Wednesday, 22 February 2012

What price privacy?

I recently started considering what had happened with the upgrade to IOS 5 and the encouragement to move to iCloud. I had been a long standing user and willingly paid my family membership of 70 quid(-ish) per annum - this because I believed (perhaps erroneously), that unlike gmail, Apple was not trawling through my personal email and extracting value from it in mysterious ways. I transfered to iCloud and then observed that my account (which had some number of months to run before renewal) had moved to a 10Gb paid for service, but come the end of my subscription it would revert to 5Gb and become free.

Sorry, Heinlein had it right, TANSTAAFL.

It's not free to provide so somewhere along the line Apple is making money and it's not transparent where. And I've been talking to too many "privacy fundamentalist" lawyers recently. So back to the future - I dusted off the trusty DELL SC440 installed Ubuntu, grabbed Dovecote, poked the firewall and hey presto I'm back to self hosting.

So the Dell cost £110 a few years back - let's depreciate the capital over 5 years; it consumes about 35 watts (£35 per annum running costs) - cost of privacy, about £57 per annum for the whole family and 750Gb of space.

Of course my tech friends will tell me there's much lower power cheaper solutions for self hosting (where are those Raspberry Pi's?), to which my ripost - in 5 years it'll be doing it in the home router and we won't even notice the extra cost.

Cloudlets - here we come.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Challenges of Regulating the Internet

So a very interesting talk from Simon Hampton of Google; followed by good discussions and a fine dinner at St. Johns to boot - well done the Connections team.

Simon made a great point on scale and illustrated it with YouTube statistics amusement - simply put "it's huge". Or to quote a great man and the guide (chapter 8):
"Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space, listen..."
Most folks, including regulators, just don't get how big it is - and headline message from Simon "Regulate for abundance over scarcity" - I liked that.

Simon used the image above (and ancient tale from this blog) to illustrate his point  - he reckons we are at square 32 on the chess board and there's 32 more doublings to come; hmm - more faith in Moore's law than I can summon but I'd maybe begrudge him 16; at current rates that's still another 25 years...