Well that’s almost week one of 2011 done. So far so good.  Of course as far as the Starfleet stuff is concerned it’s very early days and I find myself reading and reading and reading and just for kicks doing a bit more reading.  There’s no denying I’m very well read.  Luckily that suits me just fine. A gentle run into it is far better for my well being than dropping from a great height.

It also gives me the opportunity to keep up to date with some of the more interesting tech news. For instance yesterday saw the launch of the Mac App Store. If you’re not a Mac user, feel free to look away now. Having said that, you should really be saving up your pennies to become a Mac user. Let me just evangalise for a moment, oh and before I get going, there is no personal benefit to me should you be buying Apple, Microsoft or any other manufacturers product for that matter. I’m not actually trying to sell anything here.

<sales pitch/lecture mode ON>
Let’s be very very clear. I’m NOT a fan boy, although I have become a fan. IMHO for home use, there’s nothing better than OSX for the time being.

…And no I’m not biased either – I was an MS man through and through from way back when MS-DOS arrived all the way up through Windows 2, 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, 98, 98SE, NT, NT3.51, NT4.0, 2000, and XP.. Finally when Vista landed I’d had enough. Constant patching, blue screening, hanging, locking and replacing drivers was all just getting too much like hard work.. I’m even a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (lapsed now) but the point is I really do know what I’m talking about.

I was a Unix/Linux system admin from the early 1990’s and I still turn my hand to some of it from time to time. But it’s always when someone has a problem with it and it needs fixing.  Why does it need fixing!??

I hear good stories about Windows 7 and I like nix/nux platforms, but I converted almost two years ago, and I’m not going back.

Where I’m at things just work. They might have dropped that from the advertising, but it’s still very much the truth. So, I’ve told you what I know, what you choose to do with that information is your choice. 
<sales pitch/lecture mode OFF> 

Now where was I?  Oh yes. The App Store.

So what is it? Well, if you’re familiar with an iPhone or an iPod touch or an iPad then the App Store on those devices is exactly the same thing except for being on your Macbook or iMac. What’s more, once you’ve bought an application once, you can re-install on any system that uses your iTunes ID. Not only that, but the products are of much lower cost than if you went out and bought them on CD. Furthermore, once you have them, they’re updated automagically (or at least when you tell them to check for updates).

This change to the way that software is bought and managed isn’t exactly new. Microsoft have been doing something similar with their “Windows Update” service for quite some time, but the runaway success of the app store in the mobile world is likely to be repeated on your desktop or laptop for shear convenience if nothing else.

It seems to me that we’re heading towards a world in which what we buy as consumers (music, video, software, books etc etc) is stored online for us to access when we need it. In other words, good old CLOUD again. 

In the old days this was the mainframe model. Nothing was local other than a screen and keyboard (the terminal) and everything was off in a data center somewhere. PC’s changed all that and everyone started having “Fat Clients”, where everything you wanted was on your desk. This is a nightmare to manage though and while there are some fairly successful methods for doing so, the technology has in recent years been leading us full circle and back to “Thin Clients”

It’s not exactly the same model of course, more of a hybrid, but CLOUD has definetly been the buzzword of the last two years with the likes of Google trying to lead the way. I think with the launch of the App Store that Apple are attempting to get to a similar destination via a slightly different route and I fully expect to see some sort of Audio streaming coming from them in the near future and probably followed up with video. The apple TV is already their thin client of choice for the living room after all.

The issue is the same issue it’s always been though. Connectivity. While the Internet is pervasive, that is only in the more well connected parts of the planet. We keep coming up with ingenious ways to provide connectivity, but so far it doesn’t have the reach of air or sunlight for example. Hell, we can’t even get fresh water everywhere, so acess to the internet should be the least of our worries. 

It’s a strange world that we live in when you see highly connected sheds in the outer reaches of Africa yet your phone signal will routinely drop in the center of any of the metropoli (is that the plural of metropolis?) that you care to think of. It maybe getting cloudy, but it’s not overcast yet.

Dilbert.com


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
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