretically infinite number of "channels". We talked about the advent of micro-communities, marketing to the long tail, etc. It was common wisdom that this divergence of content broke down a sense of community based on physical location.

But an infinite number of channels was, it seems, not enough.