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I live in a house with a washer and dryer.

After we had our first child there was a stretch where my wife and I were both sick for about 2 weeks and the laundry ended up building up significantly. We had probably 10 loads worth to catch up on and it was going to take all of at least one day, maybe two.

Threw it all in the car, went to the laundromat and had it done in 2 hours.

Laundromat's are now how I explain "the cloud" to non-technical people.

> Laundromat's are now how I explain "the cloud" to non-technical people.

A guy I know who used to manage cloud development at RedHat mentioned to me that one of his developers quit, bought a laundromat which eventually became several laundromats, and now makes more money running his laundromats than he ever did developing cloud software at RedHat.

I believe the laundromats are in Raleigh, NC and he does his own maintenance. Those factors may help quite a bit compared to the businesses described in the article.

> Laundromat's are now how I explain "the cloud" to non-technical people.

That is quite brilliant analogy. I always used "printing something off at Staples/Fedex" - no need to own a printer, deal with buying reams of paper and ink cartridges if you do not print often, you use the cloud printer of the Fedex locale to get the single spot job done.

I use renting an office suite instead of owning your own building.

They provide lots of services to make your life easier, like heating and AC. And they handle the maintenance: if the parking lot needs to be re-striped, they will take care of it. You get to concentrate on just running your business.

It's scalable in the sense that you can rent a bigger suite if you need more space.

Some people are concerned with having all their juicy business secrets on someone else's server, but it's not all that different from your landlord having physical access to your offices with filing cabinets in them.

Heeeyyyyy I hope "Laundromat's" aren't how you explain plural nouns to non-technical people.

:P :)


Does this only make sense for small machines? I bought a gigantic washer/dryer and have no problem working through a large buildup that results from some disruption in life.

Borrowing from your analogy, I have large on-prem servers so I don't need the scalability of the cloud.

Just assuming you have a giant washer/dryer at home and it would handle say, 3 of the loads at one time.

10 loads total.

1. Put 3 loads in washer. Wait for cycle. 7 loads waiting to start.

2. Move 3 loads to dryer. Put 3 new loads in washer. 4 loads waiting to start.

3. Move 3 loads out of dryer and fold, move 3 loads from washer into dryer, put 3 new loads in washer. 1 load waiting to start.

4. Move 3 loads out of dryer and fold, move 3 loads from washer into dryer, put 1 remaining load in washer. 0 loads waiting to start.

5. Move 3 loads out of dryer and fold, move 1 load from washer to dryer.

6. Move 1 load out of dryer and fold.

Total run time, 5 cycles.

10 loads at laundromat

1. Put 10 loads in 10 washers.

2. Move 10 loads from 10 washers to 10 dryers.

3. Move 10 loads out of dryers and fold.

Total run time, 2 cycles.

Compounding variables are overfilled dryers that may result in clothes not getting entirely dry or a very busy laundromat with limited available capacity. At the laundromat, you begin folding while adding time to any load that needs it. At the home dryer, the entire line cycle is blocked for the additional time needed by each blocking dryer.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not advocating for letting laundry build up just so you can go do it at a laundromat. The convenience of having it in your home is well worth it - but if for some reason you do have a huge build up it's a great way to buy back your day / weekend if you want to be able to leave the house.

>10 loads at laundromat

>1. Put 10 loads in 10 washers.

>2. Move 10 loads from 10 washers to 10 dryers.

>3. Move 10 loads out of dryers and fold.

As if. More like:

1. Arrive at the laundromat and realize there are only four washers free.

2. Start three loads because the fourth one doesn't work no matter how many coins you put in.

3. Wait for a dryer when the the three loads finish. Because washers are faster there are already two people waiting for a free dryer. You realize there's no point in hurrying to do the next three loads, since your first three are only making the dryer situation worse.

4. One dryer is finished but nobody is there to unload it. What's the etiquette at this place - should you take a stranger's load out and put it in one of the dingy carts? You wonder how big the owner of those clothes is, and if he's sane.

5. Eventually you get ten loads of clothes through three washers, read an entire three year old issue of Glamour magazine upside-down to make it last, and get all but the last two loads through the dryers before deciding to dry the last two at home by draping them over your furniture.

Total run time, a little over five hours and ten sanity points.

There's probably another cloud analogy in here somewhere.

But the washing and drying time at home can be used for other things - parallel processing with asynchronous dispatch of mutually exclusive washing and drying jobs.

Laundromat: Time and hassle to bundle everything in the car, take it to the laundromat, babysit it while there (you can't go anywhere else) and bring it back home. Completed sooner, but with more overhead and focused time.

Home laundry: take it a load at a time. Completed later, but you can do anything else (even leave the house) while loads are running. No transportation overhead.

Both models have advantages, and I've done both. Mostly depends on how much hassle it is to trundle everything to the laundromat, and how soon I need the backup cleared.

You'll bottleneck at the clothes-folding stage, too

Folding the clothes and putting them away is the big issue for me.

Heh. Home laundry was how I used to describe processor pipelines.

"So you put the load from the washer into the dryer, but if you have a second load you don't wait for the first load to finish drying before you put the second load in the washer, do you?"

Probably doesn't work as well in countries where people mostly buy the all-in-one units.

Ditto. Lazy me does a months worth in 75 minutes.

> Laundromat's are now how I explain "the cloud" to non-technical people.

I will steal that explanation. Thanks !

As long as you wash the clothes faster than you use them, what is the problem with letting they pile up for a long time while you wash them in a more normal rate (like once a day, or once a week)?

For me, much like CPUs context switch my brain does as well when I have a backlog of stuff to do.

I too would prefer to just go spend 2 hours to Get It Done(tm) and cross it off the mental checklist. Plus in this particular instance it's a snowball effect for me on productivity - as I see progress and my house gets cleaner I feel mentally better and am able to more easily focus.

Humans are strange.

Clothes aren't all interchangeable. You'd have to predict in advance which clothes you're going to need next week, which isn't always easy.

Either that or it's trivially easy. The clothes you're going to wear next could just be the ones on the top of the drawer (or indeed the laundry basket).

They are not perfectly interchangeable, but most people have a few that could be used on each occasion.

If I ever have a big house and money to waste,I'm going to get two washers and two dryers.

It still won't compare to the laundromat, but chewing through a backlog 100% faster would make a big difference.

I concur with the other commenter, "the cloud" is a laundromat is one of the most apt metaphors I have heard in a long time.

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