I normally don’t pay much attention to what John Dvorak has to say, but in this case I think he’s got a point. He’s taken a look at the further implications of the Windows Activation outage and applied it to all web services by asking the question – is it any safer to depend on online access to your data?
Me, I take it with a grain of salt. I use online backups as a slower, redundant system in case a fire or something takes out the much faster backup system at the office. I use Flickr, and this blog as a way to communicate with other people. Both of these are things that I cannot do without the web. There’s a bit of a gray line when it comes to services like Google Calendar – which I sync or subscribe to via iCal so if I don’t have online access I still have a copy of my data from the last time I got online, and a backup if they ever cancel that service. I go to the trouble because it allows my wife and I to keep a common calendar where I can refer to it when I’m off at work.
The only place I use an online document system is Googles notebook – and that is also used strictly for communicating with the people I work with.
Anything else I do – image manipulation, document creation, general writing, I have my own tools on my own computers that will work whether or not the internet is available, and can always be attached as files and sent to people. Not wanting to depend on the availability of servers is one reason why I work this way. It just hadn’t occured to me to think in terms of “What if you have internet access but the service gets shut down.” After all, who’d have thought Google would shut a service down, especially after people paid for it?