Personal clouds

I went to this event last night about “personal clouds”, it was kinda weird. Maybe it is the circles I hang in, but the language they used to describe it was like a joke to see how many buzzwords they could fit in before writing “synergy”. As Mike pointed out, there is no such thing as Vendor Relationship Management.

I was bored with most of the presentations, and there was one that I actively disagreed with and I hope to find an opportunity to be assertive and disprove eir company’s assumptions about how the human brain works. That aside, there were a couple of interesting bits, enough for me to sign on to the mailing list and listen to what these folks are talking about.

I found their list has a better description for a group than I got from other places:

Cloud computing today typically means that we have to hand over our data to big companies who decide which features they give us (and sometimes force on us), and who can and do unilaterally change their terms of service on us whenever they like.

What if instead, we could each have our own, personal cloud? Where we decide what data to put there and whom to share it with, where we decide which apps to run on it, and where we define the terms of service?

Personal Cloud is a fairly new idea. It has been compared to the wild idea back in the 1970’s that everybody could have a Personal Computer, instead of having to accept whatever the mainframe guys gave us. Obviously, Personal Computers turned out to be an idea that has appealed to hundreds of millions of people who today all own PCs. Could it be the same for Personal Clouds?

Personal Cloud right now is barely beyond the Homebrew Computer Club stage, but things are happening.

This mailing list is the place where the community hangs out that makes this idea real. Why don’t you join us?

There’s a companion wiki at

This greatly appeals to the hacker historian in me. It made me think that maybe if there were more people like me involved at this early stage, it might produce useful software for people who need help. I haven’t given a presentation in a couple of years, but I would like to share with folks how I am using a personal cloud, and where I hope it goes from here.

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