Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Java Cloud

Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” On that note, I would like someone at Oracle to explain Java to me. And, I would also like someone at Java to explain Oracle to me.

About once a week, my computer alerts me to the fact that my Java desperately needs to be upgraded. Apparently, Java is made by Oracle. Oracle is a computer software company, I think, although I have never been truly sure what they do. All I really know is they have an office complex near my house, with signs at the street that say Oracle. I assume they are rather successful, since the place is pretty big, and the signs at the street are really nice, and their founder bought Hawaii last year.

Java is something they make, or made, or do, I think. They are vague on that subject. When they notify me that my Java is out of date, they say this: “There is a Java update available. Java provides safe and secure access to the world of amazing Java content.”

Great, so if I install Java, or update my existing Java, I can look at Java safely, in a secure manner.

Then they give me even more reason to update. “From business solutions to helpful utilities and entertainment, Java makes your internet experience come to life.”

OK, now we’re getting somewhere. My internet experience will come to life. So Java is involved in the internet somehow, with business, entertainment, and utilities. Internet-based business and entertainment utilities, perhaps.

Finally they explain it. “3 Billion Devices Run Java. Computers, Printers, Routers, Cell Phones, Blackberry, Kindle, Parking Meters, Public Transportation Passes, ATMs, Credit Cards, Home Security Systems, Cable Boxes, TVs...”

OK, we are finally there. Lots of other stuff besides my computer uses Java. Parking meters, for instance. And my credit card. And my TV. Loads and loads of things are benefiting from this safe and helpful entertaining business utility experience, made possible by all this amazing Java content.

Thanks, Ora-java-cle, you’ve made it perfectly clear why I need whatever it is that you are doing to my computer. Actually, I’m being sarcastic. It’s not clear at all. It’s actually perfectly cloudy. That’s another thing I don’t understand, by the way. The cloud.

I think at this point all my computer-based activities and data are in a cloud of some kind. Much like Java, I keep hearing about it, but I have no idea what it is. Everybody has a cloud these days. I’m not sure if they are all separate clouds or one big one. I would imagine they are separate, since Apple has a cloud, and I’m sure they don’t use the same one as everybody else. Theirs would have to be special, since it needs to be called the iCloud, and has to be perfectly puffy and white. Everyone else’s is probably gray and costs half as much. Who knows?

What I do know is that whoever came up with the term “cloud,” and decided to run with it, needs a lesson in marketing. “Carbonite keeps what's important to you safe in the cloud.” When was the last time you thought to yourself, “I need to keep this item safe and secure, free from harm and theft. I think I’ll store it in a cloud.”

Never? Thought so.

The only good thing associated with clouds is rain, and rain is only considered good in certain situations. Crops, yes. Torrential downpours and flooding, no. Rain has never been considered good for computers and phones, and the concept of “raining down” is not very attractive when it comes to your data. You don’t want your bank statements and the pictures of your family raining down out of the cloud all over Eastern Europe. Not good. Also, clouds are made of vapor. Vapor is another thing that you rarely want to associate with things that you wish to retrieve someday.

“How’s the outlook, Bob?”
“Great! The future looks really cloudy.”
“Super! Can I get that sales report from you?”
“Absolutely. It got vaporized.”

Whatever it is and however it works, we need a new, more reassuring name than the cloud. How about, “the vault?”

“Carbonite keeps what's important to you safe in the vault.” Now that’s more like it.

I’m not sure if my Java updates are coming from the cloud or not, but I do know they seem to be coming more frequently these days. I think I might know why, too. With every Java update lately, there is a pop-up screen with the “next” button, and the screen has a check box with "Install the Ask Toolbar and make Ask my default search provider." The check box is small, innocuous, and conveniently already checked for me.


Could it be that the cloud has delivered this Java-rific update to me simply so that Oracle can try to trick me into using their internet search tool? It’s tough to tell, because Oracle was kind enough to sum up why I need this latest update by telling me this: “By installing Java, you will be able to experience the power of Java, brought to you by Oracle.”


Back to Einstein’s quote, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that Oracle doesn’t understand what their own products do, so I have to conclude that old Albert left out an important second option. If you decline to explain it simply, even though you can, you’re probably trying to hide something.

I’m starting to think these Java updates with their cloudy explanations are just an elaborate ruse to get me to use That begs the next question: Does Oracle own or is Ask a separate company that paid Oracle to push their service on me?

Good question. I think I’ll Google it.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen

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