The principle of separating content from design goes long way, from web development to information retrieval. As Wikipedia wraps it nicely “it is a specific instance of the more general philosophy, separation of concerns”. I have full heartedly embraced “separation of concerns” principle in my working habits. All my data (about 1TB of documents, spreadsheets, presentations and photos) are stored at the external hard drive, never at the desktop, laptop, smartphone. I do regular backups from my primary external hard drive to a couple of spare hard drives and cloud. The separation solves the problem of data loss with desktop/laptop/smartphone gone sore. The separation makes it a breath to switch from one computing device to another, with one exception – smartphone/tablet which brings me to another topic.
Two the most influential mobile companies in the world, Google and Apple, want to keep us locked forever in their infrastructure. They want us to use their clouds with all their associated services. Gone are days when early smartphones had their own micro USB data access, extractable memory card, micro HDMI. Not any more, mobile companies send a message, actually quite a few of them:
- cloud is the only hard drive you need;
- if you need more memory on your device, buy more expensive model. Slot for extractable flash memory card violates holistic purity of mobile device;
- if you need to connect your smartphone to a larger display, figure out something on your own – we are not ready, it’s a small ripple in the sea of IoT.
Well, that leaves me three options:
- OTG cable, not an easy way that requires root access;
- cloud which brings me to the problem of asymmetric access (fast downstream, slow upstream);
- and finally wireless hard drive which seems the most obvious solution, preserving the same convenient “separation of concerns” mode of work.
How much cost the regular wired portable external hard drives? Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEA1000400) or WD 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 – WDBUZG0010BBK-EESN, selling at about $50 at Amazon.
How much cost their wireless brethren? Seagate Wireless Plus 1TB Portable Hard Drive with Built-in WiFi (STCK1000100) – $141 and WD 1TB My Passport Wireless Portable External Hard Drive – WIFI USB 3.0 – WDBK8Z0010BBK-NESN – $145. About three times more. Both wireless hard drives in my example are WiFi devices only, no Bluetooth. Either WiFi or Bluetooth chip (including integration) should not cost more than $5-$10 in mass production. Why three times? It’s easy, to rob us blind because we allow it. We lost ability to see simple small truths behind the smoke wall of glorifying tech terms: cloud, IoT, connected world. It’s not about connected world, it’s about charging three times more for the same essential commodity.