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Even my tech-savvy kid couldn’t help me understand how the Cloud works

I have a Mac computer, two iPads, a current iPhone and an old iPhone I now use as an iPod. I also have Dropbox and iCloud accounts. Everything is supposed to sync so that the same files, photos, music and apps appear everywhere. Imagine my consternation a few days ago when I realized I had three songs in my computer’s iTunes library instead of the more than 4,000 I thought were there. Luckily, the 4,000 songs were still showing up on my iPhone and other devices.

Of course, I turned to one of my tech-savvy children for help. He sat down at my computer, expertly flexing his fingers, and sure enough, in a matter of minutes, I was signed up for iTunes Match. The next thing we knew, all the songs had disappeared from my iPhone as well! I felt slightly less old and feeble.

I’m really not that bad. I am a fairly competent technology user, but the whole Cloud thing has advanced beyond my abilities. From what I can tell, hardly anyone else gets it either — unless they live in Cupertino, California. There is a well-known line from the movie Sex Tape that illustrates this point. After a wife, played by Cameron Diaz, asks her husband, played by Jason Segel, why he can’t “take down” the very private video he has accidentally shared on the Internet, he wails, “Nobody understands the Cloud. It’s a @#$% mystery.”

When I looked up the phrase “nobody understands the Cloud” on Google, I got 172,000 results. When I looked up the phrase “recover your iTunes” I got 79.5 million results! I am clearly not alone. Tens of millions of otherwise capable people have managed to delete all their music from their computers.

What really gets me is how the stuff that I actually want to delete keeps coming back. I just asked two younger women in my office if they are able to delete photos and have them stay deleted. Nope.

So, I will have to live with the fact that every time I delete a photo in which my arms look fat, that photo will come back, but my 4,000 songs will remain missing in action unless I can find them on an old computer and safely escort them to my new one.

I just tried a little experiment. I said, “Nobody understands the Cloud” to Siri, the automated know-it-all voice on my iPhone, and she responded, “I’m not sure I understand.” So then I tried again: “Siri, do you understand the Cloud?” She responded, “This is about you, not me.”

Thanks a lot, Siri.

Maybe I can ask her to play me some music.

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