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Archive for the ‘Netflix’ Category

Living in a Cloud

In Accessibility, Cloud Computing, Netflix on October 26, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I’ve been an avid Netflix user for about, lets say, two years now. I had originally been a blockbuster guy, but after the discovery and realization that I am a lazy procrastinator, I decided to make the switch as to avoid any further exercise.  At first use, I found Netflix to be a very easy company to work with. Signing up only took seconds and the intuitive website made renting movies a piece of cake. Even the customer service is great. Anyways, after almost a month of getting my movies through the mail, I received an email informing me that I can now stream movies directly off of my Xbox 360. Naturally, I was thrilled. Turned my Xbox on, downloaded the Netflix software, and that was it… I was hooked.

I couldn’t believe how seamless the software was. I almost felt like a God, flying through thousands of movies, all categorized by genre and by films that Netflix thinks I would enjoy. The best part, for me, was that I could sit in front of the TV with my laptop and instantly add movies to my Netflix que on my Xbox. It really doesn’t get much easier than this… or does it? Just a few weeks ago I was messing around with my new iPad when I stumbled upon something that caught my attention, a Netflix application. No way, I thought. Can I now watch Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus on my iPad? I soon found the answer to be yes.

Netflix has changed my life, seriously. Since I started using it I’ve rarely shopped for DVDs, which ends up saving me boatloads of money. This maybe a bad thing for the film industry, but hey, I’m not one to complain about accessibility.

Aside from the fact that I obviously love Netflix, it’s important to note the comparison that can be made between Netflix and all wi-fi enabled consumer electronics. We are on the verge of full integration and compatibility with all our cell phones, computers and anything on wi-fi. Apple has been a step ahead of the program with applications like Mobile Me, allowing apple users to connect all of their products together over any available wifi network. Having said that, I wonder how soon it will be until all of our electronics, regardless of brand name or type, are joined together under the same cloud.

Right now, Apple and Google are preparing to release Google and Apple TV. Though slightly different, the products generally do the same thing. They connect your television to the Internet along with synching the devices in your household to the television, thus, forming a cloud network.

Cloud computing does have it’s fair share of obstacles ahead of it, mainly stemming from net neutrality. Is it fair for ISPs to direct access to websites that will be more profitable for the company? David Linthicum, a writer for infoworld.com, worries that net neutrality will restrict cloud computing from its full potential.

“The concept of allowing specific networks, especially wireless networks, to restrict or prioritize some traffic is a huge threat to the success of cloud computing. If provider networks are allowed to control traffic, they could give priority to the larger cloud computing vendors who write them a big check for the privilege. At the same time, smaller cloud computing upstarts who can’t afford the fee will have access to their offerings slowed noticeably, or perhaps not even allowed on the network at all.”

Unfortunately, because of the way a corporation is structured, it’s only a matter of time before the ISP shareholders start hounding down upper management for passing up on opportunities that would make the company money. This leads me to believe that even though cloud computing is right around the corner, we may not experience the full effect as ISPs begin to question the purpose of net neutrality laws.

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