Sunday, 28 December 2008

28. Head in the cloud? - Online Desktops

I have just signed up to a new "developer" site called icloud.com, which is an interesting concept. As I understand it, the site will allow developers to make software which users can access through a "virtual desktop." Of course there is a catch in that I could not quite come to grips with it because currently there is little there. But my feeling is that in a year or so there will be lots more places where you sign in with your browser to access a space that is your "desktop", and nothing is stored locally. It will have a number of knock-on effects, such as computers can become smaller, lighter and cheaper, as they do not need the storage space, nor the processing speeds. All they need is data transfer speed.

The implications for the dyslexic are that no longer will items be lost, and that you have a single working environment. But does it mean the wheel will have to be re-invented as every part that you currently like (let say you like a certain type of Sticky) has to be reinvented? And lets not forget the technical problems of text-to-speech and speech-to-text. What are data transfer implications? Or are these the applications that mean that, at least until we have rapid data transfer, the dyslexic will be restricted to at least some of the applications being used on their computer and not "in the cloud".

Or is this a case of "If you could start again, what would you do?"

"Isn't this a re-invention of, say, Google Docs?" I hear you say. No, because Google Docs looks like ..... Google Docs. I like MY desktop, not somebody else's. And the concept is appealing, though I would also want to work on my docs locally and not just in the cloud.

To date, I have only seen one similar concept, though there may be more. Unfortunately when I signed up to that one, the password never appeared, so I cannot comment on that. It had attempted to also provide a "browser desktop", but all the components (programs) were all supplied by the same developer. So any indiviuality, character or personal identity on the desktop was lost.

The idea of an environment where others can develop is a great idea. Not quite the new Linux (it is an environment not a plaform) but definately one of the things to watch for 2009.

iCloud

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