The Cloud

Happy new year everybody 🙂

Today I kicked my getting things done app in the trash.

Getting things done is a book and Method by David Allen. The method originally works with paper and boxes and helps you to get organized and things out of one mind to free the mind for being creative instead of storing stuff there and having to think on that, what’s still not yet done.

Naturally a lot of applications have grown around this idea. Quite some time I decided to use Things from Culture Code. There is a desktop and a iPhone application which were synchronizing over the local network. The user interface of the application is neat and clean and I liked it a lot. I was pretty happy with it.

So what made me trash it?

Culture code decided to update Things to Things 2.0 and with that update they introduced synchronization over their own cloud service and announced very proud how many users are already having an account there. Theres nothing wrong with that, but they also decided to drop local synchronization. So if I want to use the new version, I’d be forced to use their cloud service, a server I have no control of and leave there all my to do lists including all the personal or business information, which I might have noted in one or the other task of my to-do list.

I’m amazed actually, how many people blindly trust a company and leave their personal data on the companies server. Didn’t we all learn meanwhile, that google scans the mails of their gmail service to place proper advertising to the user? So why should we trust a software company, especially when they just abandon the local service, so if I want to continue using the software, I’m forced to use their cloud service.

It becomes even more interesting, if one knows that Culture Code is a German company and the German Ministry of inner affairs is currently working on some laws to give security service access to data in the cloud, meaning forcing providers to open their servers for police or other security services to access these data, preferable without any consultation of a judge. The Patriot Act of the US does this already.

Upps, you didn’t know that? You synchronize your iPhone via the Apple’s Cloud Service, store your documents on amazon’s cloud service. You think it’s all well protected by your personal password and login data. If you run your own server, you know that you have access to everything and anything stored on that machine, so has the industries.

Of course you can encrypt your data with an point to point encryption, which will make it harder for anybody to look into it and only government services or big companies will have the computing power to crack your encryption. Well and what happens, when government and industries work together? It already does as I learnt recently by an article published by the Guardian. A peaceful protest movement against the power of the banks was marked as terrorist activity by the FBI.

You might think, you don’t do anything illegal, so why should you care. We’ve seen over the past couple of years, how quickly innocent people can get into the focus of law enforcement authorities or the industries. The result is often scary. And well, we all have something to protect and be it only our privacy.

Well, I didn’t give up, organizing my to-do and getting things done in a organized way, I’m just using a different software from the omnigroup, a well know Apple development company. Omni Focus offers different ways of synchronizing the desktop and iPhone app. One of them is via Bonjour and the local network another one works via WebDAV or a file server.

These days I just learned, you can set up your own clod services with OwnCloud. OwnCloud is a software-suit based on php and a SQL-server, which can be set up on nearly any Operating-System, all you need is access to a server. This probably works also with dynamic ip addresses and a service, like dynDNS. So now I’m thinking to setup this on my server here.

So, you don’t believe me? Then check this out: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/microsoft-admits-patriot-act-can-access-eu-based-cloud-data/11225

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