In relation to “Downsize“, relating to people moving from hard copy to electronic forms of art and music, including the use of clouds, Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows (reproduced with permission):
The newspaper reports that about every 11 years, the sun becomes very active with spots and flares. These flares shoot out into space and if, by chance, they are aimed at Earth, the aurora borealis flares with that energy. Once in awhile the flare is so great, or so is the prediction, that it could knock out satellites circling Earth, and all the transformers that power our civilization with electricity. And that would be the end of the “cloud” and all the books and music people had electronically stored there. Apparently we are in that part of the 11 year sun cycle currently. Apparently there was such a flare recently that missed Earth. The Carrington event, being the solar storm of 1859, fried all the telephone and telegraph equipment then existing. Apparently it would take 2-3 years to replace all the transformers.
So while I am a Kindle devotee, and while I recognize that I no longer need my art books and CDs thanks to Apple and the Cloud, I am keeping my real books and CDs.
Imagine you went all electronic and one day woke to find the power off for several years, and the cloud gone. You’d have gone from high civilization to Stone Age culture in a flash – literally, as the power shorted out all over the world. It’d make a good novel, but a poor ending, if we had to live it. I shall hope to have lived my whole life in the prequel to the New Stone Age.