Sunday, May 07, 2006

My first experience with

Hi people!

I am writing this blog using the on-line word processor This new way of using productivity tool might change the world of office automation. Well, that's what is claimed by many experts who believe that using a tool as a "web service" will support the user in working "anywhere, anytime, ...anyhow"!

Is it a real revolution? That's my question. Are we moving back to Mainframes computers with centralized computing and dumb terminals? Is it a web browser a sort of "dumb terminal" (not so dumb, anyway...)?

I remember when IBM's terminal were form oriented (i.e. you had to locally fill a form on a "block" terminal and then submit it to the main computer). Then there was the revolution: the so-called interactive applications! Still dumb terminals, but the communication between the terminal and the mainframe was no more "block-based" but "character-based". This entailed more interactivity since the computer could control the user's input field by field while filling the forms. That was the last frontier in computing before the advent of networked Personal Computers and the Client-Server architecture, more or less mid-80s.

Now the Web. Web stemmed out of the "gopher" protocol used to navigate remote filesystems on the internet. Within about 20 years we see an evolution which is comparable to that of moving from Mainframes to PC, but in reverse order. Networked PCs needed to share information on the internet but they still wanted a certain degree of autonomy. This because internet connections were costly and not reliable. Moreover, the failure of one single remote information repository could be disastrous from the user perspective. Users were used to make their own backups and they typically had a limited (computing) mobility.

Now the scenario is almost reversed. Users move a lot with their small computing devices and they can more and more rely on stable and cheap internet connection. For this reason it does make sense of putting back information in a single remote place where information can be accessed from everywhere, with any device, without the burden of taking care of data integrity.

This dramatically improves mobility and also reduces the cost of (and the weight) of the mobile devices. No need of heavy large hard disks in your mobile PC. You only need a computer that is able to run a browser. That's all.

While Microsoft still continues to propose powerfull, although "ultra-portable", computers (i.e. Origami), Nokia is proposing the real alternative for mobile computing. Something better than a PocketPC, but less powerfull than a TabletPC, while preserving the needed power to run a full web browser: the Nokia 770.

This will really change the world of computing!! That's my opinion. That's the gadget I was waiting for a long time.

If SUN first launched the slogan "the Network is the Computer", Nokia should say that its 770 is its terminal.

Maybe, in a similar fashion, Apple could re-launch its fantastic Newton with a new "allure". What about a New-ton as a smart internet terminal, with all the Apple's design features, like an iPod inside (or even "pluggable"!)?

Now back to Writely. I am about to publish this blog and I will use the Blog feature in the main menu. I did not talk about Writely actually. But I have to admit that I almost feel no difference between a "true" word processor and this Ajax application.

More on that later. Stay tunned!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I'm a PC, I'm a Mac.

Nice Ads are showing today at Apple's web site! The subject is always the same: the never-ending battle between PCs and Macs (by the way, isn't a Mac a Personal Computer?)

The ads are very funny, but I believe that the message sent by Apple is not fair: although the difference is about software, Apple sells it as it was about hardware.

Being an Apple fan, I don't understand why Apple needs to show this type of ads to convince people to switch from Windows to Mac OS-X. That's the point: what makes Apple different is not the just the hardware, but the Operating System!

The ads are about Mac vs PC, not about Windows vs Mac OS-X. For this issue, the same arguments (maybe with the exception of the iLife suite) applies to Linux and Solaris, which are, by the way, free!

So what? Well, I think that Apple should change its strategy in promoting Mac OS-X, which is in my opinion the main factor which might convince people to adopt Apple products. Since the hardware barrier has now been removed (i.e. Mac OS-X on Intel processors), it would be a great move if Apple will sell Mac OS-X as a standalone, possibly multi-platform, Operating System (like Linux or Solaris).

Apple hardware should be chosen not only for its capability of supporting Mac OS-X, but for its intrinsic features, including performance, design, reliability, etc. In my humble opinion, it is not fair to be forced by a great company such as Apple to buy its hardware just to benefit from the OS bundled with it, especially now that Mac OS-X is working on Intel processors.

People that like Apple computers would probably buy them independently of its installed OS. Many people would buy Apple computers if they could easily install Windows. Separating the marketing of the OS from that of the hardware would be beneficial from both the user and the company. Apple would benefit of a wider spread of its fantastic OS and attract more customers even from Windows and Linux world, while users would have more choice which is, after all, their ultimate concern!