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Can Collectors And Cloud Computing Co-exist?

[Editor's Note: today's post is by guest author R. Michelle Green, the Principal for her company, Client Solutions. She is a combination geek girl, personal organizer, and career coach. Michelle helps others improve their use of technology in their personal or professional life. Today, she discusses the new trend in cloud computing and storage.]

By R. Michelle Green

I love looking at my books and records. (If that statement dates me, eh, kiss my AARP card.) I’m often a completist. If I really like something or someone, say David McCallum – I gotta check out the music he created as well. I like to display my stuff, share it with like-minded others. A neighbor once asked why I had so many movies, hadn’t I seen them already? My rejoinder: “why do you have so many books, haven’t you read them already?” She smiled broadly in understanding, and never questioned it again. I may not understand why Leno collects cars, but I grok the desire to collect.

With iPods, Kindles and their ilk, you don’t get to “look” at your stuff the same way.

Used to be you got such insight from that first walk into someone’s home. What’s the focal point of the living room? What has the person taken care to organize? A litmus test for me as a young person was a suitor’s library. My first and last date with one person hinged on their statement, “oh I don’t really like to read.”

And what to make of what we choose to display? Some visible books I haven’t read but plan to; others I’ve hidden precisely because I love them so – I won’t share them with just anyone. I chose my thesis advisor in part because his office contained both books I’d read and others I wanted to read. I didn’t even know that would matter, until it did. Were I choosing an advisor now, would I even have access to his digital tastes? And if I did, what would that knowledge tell me? My Kindle today does not represent my tastes well.

I would love the money and time to gloriously display the things I love. I used to have Scrabble tile holders taped to the wall to display album covers. Oh I know, you can still do that: if you purchase a track with artwork, if you configure your preferences correctly, if the artist/distributor provided artwork.... Many e-readers can’t be configured to display book covers (while their tablet apps might... but will they display them well?…).

If your collection is in the Cloud, do you really own it? Can you bequeath it to family? What happens if the Cloud provider goes bankrupt (or even just has an outage)? Don’t get me wrong. I’ll always be a technophile, and a wannabe early adopter. Using the Cloud will mean I can collect a lot more stuff, with vastly improved ability to access it, and with potentially perfect fidelity and backwards (and forwards?) compatibility. The Cloud satisfies my left brain’s pragmatism.

In some future home, a giant digital wall with cover art from my Cloud may replace my book wall. But what’s my analog today for the delight of sharing my library with visitors? My Interests page – oh sorry, interest feeds, on Facebook? Where people I do and don’t know see it at some time when I’m not present, and who may or may not give me feedback? And whose comments (if they comment) I may or may not get to see??

Sorry. My right brain (my heart?) says: doesn’t quite cut it.


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