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When online services go offline

Software as a service is a great idea but what happens if an online service, or even just a website, that you’ve come to depend on over time suddenly goes offline – there is a first time for everything. For instance, there’s an oxford collocations dictionary online website that I have pretty much come to depend on in my writing/translating work and a couple of times over the past two months it has gone offline for no apparent reason. Both times it was down for only a day or two but still I was forced to install a local version even though, the local PC version is rather sluggish and works slower than the website. (That’s probably because my laptop is usually running a whole bunch of apps and processes and is probably nowhere near as powerful as the server or even servers that run the online app).

There is another website that I’ve come to enjoy that’s been down the past few days and it’s been quite disheartening. When a website or an online service is there, after a while you come to take it for granted and then when it suddenly goes away one day it feels personal, it feels like they’ve pulled the plug on you rather than on their services because you’ve come to depend on it so much that it felt like it was part of you and now it’s gone. Well bummer.

If there is just one good thing about locally installed applications that store all their data on your hard drive that’s probably the fact that they never go offline unless you wreck your OS or your computer is destroyed.

It’s an interesting philosophical question, actually, why is it that we always feel better after we’ve passed on the responsibility for taking care of our own shit (computer data in this case) to someone else, someone in the cloud. It’s as if we’ve got this innate belief that other people are bound to be better than us at doing this job, but why on earth do we assume that?

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