December 21, 2013

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A couple days ago I went to an Apple store with my iPhone 4, which was running down its battery for no apparent reason. I forget the diagnosis, which didn’t matter as much as the cure: wiping the phone and restoring its apps. I would lose settings, I was told, and whatever data wasn’t stored with the apps’ cloud services. There was really no choice. So I did it.

As a result, I seem to have lost at least all of the following:

  • Everything I’ve recorded with the Moves activity tracker since I got it early this year.
  • Every tune I’ve ever tagged with Shazam, going back to 2007. The screen shot on the left are two songs I tagged today. That’s all I’ve got
  • All data from all my games
  • All my settings, whatever they were
  • Other data I don’t even want to know at this point

Why can’t this data be restored? For example,

  • Why will Angry Birds Seasons welcome me back by name and not remember that I had already cleared nearly every game in every season? (Mostly riding in subways, by the way.)
  • What’s the point of having a login with Moves if it’s not to have a cloud that remembers my data? I can’t see data in Moves if I’m not online anyway, so I know the data is in a cloud somewhere.
  • Why should I lose every text and all records of recent phone calls?

I mean, if all this data is kept somewhere, why not in a place from which the data can be recoverad by users?

At this point, far as I know (which isn’t far enough), the only way to get my data back is to do this:

  1. Wipe the phone again
  2. Restore it from the last backup
  3. Take shots of screens with data in them, for every app I care about

Then I’ll have data in screen shots, rather than in a more useful form. But at least I’ll know what I lose when I “restore” the phone completely.

Obviously neither Apple nor the app makers care much about this. But users do. And where there is a will, there should be a way.

I believe the way is personal clouds for users, and APIs for the app makers.

Personal clouds are clouds that individuals have, for their own data. We should be able to make logical connections between our apps, the APIs of the app vendors, and our own clouds, facilitating automatic data backup to our own spaces, rather than just those of Apple, Google or the app makers.

Lots of companies and development projects doing that are listed here. If you know others that belong there, tell me.

[Later (24 December)]… Items:

I do, but that’s not why I’m unsubscribing

Lately I’ve been patching the roofs of my email inboxes, which leak a torrent of unwanted messages — in addition to the usual spam. I do this mainly by opting out of mailings, most of which I never requested. That’s why, when I received an automated mailing wishing me “a blessed 2014 from the AlwaysOn family,” I thought now would be a good time to opt out of  the large number of mailings I get from AlwaysOn. So I looked down to the bottom of the email, and found this:

Marketing automation is powered by our sponsor Marketo
You are receiving this email because you are a member of the AO Network, or are included in the Jigsaw or Venture Source database. To manage your subscription preferences click here.

I clicked on that last link (which I’ve depersonalized) and was delivered to a page that says this:

I wouldn’t be writing this if it weren’t for that last item. I hate having words put in my mouth.

Here’s the deal: I’m unsubscribing because I’m getting too many emails, and I have other ways of finding out what’s going on. That’s it.

I wish a blessed new year for the AlwaysOn family too. I hope they take this feedback as the positive kind I mean it to be.

And, if I want to get automated emailings from them again, I’ll opt back in.

Merry, Happy, etc.