Three things keeping me from running a cloud desktop
Don't get me wrong - the people developing various cloud desktops like eyeOS and iCloud have created some very interesting apps with slick features. There are just a few nagging issues I have that prevent me from using one - or even thinking about using one any time soon.
First, there's my concern over data. I don't even want to consider the possibility of a company I don't control storing all my data. Heck, my GMail account doesn't even contain any really sensitive information and I've used it full time for five years. I just don't have any desire to place things like family videos, photos, and records in the hands of a business that could shut down at any time (screenshot?).
What if my cloud runs out of capital? What if they do something shady and their harware is confiscated? Where does that leave me?
Of course for that to be a dilemma, I'd have to be able to upload a significant amount of data somewhere at a reasonable speed. Which I can't.
Problem number two is created by my ISP. I've had DSL service for years, and while my download speeds have recently increased to about twice what they were when I originally signed up my uploads are still capped at an appalling 30K/s. Hardly a speed that makes the process of uploading large amounts of data a snap.
Online backup and cloud desktops? Forget it. Until my upstream flows more freely, I'm not uploading anything I don't have to.
Last but not least, there's Java. I recently took iCloud for a spin. It's a nice enough app, but task manager reported that my IE window was using about 390Mb of memory and as much as 40% of my processor. That's a pretty massive footprint. I can run Crunchbang or my own stripped-down XP install using much less than that, and they are infinitely more flexibile.
And then there's the lag. Dragging windows and launching apps in iCloud isn't nearly as fast as it is on even my slowest laptop. Until Java-based cloud desktops can offer comparable performance or someone comes up with a better alternative, forget it.
Our own Christina Warren recently weighed in on cloud pitfalls (specifically, the Google outage) on TechVI - check out the video!