Cloud Computing? I think it’s more of a fog.

I’ve been a bit light on the long-form blogging recently.  This has happened a couple of times since I started this blog.

Most directly it’s the result of a particularly busy work period. We’re recruiting for a few people and I’d forgotten how time-consuming that process can be.

But more than that it’s caused by an imbalance, a choice of what to do with my time.  I’m writing this at 9.00pm. I have a spare hour.  I want to write something but I’m being stalked by the 30-odd articles I’ve instapapered in the last week and the half dozen videos I’ve been meaning to watch.

I’m a complete cliché in my embrace of both technology and the web.  I’m writing this at my dining table and I have three computers within a ten-foot radius.  My iPhone never leaves me and language lacks sufficient depth to describe my love for it. I could only be more excited at the prospect of the iPad’s arrival if I were told that Anne Hathaway would be delivering mine personally.

The thing I struggle with is the sheer weight of opportunity to be interested. Twitteriffic and WordPress are constant companions. I have an XXL RSS stream. I currently have seventeen Firefox tabs open.  I worry about missing out on something I should know.  I’m awash in things that are potentially interesting and blessed with too much technology providing me access.  It’s a fog of interestingness.

And while it’s obviously not the fault of the technology, the devices that I should be using as a means of navigating the fog are actually contributing to it.  They’re just too damn convenient and too damn delightful to use.   (I was talking to @ianhowarth about this and he made the rather lovely observation that while Cloud Computing was supposed to be the future, all we’ve been delivered thus far is a fog.)

On this subject, I heard an interesting interview with a guy called William Powers last week (on the Monocle Weekly podcast). He’s written a book called Hamlet’s Blackberry. It’s not released until the end of June, but he’s attempted to draw lessons from how previous generations have coped with significant technological leaps that have impacted our quality, or style, of life (the written word, printing, television etc).  He talks about the ‘conundrum of connectedness’, about how computers and mobile devices are fantastically fun and exciting, and in many ways tremendous assets, but at the same time increasingly a burden to us, often ‘impoverishing our lives rather than enriching them’.

Which sounds like a great idea for a book, the obvious problem being that I’m entirely unsure when I’ll find the time to read it.

About Philip O'Neill
Too much time spent thinking about clothes, advertising and music. And golf.

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