Friday, April 17, 2015

My new cloud computer, which will never need to upgrade?

What have been stopping me from upgrading my computer is the pain to migrate from one machine to the other. Over the years, I have intentionally made myself less reliant on one computer by sharing files across machines using dropbox or google drive. I still have a big and old (see note below) office desktop that holds all my career (or most of it). Every time I need to work on something, I put a folder in the dropbox and work on the laptops on the go, at home, in a coffee shop.

Using Columbia's Lion Mail google account, we receive 10 TB cloud storage on google drive. This is more than enough to hold all my files. A personal PC should have the following components: file storage, operating system, input/output devices, user softwares and user contents. I just decided to move the file storage/user content component of my computer onto the cloud. Next step would be moving the most essential user softwares onto the cloud and remotely connect to the cloud from any web browser to work. I can't wait to set up a remote cloud-based R studio server to try out.

This whole thing started when I was searching for a faster desktop replacement. I saw the price required to buy the best available desktop and compared it with the pricing of cloud computing engines. The $8000 price tag or higher of a most powerful PC/Mac will afford me non-stop computing on a 16-core cloud engine with 64MB or higher for two full years. Consider the idle time a PC is likely to have, it may be equivalent to 4-5 years. It seemed to me the best "personal" computer now is on the cloud.

Will this remove the need to go through the upgrading of our dearest work laptop? Not completely. We will still be buying new laptop to work on. But it will be more like upgrading an iPhone or iPad. This thought is enough to make my heart sing.

Note: my office pc was born 2006 and still going strong. Following an advice my mom, a computer science professor, gave me about 20 years ago, I bought the best specification possible at that time.

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