Photo by jurvetson on Flickr.
So what about you, the person who shoots photos, saves emails, and checks social networks—what can you do? If you read The Omnivore’s Dilemma or watch Food Inc., you can make changes in your shopping and diet to act local, think global, and play your part. But what if you’re suddenly struck by a feeling that you could be using the cloud in more ecologically friendly fashion?
You probably can’t run your own cloud storage and backup system more efficiently than Amazon. And you can only go so far in demanding to live your life with entirely localized data, because there are just too many interesting and useful things out on the web to ignore out of puritanical zeal. But you can do something.
I think it’s smart, for example, to have something like a local-but-cloud-like backup in place, such as Pogoplug (which, for some plans, optionally uses Amazon’s Glacier storage service). And you can do your best to ensure that anywhere you’re storing your data is forthcoming about where it’s being stored, and how efficiently. You might no be able to move your company’s data structures over to Amazon or another efficient firm next week, but with your personal data, you can make sure you’re not keeping data on servers for no reason other than, “Hey, it’s free.”
Because if there’s anything the Times server efficiency manifesto got right, it’s that there’s a notable jump disconnect between “in the cloud” and the reality, which is “on the drives of somebody I hope is thinking big-picture.”