music, technology & life in pasadena, california

The Big Beta Test

This week T*Mobile announced that due to a massive server outage almost all Sidekick data, including email, contact info, events and to-do lists are gone forever, vaporized into the ether of cloud computing. The Sidekick, you may recall, was one of the first phones to offer email and web access, a forerunner of today’s state of the art Apple iPhone.

The lesson here is to make sure that if you rely on a so-called smart phone or web application, you must have a reliable in-house backup method. This applies to services like Google’s Gmail, Yahoo Mail or any of their online services (calendar, to-do, etc) as well. All your info is stored on their servers, nothing resides on your computer. Should a mishap occur, you just can’t rely on that provider’s possibly nonexistent redundancy.

Cell phones…they’re an indispensable convenience in so many ways allowing us to do business from almost anywhere, keep tabs on the kids, get help in emergencies; the list goes on. They’ve been around for how many years now? Then, why is it no matter what phone you use, whether a lowly RAZR or the latest iPhone 3GS, do we still have to deal with dropped calls, voicemail messages that sometimes arrive a day late and other annoying anomalies that should have been taken care of long ago for a service that charges $50 or more per month?

I think it’s a big never-ending beta test.

October 16, 2009 Update: Microsoft, owner of the maker of the Sidekick phone, announced that they would be able to restore most, if not all of the data lost by the server outage.

October 14, 2009 | Link to this entry


Paul Viapiano is a guitarist working in film, television and live performance based in sunny Pasadena, California.

You can email me here.

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