IMAP and Cloud Computing

I never liked ‘cloud’ computing, I like to *own* my stuff, have possession of it, even if its only virtual property. I like my emails on my computer rather then on yahoo or googles servers for anyone to hack into. Granted, with bits and bytes, there are copies of my emails on every server they’ve passed through anyways! Still, its kinda like the principal of it, and if nothing else, a little harder to get to all my emails, or virtual possessions.

Photos are another one, I don’t like putting them on Flickr, or facebook or any other sharing site because you never know when they could flip the switch on the license that nobody reads and start selling your work, your photos, your words, your intellectual property. Sure most of my stuff isn’t worth any more then platter its magnetized to (which isn’t much at all!) but again, its mine.

btw, what is Cloud computing? Its nothing less then mainframe computing (which is where this whole PC network thing started). Its come full circle basically where most of our PCs will simply be terminals doing processing and such on mainframes on the Internet controlled by big corporations!  Big companies and corporations controlling and housing all your data, yep!

However, we just started using google apps at work, with that is the use of IMAP. E-mail clients using IMAP generally leave messages on the server until the user explicitly deletes them. This and other characteristics of IMAP operation allow multiple clients to manage the same mailbox. Most e-mail clients support IMAP in addition to POP to retrieve messages; however, fewer email services support IMAP.[3] IMAP offers access to the mail store. Clients may store local copies of the messages, but these are considered to be a temporary cache.

One of the nice things is that now I can use any browser to login to my work mail and see a totally synchronized inbox, read messages on my work pc show as read online, and calendars are all available, and if I send or read anything in the browser, the next time my outlook client syncs, it will reflect all those updates. Now I have to admit that is great for mobility!

Its got me thinking about doing this for my personal email as I consider getting something like an iPad. On the iPad I’d want to check email but I would want my full mailbox to always be on my macbook too as ‘real’ work would be done there. Now, I could just ‘leave a copy on the server’ with pop3 but then I have no idea what I’ve read, what I haven’t read, can’t look up sent emails on either, calendars are not sync’d etc. So with gmail, they have the option which I think would be a perfect way to sync all my mail across platforms.

This is one step I never thought I’d be interested in but with different devices and wanting to have all my email accessible wherever I go, this is a handy tool.

You could use webmail like yahoo or gmail and just access your email through a browser and its with you wherever you go. True, but I never liked the browser email experience. I like local client emailing, snappier, more tangible etc, again, I feel like atleast I have a local ‘hardcopy’ of all my work rather than a totally virtual existance of emails. This is where I think IMAP might be the right fit for me.

IMAP is all part of cloud computing. So unfortunately, I now see the advantages of cloud computing, with the variety of devices we use from day to day – my macbook, iPod touch, friends computers and their browsers, etc. With cloud computing, now it doesn’t matter what device I use, I have access to all my stuff, everywhere (files done by services like dropbox).

Now, I’m not totally going to jump on the bandwagon with cloud files as well, thats a bit too much, for that I think I would stick with remote control of my mac from other devices to access files, do ‘heavy lifting’ software-wise etc.

All this accessibility and mobility is intriguing though. I hate the idea of my content being on servers but I suppose this is the way of the future 🙁 And I can’t get around the convenience of it, just too tempting.

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