I am in the process of signing up for Google Voice (my number ends with CALLJT, now how cool is that??) and had this minor freak-out moment realizing how much I depend on Google. So I got to thinking about all the places where I really do rely on tech for my day-to-day living. I was wondering on my risk/exposure in the event that the given tech or service provider were to instantly stop working in a very permanent way.
Here’s my “audit”:
|How I Use It
|How Easily I’d Replace It
|Risk Factor (10=high)
|Web site hosting: GoDaddy
|This blog, Stage Two’s website, my Dad’s website.
|Moving to another provider is easy, but I haven’t backed up the blog in a long time. Weekend project.
|7 (with likely data loss)
|Email serving: Gmail
|Gmail hosted apps holds email for all my domains (including Legacy Locker and Triv140)
|Switching is easy, but since I use IMAP I would have to “freeze” my existing email folders.
|3 (but goes to 9 in case not all my emails are actually locally stored)
|Contacts backup: Plaxo
|Been using Plaxo for years to backup and synch contacts (and calendaring).
|No equivalent service that I am aware of.
|4 (it would only be problematic if I abandoned OS X, which is unlikely. but see below…)
|Data backup: Time Machine/OS X
|Dual backups (1 at home, 1 at office)
|Would need to start doing manual backups, might consider Mozy or other paid service.
|Photo backup: Flickr (paid for)
|Copies of all my photos are on Flickr (minus some of the early years)
|Would definitely seek an alternate online backup provider (4 backups of my photo library is still not enough)
|1 (no vested value other than the new initial backup would be very tedious)
|Communications: Cell phone
|Uhm, it’s a cell phone
|Buy a new phone.
|1 (yet another example of why not spending a lot on a cell phone lowers my dependencies in this arena – even my contacts are automatically backed up by Verizon)
|What is this thing you call “live” TV?
|Cut the cord. Seriously, if there were no DVR in my world I’d get a Mac Mini and hook up boxee.
|9 (would’ve scored it about a 4, but there’s no hockey streaming on boxee yet)
|Operating System: OS X
|Reliable computing (note that I’m implying all OS X computers simply disappear)
|Not entirely sure on this, but my hunch is I’d go with the lightest PC laptop I could find that still ships with Windows XP. Might even try Ubuntu if that wasn’t possible.
|4 (I might be miserable about it, but in all reality I use so many web services that my true OS X dependency is fairly low and I’d have virtually no data loss)
|Whole home music: Sonos
|Whole home music (including my deck!)
|All I can say is “yuck”. The good thing is when I wired the home I did both centralized AND decentralized speaker wiring. But I’d have to buy a lot of way-too expensive gear to power my 8 zones, and it would have a significantly worse UI than Sonos.
|8 (pretty much it’s my wife’s house with the minor exceptions of my Sonos, grill, deck, and manroom. losing any one of these components would be devastating)
|Discussing the most important issues the world has ever faced. Or something to that effect.
|I guess I’d lose the ability to inform random people as to my thoughts and actions. Oh, well, other than by using my blog that is.
|Either a 1 or a 10 depending on your perspective. It’s either irreplaceable or you can argue I can accomplish the same thing through my blog (reach random people) and Facebook (reach people I know)
|Poke my friends and occasionally throw sheep at them.
|I have no idea, maybe pick up the phone from time to time? Or send an email?
|2.5 (we all had plenty of relationships work plenty well long before Facebook, and I’m sure humanity will figure out how to stay in touch without it. though throwing sheep will become more challenging)
|Digital Cameras (yeah, all of them become permanently gone and we all move back to film)
|Take way too many pix of my kids.
|This is such an unrealistic scenario, but it did get me thinking about how I’d cope without digital cameras (yes, this includes my Flip). It would’ve been an annoyance pre-daddyness, but now it’d be a catastrophe.
|9.5 (with thousands of photos of my kids in 2 years, I am clearly “one of those dads”. and i like it)
Thanks to this site’s HTML table generator!
I’m pretty sure that’s the sum of the list of high tech products and services I feel fairly dependent on. Sure I could include stuff like a microwave or my car stereo, but I feel these are too commonplace to really be considered “high” tech. I also didn’t include anything that was only about a specific company (for example if Verizon or Comcast ceased to exist, since their competition offers near-identical replacement services. ditto for things like GCal, my email client or even office software, as they are so interchangeable).
Potential soon-to-be-added services:
- Jajah (we are considering dropping our US+Canada cell phone package and using Jajah for our calls to the Great White North)
- Google Voice (might use my new number as my primary number from now on, with forwarding rules to cell/office as needed)
- GPS (after my last Nuvi was stolen we went ~6 months before picking up a new one)
Anything you feel dependent on that you’d like to share with the group?