I Finally Had It With Windows.

Well it’s a while since I posted on my blog, running my own business means time to have a rant about Microsoft or anyone else for that matter has been limited.

I felt I should add something new rather than let my blog fester so here are some thoughts on things in 2019.

Since I last posted in 2017 about the then new Windows 10 my love affair with Windows has ended and I am now only using Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine on my Linux Mint 19.1 operating system. Why I hear you ask?

Well, I finally got sick of the constant disruptive updates, the suspicion that everything you do on Windows (like with Google when using their search engine) is being recorded and analysed and stored in databases somewhere so that they can monetise everything you do.

I accept that with Google to a degree as you don’t pay for most of the things they provide (Google Maps, Earth, StreetView, Gmail etc etc), but with Microsoft I have paid for my Windows version (I am an MSDN subscriber and it costs me about £400 per year to have Visual Studio and access to some server stuff like SQL Server and some Operating Systems like Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 should I want them to test my applications on/against).

So why was I seeing adverts in File Manager, loads of stupid games and apps getting installed without my permission (well they probably embedded it somewhere in a very long legal document that I acknowledged when installing the O/S but who lives long enough to read these things [and they know and rely on that fact] which is totally “weasel” as far as I am concerned, it’s very much like the Vogons in Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy “well the notice about Earth being destroyed to make way for the intergalactic freeway was posted for 6 months on Alpha Centauri for you to lodge a complaint, if you can’t be bothered to read it well that’s your problem!” or words to that effect). Also apps I previously installed disappearing from the start menu when they got updated?? And this is the Professional version of Windows not the Home one!!

So the above and the fact that the last three major updates had caused so much grief; one interfered with my antivirus causing a blue screen on boot up. Another locked me out because it disabled my USB ports so I couldn’t use my mouse and keyboard and had to jump through a crash boot game that eventually got me to safe mode so that I could disable the offending update. The third didn’t actually get me but if I hadn’t switched to Linux Mint I wuld have fallen foul of the bug that deleted user data (how Microsoft got so slipshod that, that one got through I do not know, but clearly they need to get some serious testing capability back in house).

All these cumulative pains with Windows and the constant feeling that all Microsoft cared about was Cloud services and to hell with their Windows customers, particularly non-business ones, made me finally throw in the towel and wipe Windows off my machine and switch to Linux Mint.

It was very strange at first as Linux is a lot the same and a lot different to Windows and it takes a while to get your head around the differences. It has a start menu and a task bar (I use the Cinnamon version), it has desktop icons and generally behaves like you would expect.

You have Linux equivalents of most software, I now use LibreOffice to replace Word Excel Access and PowerPoint and Evolution mail to replace Outlook. Linux has all the utilities for opening PDFs (Document Viewer), editing images (Pinta, Shotwell, GIMP) and videos (Shotcut, Kodi), burning CDs and DVDs (Brasero) and so on. All is free and open source so you can look at the code and make changes if you want as long as you send your changes back to the original developers in case they like what you did and want to add it into the mainstream version.

I really feel that Linux Mint, Ubuntu (which Mint is derived from) and Fedora are all mature stable easy to use GUI based Linux versions that anyone coming from a Windows background could switch to and only have minor issues that any Linux expert could help them with (and do in the nowadays much friendlier Linux forums).

The days of having to do a lot of command line stuff is long gone, for normal users I doubt they ever need to use a command line. Techs like me do like to use command lines, but I would think that a normal user nowadays would need a command line as much as a Windows user would.

I have installed Linux Mint on a number of my client’s PCs and I have no more support calls from them than I did with Windows, probably less in fact, as Linux just works and doesn’t keep wanting to restart all the time which will be a great relief for most Windows users.

Linux Mint Cinnamon Desktop

If you want to give Linux Mint a try, you can download an ISO file and burn that to a DVD and it makes you a bootable disk that you can run on your existing Windows PC without needing to install it so that you can try it out before switching over.

You can download the ISO image from the Linux Mint website:


Have fun!


Windows 10 – Where is it all Going?

Windows 10 grew out of the mess that was Windows 8. As a long standing Windows user I have to say that Windows 8.0 was a disaster. As a developer on Windows and an MSDN subscriber I was given early access to the early versions of Windows 8.0 and all of us were screaming at Microsoft to change direction as we could see that their “touch first” mantra was going to alienate the vast majority of their user base. As usual, Microsoft was playing “me too” trying to cash in on the iPad craze rather than sticking with the tried and tested Windows platform.

Well, as we all know that did not go well. When it became clear that very few Windows users were even slightly interested in “touch first” and the whole iPad fad would scoop up all the people who really didn’t need or want a full blown PC, but for about a year looked like a whole new market that was going to displace PCs forever. Again we all know how that went!

Now Windows 10 is more like the Windows of old, there is a recognisable start menu and task bar and the touch stuff is there for those people who like it but not at the expense of the vast majority like me who do not.

So where does Microsoft see Windows going now? The new boss of Microsoft, Satya Nadella is obsessed with cloud and his focus with Windows seems to be around using it as a vehicle to get you and I to sign up to the myriad cloud based services that Microsoft offer. This will be things like Office 365 and OneDrive at the corporate level it is Office, Linked In, Skype for Business etc.

I for one am losing patience with Microsoft, they are obsessed with profit and seem to have lost all interest in their customers. All they seem to want to do is sign you up for one service or another.

Thankfully there is an alternative, Linux is a free operating system that you can run on your PC with no need to pay any licence fees or subscriptions and offers Office programs and other applications that allow you to do pretty much what you could with Windows.

Linux is not as polished as Windows, but given that it’s free, I can live with most of its rough edges.

There are now a lot of people who have changed over to Linux in order to escape the Windows or Apple lock in.

If you are sick of licence fees and lock it’s check out Linux Mint, or Ubuntu, which ate friendly Linux installations that can easily replace Windows or MacOS.


Windows 10 Technical Preview


Yes the Windows Start Menu is back!!!

It’s definitely a big improvement, the key worry for me as an IT Consultant with Windows 8 and even 8.1 was that the only way you could sell it to businesses was to patch it with Stardock’s Start8 or some other similar Start Menu replacement so that the business was not facing a huge training bill.

Most businesses have spent thousands on getting users where they are and don’t want to have to purchase new training materials and employee training companies to get staff moved over to this new paradigm. Particularly as the economic environment was not the best at the time Win 8 came out.

The last thing you need as a business in a recession is staff taken out of the business doing training courses as it a) costs money for the course and b) you lose the person being trained from productive work.

It didn’t also help that the Metro Apps in Windows 8 were so Noddy that they were embarrassing to say the least. If you want to sell the new Metro Interface you don’t want to do it with sub par applications and there was little and still is little, that is compelling to business users in the Metro/Modern/Universal format.  The issue still hasn’t changed and I don’t think ever will that business users need the precision of a mouse and keyboard to do productive work, poking about with your finger is never going to be optimal for a spreadsheet user, an accountant or a typist.

That is why I think if they can pull off the switch in format between desktop mode and tablet mode within the one O/S they are onto something with Windows 10.  During the day you use your computing device in a docking station with a keyboard and mouse and it behaves like Windows XP or Windows 7, undock it and take it home in tablet format and it instantly switches to “poke with your finger mode” which is useful when doing consumption things like reading web pages, watching videos, playing simple games.

From what I have seen of Windows 10,  (I am running my work PC with it.  I have to do that or I just won’t use it in anger and really flush out the bugs and find all the new features.  I am capable of wiping and re-installing all my stuff should I hit a showstopper, but I wouldn’t recommend that to my clients),  in the 15 days I have been running it, is that it’s stable and very usable.

I really like the fact that you can run Metro Apps in a Window and tile them alongside traditional Windows applications. I hated the way Windows 8 forced a full screen shift on you hiding your task bar and generally being a very jarring experience.

I like the multiple desktops a la Linux, I have one desktop for development work, another for Outlook and Office. The multiple desktops need a bit more work as it’s not intuitive yet but I am sure they are working on it.

I like the combined start menu it looks a bit strange at first, but you soon get used to its mixed personality. They could do with making the way you size it better, I would like it to be more tall than wide and you can’t really size it in all directions (or if you can I can’t figure how you do it).

Overall 8 out of 10 and I hope if they really are listening to us testers it will reach 10 pretty quickly.

Windows Blue–A Chink Of Light

Following on from my previous post about my fears that Windows Blue was actually not going to undo some of the terrible things Microsoft had done to its loyal desktop users, it now transpires that they have actually listened to their customers and senior management have finally sent down an edict to the Windows developers that the user SHOULD be able to bypass the start screen and boot straight into the desktop like Windows 7 if they want. 

I know as a developer myself that this will have annoyed those developers that have put hundreds maybe thousands of hours of their lives into creating the new Start Screen and the Live Tiles technology.  Allowing the customer to bypass that and ignore it completely would bug me if I had spent chunks of my life inventing that, but the bigger picture is that the customer IS actually right and they DON’T want the METRO User Interface shoved down their throats, particularly if they are using a PC that uses a mouse and a keyboard for productive work. To me once you start using your Metro full screen applications, you can’t see the live tiles anyway, so it was a bit pointless at best unless you take the view that you were just going to turn on your tablet and just stare at the live tiles all day???


As you can see above I very rarely look at my Live Tiles as I don’t have any apps in view that present Live Tiles because I am a desktop user and just never want to see it, to me it’s just a mess (I don’t know why PHP is in amongst my games??? like I really care anyway!!).

Given that Microsoft appear to have seen sense (I say “appear” because this is all based on a confirmation from an MS insider that Mary Jo Foley deals with and isn’t yet official public Microsoft policy):


But if it is true and I am pretty sure it is ….


The move to allow users to put back the Start button (we’re still not sure if they are actually going to put the Start Menu back yet), but I think they should, as that is what makes existing users feel so bad about Windows 8, it’s that jarring experience going between the desktop and the new start screen, it’s just horrible I hate it and no matter how fond of live tiles you are, this constant switching of modes between desktop and Metro is just plain nasty

What MS seemed to be ignoring and a lot of the commenters who are in favour of the new UI miss, is that the new UI is great if you’re using Windows 8 on a tablet or mobile device where you are not doing anything productive because your using the very blunt (in all senses of the word) tool of your finger.

Yes on a device that the finger is your main input device and because it has no keyboard and mouse is the ONLY possible device that makes sense, then yes Metro works and is a sensible and logical way to interact with a computer.

Where MS are completely wrong is trying to apply that interface to people like me who want to be using desktop computers for years to come and who will NEVER EVER want to poke about with our fingers. Poking about with my finger, writing with a pen or even talking to my PC are just not as efficient as using a keyboard and a mouse.

I can type much faster than I can write with a pen and when I am thinking what to say, the keyboard is more efficient. That’s because when trying to talk to my computer and apply my constant corrections as I rethink what I am about to type, takes too long using verbal commands.

(Believe me I have used “Dragon Naturally Speaking” and although when I think a sentence and get it perfectly right [and I have spent hours training it], the speaking is faster than typing.  However when you take out the time correcting my work it’s not, as the commands to re-edit my text are much slower than using the keyboard).  So again it’s a solution looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.

Sure you can use all sorts of clever people to come up with neat ways of achieving what you do with a keyboard and a mouse with your finger, but at best it’s forcing a cack handed technique one me that is just longer winded and less efficient and just annoys the hell out of me because it’s slowing me down. 

Which is why most of us non trendy people who don’t use tablets to do real work on their computers, can see Microsoft forcing a wholly inappropriate interface on us and damaging our future productivity when they finally phase out the desktop chasing Apple for iPad customers who are a completely different demographic to their core Windows user.

That’s why I keep suggesting here in my blog and on the various blogs and forums like Paul Thurrot’s Supersite For Windows and Mary Jo Foley’s blog at ZDNet and others, that what Microsoft need to do is realise that trying to force these two mutually exclusive interfaces into one O/S is wrong.

On tablets and phones and other mobile touch centric devices Metro is great. I have a Windows 8 tablet and when I just want to read on the sofa or in bed, Metro works like a charm and I think it’s as good if not better than the alternatives from Apple or Google, same on my HTC 8X I love it there, it makes sense it works with my stubby pointing device.


(you can see why I don’t want to use touch on my twin 24” monitors as I have greasy fingers)!

So have Metro on Windows RT devices running on ARM chips and get great battery life and accept that Metro Apps are the way to go in that environment.  On my tablet I never go anywhere near the desktop EVER. It just doesn’t work with my finger because it was designed to work with very accurate mice pointers and so it should stay.

Don’t try and make the desktop work with a finger, you are undoing 30 years of evolution of the desktop environment that is pretty damn efficient and is in no need of change in that direction.  I am sure there are other innovations that the desktop could embrace but using your finger isn’t one of them.

I think if Intel can produce devices that have ARM like performance and very low power consumption and that can lead to the creation of tablet type devices that cost £150 to £200 in price, the reason to buy iPads or Android tablets would become less of an issue. 

Most Windows users would probably buy them as a companion device to their desktop PC (I know I would) and the OEMs and Microsoft should distinguish them from Windows PCs and sell them as the Windows flavoured tablet from Microsoft that CAN’T run Windows desktop applications, but embraces this key new tablet interface that runs Modern UI applications. 

The thing that would also sell this to a lot of users is the ability to print to your printer like a PC, which is an issue for Android tablets where printing is not baked in and you have to buy third party apps that are patchy at best.

If they do that I can see both sides of Windows flourish again and they would keep their existing productivity users (mainly in businesses) happy and the new market of tablet users would have an alternative to Apple or Android that brings them a more familiar Windows style experience that is tuned for a touch device.

So if they have seen sense and taken the pragmatic decision to allow us desktop users to turn Metro Off officially and resurrect the start menu and booting to the desktop and thus avoiding the irrelevant (to us at least) Start Screen, I for one applaud them for taking that decision and listening at last to their loyal users.  It may just save Microsoft in the long run as I can’t imagine where they were headed if they absolutely stuck to the course they were on.


Windows 8, Windows Blue and the future of Windows

In the last couple of weeks it has emerged that the following things are true:

  1. Windows 8 sales are disappointing.
    Link to Computerworld post
  2. Windows Surface tablets have not sold well, particularly the Surface RT version.
    Link to gadgets.ndtv.com post
  3. Windows 8’s Bundled Applications are in need of some work.
    Link to ZDNet post

To me, if I was in charge of Microsoft, I would be hearing Windows Vista and Windows ME warning bells right about now. It is clear to anyone that Windows 8 is a step too far.  The existing user base just do not get Windows 8 and particularly the business clients who do get it, but don’t want any of it on their mainstream work PCs, as the immense costs of retraining folk to use Windows 8 and Office 2013 if they are still in the Windows XP, Office 2003 era (like one of my large Bank clients) would be horrendous.

Windows 8 is designed to move Microsoft forward, hell they even called the Metro interface the “Modern UI” when they discovered that they would face a copyright issue in Europe using that name. So they see it as the future. Unlike the Bill Gates era Microsoft, whenever they created a new paradigm, they did it in a way that businesses and seasoned users could migrate slowly to the new way of doing things by giving them the option to enable the old way of doing things and eventually turn that off as the new concept gained traction.  It seems now that Microsoft don’t care, all they can see is chasing Apple for a chunk of the iPad market share and it seems to be at the expense of their dedicated desktop PC users.  If I was on the MS board I would be asking Steve Ballmer for his keys to the executive suite and putting someone in who has a better handle on the needs of the traditional user base and in particular their business users. I cannot see that anyone who works on spreadsheets, accounts packages or edits photos or Videos would ever want to be using their finger for that?

Microsoft are working on Metro versions of MS Office and I am really keen to see how the hell you can do that using your finger as a replacement for a mouse. I am sure they will do it (I have seen the rotary dial device used in OneNote for Metro), but if you have used that you will know that OK you can get things done, but at what cost in time? It takes about 5 steps to do what you could do in 1 step in the Desktop/Mouse version.  This is not progress, it just smacks of using smart people to figure out how to make a thing work in a completely wrong environment. Most desktop users will just think this is just “art for art’s sake”.

If someone can demonstrate to me how using Metro can make me more productive when working on a spreadsheet, a database, an accounts package, a development environment or a photo editing application then I will switch wholeheartedly to using Metro, until then I remain sceptical!!!

Windows Blue

A lot of people like me were hoping that Windows Blue (A software update for Windows 8 to fix a number of issues in the current incarnation) might see Microsoft seeing sense and doing some of the obvious things that need doing to make Windows 8 usable for the majority of existing users. However it now seems from a leaked early version, that the emphasis is not on getting some sanity back into Windows 8 but is heading more in the direction of Metro and further away from the desktop:



I am in the camp that wants to believe that MS are not stupid, they know that the majority of their revenue comes from Business customers and they are your traditional desktop user not an iPad user, admittedly a lot of business users are additionally using iPad like devices, but they are the Sales Execs or senior management who use them as devices for consuming daily reports or reading news etc.  but the serious work gets done on desktop PCs with a mouse and a keyboard.

I think they (Microsoft) are after what they currently see as the bigger market i.e. non-business home users, ultimately they seem to want to move away from the desktop, but hopefully they will realise that this market for tablets is actually a fad that will subside like the “netbook” fad did.  Tablets are a new form factor and they make sense for consumers who want to do just that “consume”, they are not for people who want to be “productive” and that’s where I part company with the current Microsoft vision of the future. I cannot see how if you limit your operating system to be only targeted at the consumer that it can possibly work for the productivity user. These things are mutually exclusive.  That is why (ironically) Apple still maintain a separate operating system for desktop PCs (OSX) and a different one for their tablets and mobile devices (IOS). Why can’t Microsoft get this?

Here’s what should happen

  1. Make Windows RT the version of Windows for tablets and mobile devices, let’s call it “Windows for Mobile” (W4M). The reasons for using the RT version is that it runs only on low power ARM chips (also include whatever Intel comes up with in the future to match the ARM chips in W4M). In this version the desktop is banished as this version is designed specifically for users poking about with their fingers as the only input device. I use a Windows 8 tablet and I would be happy with this, I never want to see the desktop when I am on my tablet, if I do then I’ll switch back to my laptop or desktop PC to do that. Basically the W4M version is all about tablets and touch usage and banishes the old desktop paradigm.
  2. Make Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro the versions of Windows for desktop users (W4D & W4D Pro). In these versions the desktop is the default, but a user can turn on the Metro environment through the control panel if they wish. Instead of grabbing the whole screen, Metro apps run in Windows like Stardock’s ModernMix application (http://forums.stardock.com/440939), this means a desktop user can run Metro applications but in a way that fits in with the desktop environment (not the other way round). The W4D versions can “have their cake and eat it” because they are powerful enough and are not trying to eke out 10 hours battery life like tablets and other mobile devices usually are.

Whether Microsoft will see sense before it’s too late I don’t know, but if they persist with this “touch first” nonsense for desktop PCs I can see them being consigned to history as the company that threw away its loyal user base trying to chase a market that was already owned by Apple.


Windows 8 What Microsoft Should Do … And Soon!

Windows 8 just looks to me to be another ME/Vista. The applications are all about form over function (I refer to them as the “Duplo” versions of real applications).  Everything Microsoft does at the moment seems to be focused on trying to be like Apple.  I can’t tell you how much this distresses me.

Windows users are all about function and a little bit of form as long as it doesn’t get in the way of function.  Apple’s ethos is for people who are more focused about how a thing looks than how it performs and gives value for money.  Why do Microsoft feel they have to be like them with Windows 8?  Apple are capturing the non PC literate home user segment, but these people were never going to buy a desktop PC running Windows. They are a different market who just want a device that’s not a PC that allows them access to the internet and Facebook whilst on the move. 

So if Microsoft want in on that market, produce a device and an Operating System that goes after that but don’t disrupt/piss off the great user base that they already have chasing a completely different segment of society.  Desktop users may not be buying a lot of PCs because the power and quality of the PCs they have are still good enough to do the job they bought them for. Don’t forget, we are in a real nasty recession that is making us all watch the pennies at the moment.  Once that passes and their PCs start to need replacing then PC sales will jump and probably make tablet sales look weak!!

Windows 8 applications are just for tablets, but I am very worried that very soon Microsoft are going to be calling all desktop applications “Legacy” and in a future Windows release will be disabling the old desktop and that’s it, you have finally killed me as a Windows user off.

I have been a loyal Microsoft fan and have recommended their products for the best part of 25 years and I must be honest, right now I am starting to think about switching to Linux and open source.  I have recently changed my sister from an XP box to a new PC running Linux Mint and she is very happy with it.  I have done the same for my parents, as I really can’t see them wanting or coping with Windows 8.

So how can Microsoft fix this?  Microsoft need to stop, take stock of where they are and then in my humble opinion do the following:

  1. Separate Windows 8 Metro as a purely Tablet and Phone Operating System.
  2. Make Windows 9 like the Windows 8 Desktop (with a start menu ) and give us all the performance benefits of an Operating System for tablets that runs on a desktop x86 style processor.  So Windows 9 actually runs better with less resources than Windows 7, but has all the chrome and usability that Windows 7 gave us. You can lose the Aero transparency completely, it was just another pointless thing that gave no real benefit to using a PC and I suspect it was trying to emulate Apple again (DON’T DO THIS SORT OF THING UNLESS YOU CAN DO IT WITH NO PERFORMANCE DROP AND NO POWER USAGE INCREASE).
  3. Stop trying to make everything run in the cloud and just treat it as a convenient storage space that can be accessed everywhere and demonstrate to people like me that it is 100% secure from prying eyes and the Government.
  4. Ignore Apple with the main Windows product, they cater for a different segment. If you are not careful they will seriously come after your segment (desktop business PC users) and then you really will be dead. If you want some of their market for tablets, develop your Metro based O/S and Surface tablets purely with tablets and fingers in mind and DO NOT try and force this onto mouse and multiple screen users who want none of it. If you could produce a Surface tablet that just runs Metro and has 10 hours battery life and costs $199 you would wipe the floor with Apple. (I would probably be keen to learn Windows 8 development as you would have a huge user base that would be worth developing games for).
  5. Focus all future Windows desktop releases on:
    1. Improving performance so that Windows works better using less RAM and runs cooler on existing CPUs.
    2. As a result of A above, battery life on netbooks and laptops improves to the point where running an x86 CPU on a laptop with Windows can last for a full working day without compromising on performance like we had to with existing netbooks.
    3. Improve backwards compatibility by developing technologies like Windows XP Mode further and making it as transparent to the user as possible. This will help the entire Windows ecosystem, as business users will be able to bring their highly valued and very expensive to develop applications easily into the new O/S, rather than it being seen as a barrier to upgrading. Net result, hardware manufacturers and support people like me will get work building new PCs and implementing the software on them and the economy as a whole will benefit from the activity. Users will see improved performance and better power usage encouraging them to upgrade. If you encourage the support firms and the hardware manufacturers they will all add together to bolster your business.
    4. Make incremental changes that are demonstrably improvers of productivity, DON’T change things to justify the price on the box (I am thinking of the change from “Add or Remove Programs“ to “Programs And Features” as an example, it is just change for change’s sake and meant deep frustration from users).  If a thing works and it has been around for ages and people have got used to it and there is no benefit in changing it, leave it alone!
    5. Value your desktop user base, understand that if you want to make a paradigm shift like you are trying to with Windows 8 and tablets, that needs to be in a different track that does not derail the existing user base.  Sure if it takes off and becomes the majority usage scenario then quietly and very slowly phase out the old operating system when the tipping point occurs.

I know I sound like an old fart who doesn’t want change but what the business Windows user needs is a stable environment that evolves gradually, rather than this horrible knee jerk switching to whole new environments that just disrupts and decreases day to day productivity.  In practice it means that users have to throw away knowledge they have paid for in real money (books training courses etc.) and real time and effort slaving over a hot PC for years.


“Once Your Data Is On A Cloud Computing Service You Lose Your Property Rights”–US Government.

Many users who quite legitimately used Megaupload to store personal data and photos and who never illegally shared music or films are still fighting to get their data back from the US Government who seized the Megaupload servers after charging the owner of the service with allegedly “operating as an organization dedicated to copyright infringement”.

One of the people affected Kyle Goodwin is trying to hold the US Government accountable for denying him access to his property.  He is using the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) legal team to raise a brief to this effect.

According to the EFF site it appears the US Government has admitted to reviewing Mr Kyle’s files when he clearly had nothing to do with the case against the owners of Megaupload and as such is an innocent person who just happened to use the cloud service to store his personal files and was innocently caught in the crossfire between the Government and the owners of the Megaupload site. 

If that wasn’t bad enough, the US Government has said that “Mr. Goodwin lost his property rights in his data by storing it on a cloud computing service.”

You can read the full post on the EFF Site here:


As you know I have always maintained that storing your data in the cloud is dangerous and this yet again confirms my worst fears that all your data in the cloud is accessible by the US authorities.  As most cloud services we use here are based in the US you can take it that your data is being picked over at will by the US and their allies (UK Government I am sure), as well as any “anonymous” style hacking groups who seem capable of breaking into pretty much any site they wish including the US Government ones.

Public cloud services … no thank you!