I’m usually a sucker for new technologies — have been, ever since my dad brought home an Apple Macintosh back in 1985. Maybe earlier — I can’t remember when we got the Colecovision. And if that technology makes it easier for me to do the creative things I like to do, that’s all the better.
So when I started using Pages on my iPad to work on a new manuscript, I noticed something really fun — Apple’s word processor now lets you save to the cloud. This means I can start writing something on my iPad, save it, then open it and make changes on my laptop. When I’m done there, I can save it again and it syncs the changes to my iPad. So, no matter which device I’m near, I can always get my latest version of the manuscript and make changes.
Which would be wonderful — except for the fact that I live in Blacksburg.
You might remember Blacksburg as the home of Virginia Tech. You might also remember that Blacksburg was one of the cities that Adam Orth (formerly) of Microsoft said he would never live in, so spotty internet service was not a problem as far as he could see.
That particular name came up in conversation because internet infrastructure in Blacksburg is pretty notoriously bad — even more notoriously because it was only back in 1998 that Blacksburg was recognized by Guinness World Records as the “Most Wired Community.”
So, last night, I discovered a problem with the cloud and all of the wonders that it offers me as a writer. When your internet access completely disappears for, say, nine hours starting in the afternoon and ending late at night, it puts a damper on any internet-based activities. In fact, my webcomic only updated on time because I was able to move the comic strip from my computer to my phone (through a cable), then log into my host (which isn’t designed for mobile) on my phone and upload from there.
As for my next novel? Well, it just didn’t get anything new written that night.
Because it was in the cloud.
And without internet access, the cloud is pretty useless.
Which is why I’m not a big fan when people start preaching ditching physical media — or even on-board digital storage. When people start saying, “The cloud is here! We should all be streaming all of our movies and music from the cloud and not even need copies on hard drives!” I hug my blu-ray collection and my hard drive full of music a little bit closer.
Because I live in Blacksburg.
And I haven’t watched a YouTube video in the past two months that didn’t stop to buffer.