The Wall Street Journal reports that “A federal appeals court struck down the Federal Communications Commission's open Internet rules, in a ruling that could give broadband providers more room to charge content companies for faster speeds.” Will this reverse the trend to “cloud” and return us to “personal” computing? 

In the late 1970s I utilized a “dumb terminal” to access the MSCS (McAuto Schedule Control System) mainframes in Saint Louis to schedule my many projects. Of course, I had to plan to run these at night and not during the “premium charge” daytime hours to meet the requirements of my employer. When I hung out my own shingle in 1983, I used my Osborne 1 personal computer with a 300 baud modem to now work with a “smart terminal,” with now my own account with MSCS and being able to prepare and batch send and receive data. Of course, now I really had to do my thing from midnight to 6am.  

Having a PC untethered me. I wrote my own CPM scheduling software using dBase. And then I bought a simple CPM software product limited to 400 activities, and modified to do up to 2000. This was a heck of a lot cheaper for fees and long distance phone charges, and allowed me to sleep at night. And then I upgraded to a Compaq PC and was given a copy of Westminster Pertmaster (not related to current PRA) and later a copy of Primavera by these software developers (in return for some intellectual property and review).  

The ubiquity of the internet reversed the trend to untether computing power. Market forces have driven use of desktops and laptops to decreasing market share as my “smart” phone (with an ever increasing size screen) has become my – well actually not so smart terminal for CPM and other computing services. But all this has been based upon unlimited data pushed down the internet. 

What will become of the cloud solutions of Oracle, Deltek and even Microsoft as internet vendors now charge a premium for high use connectivity, for “business” users, and for assured access to my licensed computer solution or even to my data?  

If Verizon or Comcast charge Oracle, Oracle will charge me. If I desire to back up my data, with increasingly larger files, how much will I be charged for access and transmittal? As a consultant, I need to have access to and security of my client data. Running “what-ifs” I do not wish to be fettered by cloud fees, internet fees, 4G phone fees, and subject to aperiodic loss of connectivity. My clients likewise may wish to work beyond the tether of internet connectivity.  

It looks like the rush to the “cloud” is going to have some growing pains. It looks like the reports of death of personal computing may be premature. It’s deja vu all over again. 

Construction CPM Conference is set to begin Tuesday evening January 21st and run through the 24th. We will have a selection of both tethered and untethered software solutions for you to evaluate. See for more information.