Categories
Computers Rants

The Rental Economy

It’s coming! Microsoft has finally started transitioning people into a purely rental system. Coming soon, you’ll be able to subscribe to Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and run a full-scale Windows machine in the cloud. This has been a rather overt goal since Windows 8, with it’s insistence on having your Microsoft.com account tied to your local login account.

The technical component of this seems neat. You can run this Windows box in Azure and connect to it using just about any tech you’d like. Phone, Linux, Mac, whatever. That means you can get your desktop anywhere you have Internet. This is not unlike Google’s upcoming Stadia, which takes the same idea to gaming. Seems like data centers are the new hotness. Study up, kids.

That all being said. I hate it.

I mean, I’m not opposed to “Cloud Computing”. There are real benefits to being able to access vast arrays of computing or storage resources for cheap. I, myself, have used these kinds of resources for my own needs. It’s great to be able to spin up a machine or two to get something done quickly. Many companies rely on this very resource as part of their core business. I even utilize it for backups, caching and image processing.

Cloud Computing allows for the normalization of the idea that you no longer own your system, and therefore your data. You can now rent your operating system, storage, emai/groupware, office programs, invoicing, website, user directory, etc. Soon, I wouldn’t bee surprised if Microsoft started pushing into Google’s Chromebook territory by offering lightweight systems that just connect to their Azure Virtual Desktop. This is especially dangerous, because they already have a majority of mind share in the consumer desktop market.

These sorts of services are dangerous. You can be cut off at any time, for any number of reasons. Stuff as benign as “bank failed to authorize payment” all the way up to the very serious, Executive Order preventing you from accessing services. Once you’re out that’s it. You don’t have any recourse. All your data is gone. You don’t own any part of the chain, after all. You’re just renting.

This has been a long time coming. Microsoft tested the waters with Office 365, to great success. People balked, at first, at renting Office, but now if you’re not using Office 365 or one of it’s competitors, you’re basically wasting money on licensing, and IT operations time. Now we’re getting virtual desktops. VMWare tried this with some limited success in Horizon, but I think Microsoft is going to sell this well enough that we see companies start to move to it to save money and hassle. Time will tell, though.

Categories
Computers Rants

Executive Bullshit

I feel a bit smug right now. I know I shouldn’t, because lots of people have been unduly affected by this ridiculous order, but I still feel some level of satisfaction that Adobe has, again, a big pile of egg on their face.

Essentially, under the above order, no companies are allowed to do pretty much any business with persons, companies or governmental organizations in Venezuela. Including Adobe. To the point that anyone in that country will not only loose access to their software, creations and services — but have them deleted outright. No recourse, no refunds, no support, nothing. It goes to show you just how fragile the SaaS model is.

Despite that, these Executive Orders are comically overreaching the Executive Branch’s intended scope. Seriously, just being able to carte blanche embargo a whole country without the Senate or the House (you know, our Legislative branch, who are supposed to enact laws) weighing in on the issue. It’s not just this latest order, it’s all of the Executive Orders being able to be able to bypass the law-making process as being tremendously worrisome.

I know little of the situation in Venezuela, except that things are kind of all over the place. I don’t really have much connection to the area, which makes it hard for me to involve myself. Especially when I have plenty of crap here to consider and worry about.

Open source is the answer, as it is with many other restrictive actions taken against free people. It’s protected (currently) under free speech, because code is speech. It’s difficult to curtail and allows people to create and improve without restriction. Hell, it’s not even sold most of the time, making this very restriction moot.

Bah, fuck this whole travesty. Why do people have to be such assholes?