Yesterday I spent the day trying to save my data from a dying hard drive and swap in a new one. It all turned out successfully. This is something I’ve done several times int he past, but this time I noticed one incredible difference from all my past experiences.

I wasn’t irrationally angry.

And I think I know the reason. In the past while cloning and swapping, all my data was essentially unavailable. The stress of fearing I might fail in the process and have to spend countless hours restoring from other backups or even lose some data made me wig.

I remember one evening when Windows 95 wouldn’t boot for me and I actually asked friends who were over at the time to leave until I got it fixed. I knew myself. I was not going to be pleasant to be around.

So what changed?

This time around I had my iPhone and iPad. I was able to access almost all the data I needed while my cloning churned away. I answered email, I edited documents, I read books and comics.

The few things not comfortably done on these devices could have easily been done on one of the other computers in our house too, just by using Mozilla Weave to get all my settings in my browser.

The cloud is what eased my mind. Having my data accessible in useful applications in ways I was familiar with meant I didn’t really sweat the swap. I know ‘terminal’ computing and other variants on the cloud have been predicted for years. I’m not saying we’ll all move to dumb terminals. But I think we really have ventured down a new road in how we interact and rely on our data. We’re going to think less about where it is in the future.