Clouds, Clouds, The Cloud!

Clouds, Clouds, The Cloud!

I love clouds. My wife loves clouds, too, especially those fluffy, white friendly puffs that move about the sky as if slow dancing. They are pretty, but I tend to be encouraged by the taller, cumulous clouds, dark and somewhat foreboding that hold promise of rain! Here in Texas, especially during the summer temperatures are brutal, eggs fry on the concrete, and a good rain is an unrequited hope. So much for clouds.

When the Internet began we all were fascinated by the way simple typing tasks evoked waves of data that showed up on our monitors as streams of letters or numerals, being extracted by “search engines’ out there in the Internet wastelands. I can remember purchasing a Commodore 64 for my daughter. Yet it was her cousin who understood the ‘code’ enough to make a stick figure hang itself! Kool. Many of you can remember the old Osborne computers, replaced by newer IBM units operating something called Microsoft OS.

Our first portable computer was a Sharp PC5000. It boasted a “module” similar to an 8 mm VHS tape in size that could store 124KB. Did you get that, 124 kilobytes, period! Those bytes were used for programs and data! Wow, how times have changed. No longer kilobytes, but gazigabytes of storage. Spinning hard drives gave way to more stable data platforms like solid USB drives, etc. As if these weren’t enough, the clouds rolled in.

Somewhere out there in cyberspace is this “cloud” that can store everything we can throw at it without data byte limits! They call it a cloud because they want you to think of those fluffy, friendly white things floating around. We have happier thoughts of fluffy white clouds up in the sky than what the alternative might be. Truth be told, there are numerous “clouds,” housed way underground, some the size of a small city! Why underground, you ask? I suppose one so you don’t see it, gasp, and fall over clutching your chest, being shocked by the enormity of what is going on! Don’t forget, governments need access to ‘clouds’ as much as we do, data co-mingling is not a new thing, just how you mine the bytes. More likely it has to do with keeping those cloud super-computers cool, it’s cooler down below (for a couple hundred feet at least).

Folks, there is nothing we can do about it, the cloud is with us and has changed our life. But that doesn’t mean life gets easier or simpler, it is just more complicated with steps along our path of enlightenment. And there are those that profit big by the subterfuge. Case in point. Historically, when you purchased something from a merchant, say Sears & Co. you went to the store, picked out the item, paid for it, and took it home. If later you wanted to return the item for a refund, you took it back  to the store and were paid on the spot! Enter ecommerce. You select an item at a merchants site, you pay for it with your trusted bank Credit Card, and no sooner than the blink of an eye one of the trusted delivery systems drops it at your front door!

Now then, if you have to return the item, (Buddha forbid!) you are faced with shipping it back, at your cost or theirs to be determined. So, you wait until THEY inform you the item is safely back and initiate a refund to your credit card. Those few days Your money is still in their hands, I mean, bank. Now, here is the grimace. The mechanics of you purchasing the item allowed for a quick payment to the merchant. However when you ‘get a refund’ you must wait anywhere from 3 to 7 working days for it to show up in your account. Did you catch that, ‘working days!’ Where is it on weekends or holidays? Once the merchant initiates the refund the whole process seems to enter an ethereal dimension all its own, a cloud perhaps! Your ‘money’ is out there, somewhere, but it doesn’t show up at your credit card company’s door for those 7 working days! Where does it go?”

I love it when this happens to my money with a bank. I have no idea the technicality of ‘who has ownership rights of the ‘money’ once refunded but not received. Is there a fiduciary out there collecting interest however miniscule for that 3-7 (could be 5-10 days!) day period? Why does it take so long to get a refund when the NSA can turn on your phone and eavesdrop on your conversation at the drop of a hat? Money in the hands of the elite never stops generating after its kind. If you think of the millions of people experiencing wait times for their money, somebody else is doing the cashing in on the miniscule interest or charges generated during the waiting period. Done millions of times a day involving millions of card/ bank holders, and what at first appears miniscule becomes a sizable chunk of change! A cloud may hold it, but somebody somewhere is experiencing a gargantuan Rainmaker day!

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