FML! There is no Cloud, and IoT is… well…

¡Holá señor Taco! ¿Ayúdame con una pregunta por favor? ¿Qué the fuck es “la nube”?

Yo Taco! What the FUCK is all this “cloud” bullshit I keep hearing about?

Among all the trendy buzz words these days, is the buzz word “Cloud.” IMHO, “the cloud” is about as retarded as the phrase “Internet of Things.” I’m about 99% sure that these terms came about because some marketing exec was stoned out-of-his/her-mind when trying to come up with a new way to sell data center hardware and services without making it sound too expensive. One of the most common questions I get asked: “What the fuck IS the cloud anyway?” If your asking this question, you’re not alone.

So, before I rant on about these two things, let me simplify them for you:

The Cloud – “There is no cloud, it’s just someone else’s computer.” This is probably one of the best memes I’ve seen floating out there in the ether. Essentially, this meme is right. “The Cloud” is just a bunch of hardware owned by someone (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Etc…) that they rent to you to either store your data or host some sort of service (like email).

Internet of Things (IoT) – An IoT device is essentially a device that’s core service is “Cloud” based. It relies on being connected to the internet to be functional. Examples: Tablets, Thermostats, Media Players, Smart TV’s, Etc…

Let’s get a simple understanding of the cloud first. “Taco?” you ask… “So why the fuck would I want to “rent” someone else’s hardware? It’s cheaper to buy my own right?” You are not wrong when you say that it’s cheaper to buy your own hardware. So why go cloud? Let me preface this next bit by saying that the cloud is not for everybody, there are some advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages:

  1. Big vendors usually have HIGHLY redundant hardware. This means the probability that the service or data will be unavailable is very low.
  2. Those big vendors maintain and upgrade their hardware so you don’t have to.
  3. It’s easier to access cloud-based data and services from anywhere than it is to access a private data center or network. (So all that porn you’ve hosted in the cloud is easier to get to from your hotel room on a business trip!)

Disadvantages:

  1. You’re at the mercy of the cloud provider – IF they fail, you can lose access, or data.
  2. It’s expensive! let’s face it, Cloud providers are maintaining staff and hardware to keep their cloud up and running. That’s not cheap! Invest in a ball-gag if you’re going to go cloud… just a suggestion.
  3. Privacy… Is it really private? Up to the point that the cloud provider is hacked, yes. Remember that cloud providers are a priority target for cyber criminals! So if you are using a weak password and login, you may find yourself at the mercy of an evil mastermind trying to take over the world one cloud provider at a time.

Hmmm… Mercy, ball gags, porn… you’d think this is a BDSM post or something. Well, until someone invents an IoT cat-of-nine-tails that tracks an individuals lashes tolerance, it’s not. But that does bring us to the Internet of Things devices.

There’s not much to say here, but let’s start with how fucking retarded the term “Internet of Things” really is. As mentioned earlier, this term was probably the brainchild of a marketing exec tripping on acid. “It’s like EVERYTHING is connected, man! like… the whole universe… whoa!” Despite that we are now stuck with a term that gives advanced technology the appearance of a plastic toy from a happy meal, let’s take a look at an IoT device or two (probably only one because my brain is getting tired).

In this first (and probably only) example, we’ll look at a smart home thermostat. NEST, Ecobee, Honeywell, Lux… take your pic. They’re all essentially the same. They have temperature sensors, motion sensors, and WiFi connectivity. The premise is that they monitor the temperature in your home, collect data about when you are there or away, and transmit that data to a cloud-based system that has some basic AI which calculates as many variables as possible and creates a heating/cooling schedule that can supposedly save you boo koo bucks! (Quick linguistic aside: “boo koo” in the phrase “Boo Koo bucks” comes from the French adverb “beaucoup” meaning “a lot” or “much.” When you say “Merci beaucoup” you are saying “thanks much!” So when you say “boo koo bucks”, you mean “much bucks.”)

Now back on task. in the early years of the interweb, you needed computers connected to all sorts of sensors to control these things. But these computers, while they may have only performed that task, were not intentionally built for that task. They were re-purposed and configured to take-on these functions. Enter the IoT device… This is a mini computer purpose-built to perform a task, collect the data, and connect the data to the end-user somehow. Sounds great! Right!

It really is great! who doesn’t like to save boo koo bucks and control their home temperature from work? So what would be some disadvantages? To start, these devices are collecting data on you! Your habits, preferred living temperature (we’re still talking thermostats here), and your schedule. If the right privacy policy is not in place, a less ethical thermostat maker can sell that info to marketing conglomerates. Let’s not get into that… Other things are that they rely on cloud-based services and internet. Cloud gets hacked or internet goes down… problems ensue.

For the uber nerds like me, this stuff is cool! While I’d never trust my data to the “cloud,” I enthusiastically use IoT devices. The cloud can be a great fit for some people and small businesses. But before jumping on cloud-nine (haha! see what I did there?!), ask someone who knows about these magical things to see if it’s right for you. They may end-up sending you off to a sex shop to buy a ball gag, but at least you’ll know you’re headed in the right direction.

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One Reply to “FML! There is no Cloud, and IoT is… well…”

  1. Ha! So fucking true! There is no cloud… Nice simplified explanation of IoT devices. Any chance of “cleaning” this up so I can use it for corporate training? lol!

     

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