Monday, December 31, 2012

The Dangers of Loosing Digital Weight

There two articles that inspired me to start off the year with a new blog.  The first is Dorie Clark's blog on about the importance of publishing ideas and the second is Ryan's Block's guest article on the NY Times BITS blog about thinning his digital footprint.

With these two things in mind, I've decided to seriously play with Google's group of hosted services (mail, calendar, etc...).  Following Ryan's advice about closing out dormant accounts and following the terms of services for a few consolidated providers more closely, Google seemed an appropriate choice for me.  I've had an email account there for years but never really used it much.  After growing bored of running my own email services, I choose to forward everything to my gmail account and perform the experiment of living with the web interface.

Thee is another trend that plays into this consolidation of services -- BYOD.  I develop software for a living so I'll likely never be able (or desire) to abandon a laptop.   However, I'm a solid fan of Android and a happy iPad owner.  So I find myself utilizing more and more devices.

Back in the 90's, cross platform meant making Unix/Linux and Microsoft platforms work well together.  But even then it was apparent that cross platform was about access to data.  Today, the plethora of devices (iOS, desktop OS, android) and cloud services (AWS and Google) constitutes a new definition of cross platform.

The question which has yet to be answered is what is the lesser of two evils -- consolidating more personal information with a single provider so I can pay more attention to any potential misuses? or spreading details among many providers which are impossible to track but none of which would have sufficient information to do any real damage?  Is the latter even feasible?

For now I've decided to trust a single provider and to minimize the amount of data I make available.  And the final question is whether these services will make my life more enjoyable and less cluttered.