Podcast: The Public Cloud

Sometimes revolutions happen in small steps. As more people discover uses for the public cloud, those use cases are steadily redefining the computing landscape. What are some of the long-term implications of the public cloud? Mozilla hardware chief David Bryant and I discuss the public cloud and its impact on the computing landscape.


Dropbox, OneDrive, and similar cloud storage systems gradually convinced users that cloud storage could be almost as seamless as local storage. The operative word is “almost”. David suggests cloud storage needs to be standardized and incorporated into the OS to be truly universal.

What’s the long-term implication of reliable cloud storage (which also assumes a reliable broadband infrastructure)? Will we no longer need high capacity local storage? What about cloud computing assist? These may have impacts outside of end-user compute tasks. For example, offloading compute to cloud services may reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.

As users become comfortable with software as a service, we’re seeing a shift towards platforms as a service. We’ve never truly owned software, just licensed it. Software rental has gone mainstream with Adobe’s suites and Microsoft Office.

IoT depends on the cloud for connectivity and big data manipulation. But will your connected smart oven work when the Internet goes down?

And will convenience outweigh possible negatives, as David’s experience with photo sharing shows.


XQDThe Nikon D500 uses both SD cards (up to UHS-3 theoretically) and Sony’s XQD memory card. The fastest SD cards today offer write speeds up to 280MB/second, while the new XQD second generation cards write at speeds up to 350MB/second. The D500’s buffer holds up to 200 RAW images. So the question becomes: do you need XQD’s higher speed if you’re not shooting continuously for over 20 seconds?

My 19-year old furnace stopped working for a spell, and I’m still not sure if the problem lies with my first-generation Nest thermostat or the furnace. However, I’m mightily impressed with Nest’s technical support. The tech seemed knowledgeable, patient, and walked me through the steps of reattaching the Nest’s wiring. Finally, when nothing seemed to work, he ordered up a replacement Nest with no quibbles.

David’s been diving into Raspberry Pi in a big way, firing up a a Pi 2, adding a WiFi dongle, and then ordering the shiny new 64-bit Raspberry Pi III. He also updated the OS, bought more SD cards, and now turns to Windows 10 IoT experiments.

He’s also discovered the strange world of tactical flashlights and their oddball nitecorebatteries. The 18650, 14500. and 16340 battery formats are built using Li-Ion technology, and require different chargers. And while the 14500’s look a lot like AA batteries, their 3.7v output means they can’t sub in for normal AA batteries, whose output ranges from 1.2 – 1.5v. But you need a lot of battery to drive some of these high-brightness lights.


xcom2_smallI finally wrap up XCOM2, mostly save-scumming through the game. I’m now turning to┬áIronman mode. Also, the Friday Night Follies gaming crew dives into Ubisoft’s The Division and likes what they see so far.

I’ve also received my copy of 13-days, a two-player strategy game using the Cuban Missile Crisis as its underlying theme. I’ve also just gotten in The Grizzled, an intriguing co-op card game where your team tries to survive the brutal rigors of World War I.

I’m also reading the final book in Daniel Abraham’s Dagger and Coin series, which diverges from most fantasy novels. For one thing, the winning strategy revolves around creating paper money, and the villain isn’t a terrible person, just terribly incompetent and way over his head.

David’s been getting into Grim Dawn more, and enjoying the experience. He’s also finished off The Expanse TV series; I try to convince him the novels are well worth reading.

Everyone’s looking forward to this week’s Game Developer’s Conference and the upcoming Silicon Valley Comicon. I’m sure we’ll be talking about those in future podcasts.


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