My 11 year-old son was watching videos of Minecraft on YouTube the other day when my wife asked him “…what happens to all the rubbish videos on YouTube? Do they keep them?”.

“Yes of course they do” came his reply. My wife quizzed further –

“but isn’t that just a load of rubbish that’s taking up resources”

“No – it’s all stored in the cloud”. Amused, she asked him

“Which cloud? – that one out there?” pointing at a fluffy white structure in the sky.

“No – it’s on the Internet” said Matthew.

“But that still takes resources: electricity and so on”

“No Mum” he said “you don’t understand. The Internet is…” and with a majestic sweep of his hands in a grand arc through the air, he said “…everywhere”. He then went on “Ask Dad – he’s says the Cloud is practically infinite”.

I get the feeling I may have over-egged the pudding when talking about apparently infinite cloud-resources to him. It’s a bit of a language warning for me. The further away from the internals of the technology people are, the more precise our language needs to be when explaining it to them – so that we don’t create a fundamentally wrong impression. In this case describing the cloud as almost infinite gave the impression there was no cost; monetary, environmental or otherwise, in the same way that sand in the desert appears infinite and therefore has no value. Or snow in Antarctica.

Planky – GBR-257