There has been a lot of emphasis lately in the “Information Technology” world on “cloud computing” and “software as a service (SAAS).” If the cloud computing evangelists have their way, we will need nothing more than an Internet portal on our desktop – or on our phone, laptop, or whatever – and all software will be run, and all data stored, on Internet servers.

Now, there are definite potential advantages to this, particularly for businesses. No matter where you are or what computer you are using, you can have access to your software and data. Data stored remotely in secure facilities, hopefully with adequate back-up, could be safer, at least physically, than on your own computer. Moving the responsibility for storing data and keeping software up-to-date from your company to a remote service can allow you to cut IT staff or to hire staff that doesn’t have to be as highly knowledgeable. Obviously the same advantages apply to home users, particularly those who want to only deal with computers as appliances.

As for me – no, thanks. I do not want to depend on the Internet for my programs, and I want my data stored right here on my own computer. Sure, someone might break into my house and steal my computer, or someone may manage to get past my defenses and steal data, but both situations are a bit unlikely. I’ll gladly take that risk in exchange for being able to work where I want, when I want, with my own software and data on my own computer.

Though such services have a pretty good up-time record, I would not be happy if I needed the on-line services and suddenly found that they were not available at the moment. I also don’t much care for the fact that every company offering such services will be keeping track of usage, knowing what you accessed and used and when you did it. As “anonymous” as such information may (or may not) be, I’m getting a bit tired of losing privacy in my life. I would also be concerned that “someone” might be able to access my data – personal correspondence, financial info, whatever – without even knowing about it, authorized by law or not.

The ultimate reason that I will not personally be participating in the cloud computing culture is cost. Even though people claim that it could be cheaper to “rent” your software by using on-line versions versus buying a software package, I’m getting tired of renting stuff in my life. Once upon a time, television was free, as was radio. Yes, it still can be at the moment, but if you want a wider variety of programming you need to “rent” your television and radio from a provider. I don’t begrudge a business providing a service that customers want, and I am willing to pay the price for services that I use, but I have no desire to keep adding to the list of things for which I need to budget money each month. These services may be “free” now, but I am more than willing to bet that they won’t be for long.

Again – thanks, but no thanks – I will continue to keep my data on my own computer, and use the software that I have purchased (or obtained for free) without relying on the availability of the Internet. Perhaps I’m being a bit anachronistic, but I am what I am.