Thursday, May 11, 2006

Revenge of the Dumb Network

Way back in the 70s when computers weighed half a ton and cost more than your car, a computer network referred to one big central mainframe linked to a whole load of "terminals". The terminals had no stand-alone programs on them - no word processor, no spreadsheet. All they did was give you access to the mainframe. Hence "dumb network". Even today bankteller terminals and airline booking systems are still configured in this structure.

But the PC (personal computer...duh) changed all this, putting all your own programs, apps and files on your own computer. MS Windows was hugely instrumental.

So are dumb networks dead? Not a fck! Everyday in the past month apps and data on my pc have been migrating to the web:

bookmarks - delicious
rss reader - google reader
business newsletter editor and management - Quattro
Personal blog - blogger
Calendar - Google calendar

Even my email these days I don't bother to download - just leave them on the webmail server. I hover from cmptr to cmptr during the day so leaving it on the server I've got permanent access. Once a day I download.

And any day now my photos will migrate to Flickr.

Shit, I recently saw a site that has a fully functional excel worksheet that you can operate from anywhere on the web and store your files there too. How long before Excel on the desktop becomes redundant?

Basically all we need these days is a dumb terminal and internet access (ala Dumb network). Everything has migrated back to the mainframe, except this time the mainframe is The Internet.

The advantages of the new dumb network are huge. We can access our data and apps 24/7 from anywhere in the world. No more synchronisation bullshit. It is NOT advantageous for Billy Gates though. Slowly all his apps are becoming redundant with Google taking over a large slice.

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