I hadn’t fully realized the implications of moving from ExpressNet to a GoldsHake ComfortNet XL subscription at Telenet. The thing is, the ExpressNet subscription comes by default with free webspace (I believe some 50MB). This is a pretty standard offer, common practice among ISPs since the early Internet days. Across the years, I had once in a while made use of this handy online storage facility. I had a very good experience, knew the FTP credentials by heart. And it sort of was an easy gateway for me to store all kinds of artifacts and other legacy on the world wide web. Service provider maintenance means no hosting fees, no nothing else to worry about. Just works at your convenience and out of the box. Now here it comes: to my big surprise, I came to know today that ComfortNet does not include this hosting offering. A big disaster because with this loss, a lot of my precious memories have floated away too: stunning photos, heartfelt (dynamic) HTML and some crazy footage. In an effort to recover my legacy, I called up the Telenet helpdesk. Their explanation: since it has already been more than one year since the subscription change has taken place, there’s no backup available anymore. It is just gone, recklessly deleted, down the drains. Partially due to my naivety, false trust and stupidity, I must admit. But it shouldn’t be like that. Let me draw parallels here. If you move on to a new job and don’t use a skill anymore, you nonetheless still have the ability to excercise that particular skill. You just don’t lose it. It has become part of you. In a way, just like my own pandora webspace became part of me. Besides, I wonder how the diaspora project is doing. You can put your faith in a service provider, of course. There’s nothing wrong with that. But remember that you will never be in full control or entirely independent. From a customer service point of view, I think there’s much room to improve because with great power, comes great responsibility — it is just becoming embarassing how much I use this phrase so frequently lately. I also believe that service providers should take ownership of such issues. Built-in trust. Communicate with the end-user. Optimize workflow and introduce signaling capabilities. Think ahead of your client and beyond their current wishes. And to end with, I would like to state that data portability should become a civil right.