I woke up this morning bright and early (something to the tune of 4 AM) to do some homework for my CS 312 class. By about 7:30, after a few hours of reading and writing LaTeX on my laptop, I had it all done and stored safely away in my Dropbox.
I left my laptop at home and took my netbook (my usual M.O.). I went up to campus to print the three pages of proofs and discovered to my horror that Dropbox was down. My netbook couldn’t connect via the desktop app, and I couldn’t get on the website with the campus computers either. I had about 10 minutes before class was to start. In a word: I was stuck. Resigned to my fate, I left the library and walked to class.
Naturally, as soon as I sat down in class and logged in, Dropbox was back up. But I was already too far from a printer to turn it in on time. I emailed it to my professor; we’ll see if he accepts it. It was on time, just not printed.
The moral of the story: No matter how reliable anyone says their service is going to be, I can’t trust them to deliver when their services are mission-critical for me.
That worries me somewhat at times, because most of my work is online: Google Calendar, Gmail, Toodledo, Google Docs, Dropbox. Even this blog, which is a self-hosted installation, is running on some virtual server at A Small Orange. My digital life (and, currently, most of my digital identity) is dependent on a whole lot of Internet players. If any one of them goes down, I don’t have a lot of redundancy to help me cope.
For the time being, I’ll just have to put my assignment on a flash drive (shudder) when I go to print them. Or at least bring the same computer that had the original file….