Your Research in the Cloud

Cloud-based hosting services have been around for a while, but with the launch of Dropbox-like desktop clients of both Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive this week, it appears to be the hot topic to be discussing now.

My goal here is not to discuss the pros and cons of each. There are plenty of thorough comparisons out there. Instead, as fast as the hype about all the cool things came, the discussion is now quickly shifting towards ill-defined terms of service that can jeopardize the confidentiality of your data. What does it mean in terms of storing your research data?

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Out of reach

I was walking right outside of the Milton Gates near my lab the other evening. There was a young lady in a motorized wheelchair strumming down the sidewalk in the other direction past me. By the time I thought twice about the fact that the sidewalk was blocked off farther down from her because of utility repairs, the girl had already saw the dead end and had to turn around. The nearest alternate sidewalk ramp to cross the street was a good chunk of concrete away from us. And, I couldn’t help wondering what it must be like having to navigate the inaccessible streets of Montreal – complete with construction zones and blocked off sidewalks without any warning or suggested bypass route.

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