Over the last few weeks, I’ve been contemplating the possibility of targeting 2007 as the year that I migrate totally to computing on the ‘cloud’. By this I mean eliminating the use of specific computers (laptops, tablets, PCs) and depending on ubiquitous internet (cloud) connectivity to handle all my storage and processing needs. Even as recent as the last New Year’s holiday, this seemed to be just out of reach. Now, primarily due to the EV-DO access on my Palm 700p, the ability to ‘hit the cloud’ from just about anywhere – with reasonable speeds – seems possible. The anchor application for this approach is a rock solid, lean and efficient email application. Gmail has been the obvious choice. With a growing number of incremental enhancements, massive storage capability, and a decent, recently released phone (Palm compatible) client, I was ready to take the leap. Then…..this happened. Yikes!
While Google claims only a small number of users were affected (it seems that the issue had more to do with a bug in Firefox than a Gmail related issue), the blogosphere has been abuzz with the news. The thought of losing so much aggregated knowledge in the blink of an eye is really a frightening, and sobering reminder that living on the cloud’s edge can be a dangerous place to be.
I guess I’m still going to move ahead with the plan to migrate to the cloud (I’ll post details of my approach soon), but I will still rely on having a solid offline backup – which is further backed up by Carbonite.
To address the immediate issue of vanishing gmail, I recommend using a pop3 application, like Thunderbird, to suck down all emails from gmail for safe offline storage.